First things first, let me wish everyone a very Happy New Year! Whatever holiday you celebrated, I hope you had a wonderful time with friends and family, and that you have lots of health and happiness in this New Year. 

As we enter the new year, I’m finding the hiring landscape is filled with young people who are part of what is called, Generation Z, more commonly referred to as Gen Z. You may ask, who or what is Gen Z? 

Starting with us baby boomers, who were born from 1946-1964, the next group is categorized as Generation X, or Gen X (don’t ask me why they are referred to as X). Subsequently, the Millennials include anyone born between 1981 and 1996, and finally, those born from 1997 to about 2010 are Generation Z. It is estimated that by 2025, it appears that Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce in industrialized countries and about one-third of the Earth’s population. 

So, these days, as Gen Z students finish their associate or undergraduate degrees, they are entering the workforce in the millions with distinct expectations about workplace environment, culture, support, and many other ideas that candidates in the past didn’t quite emphasize. With the latter in mind, here is what I have gathered from interviews with many Gen Z candidates, as well as from discussions with colleagues, for your consideration.  

1. Flexibility – Without question, Gen Z candidates value the flexibility of remote work that became the global norm during the pandemic. They believe that the flexibility accompanying full remote and hybrid work supports productivity, fewer workplace distractions, and can actually minimize some of the stressors that are part of Gen Z workers’ mental health concerns.

2. Mental Health Support – Gen Z candidates feel strongly about a potential employer’s policy and programs on mental health prevention, increased awareness, empathetic leadership, and a culture of wellbeing. They specifically would like to know how a company works to remove any stigma that often accompanies someone who is dealing with a mental health issue. 

3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – Gen Z workers expect high standards of diversity and equity and require action to build inclusive environments supporting all forms of identity. New company policies must facilitate an authentic commitment, employee resource groups, and more representative leadership. Gen Z has been truly propelling businesses, non-profits, governments, and societies to come together in an unprecedented global effort to act on diversity and justice. In short, diversity of the workforce and respect difference is imperative for them. 

4. Environmental Concerns – Gen Z candidates want to work at companies that are sensitive to environmental problems. They are not debating whether climate change and global warming are real. Instead, they want to work at companies that show a genuine effort to go green. They not only want to see solar panels on the office building roof tops, but they also want the idea of climate and environmental protection woven into the company’s mission statement. 

5. Career growth – Like generations before them, Gen Z candidates expect to receive ongoing training and education, along with a clear roadmap as to how they can go as far as possible within their organization. 

As Gen Z workers continue to create ripples across the old ways of working, employers must continue to improve their job flexibility, mental health concerns, diversity, and career growth opportunities to meet the interests of these empowered and talented young workers.

Again, wishing all of you a very happy & healthy New Year in 2023. 

Nancy Seiverd, President, CMI Credit Mediators, Inc.

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