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What does Gen Z expect from their future employer?

What does Gen Z expect from their future employer?

Competition is high for top talent and the best employers can no longer ignore the needs and desires of the workforce! Employer branding begins with the process of researching and building an understanding of its target employee profile. Looking for young potential? Let’s have a look at what drives this group’s engagement in the workplace!

Belgian Master students graduating in 2023 belong to Generation Z and demand a different strategic approach to recruitment and retention. Vlerick Business School, partner of Great Place To Work Belgium, assessed the importance graduates attach to different types of promises that their future employer might make to them. Good communication with colleagues, the social atmosphere, and an attractive pay and benefits package stand out as the three most important dimensions.

Respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which they expect certain promises from their employer. These promises are situated on 20 dimensions that are the most important employee retention factors in the HR literature, which can be clustered in 3 categories: namely, expectations in terms of

  1. expectations in terms of working conditions;
  2. expectations in terms of relations with colleagues and supervisors;
  3. expectations in terms of job content and career development.

When looking at the relative importance of each dimension, the results clearly show that Gen Zers have high expectations for their relationship with future co-workers. Graduates want to work in a pleasant working environment and have a positive working relationship with their colleagues (94%), followed by good communication with colleagues (88%). The third most important employer promise relates to the working conditions: graduating master students are also looking for an attractive pay and benefits package (85%) .

Graduates also highly value personal learning and development and expect their employer to provide training and development opportunities (84%), as well as recognise them for their contributions (84%). They prefer vertical career growth (76%) over horizontal career growth (55%). Relatively little importance is attached to other promises that are related to the working conditions: job security (18%), access to social media (23%) and the use of technology (34%).

Graduate Study figure 1 blog 2 

Figure 1: Importance of employer promises (% of respondents who have indicated that this employer promise is important to them)

Graduates are looking for a job in a pleasant working environment where they can put their strengths into play and where they have interesting professional development opportunities. The best employers who offer these things are likely to be more successful than their competitors in attracting and retaining graduates.

“These results imply an important message for employers and employer branding professionals: pay enough attention to each of the dimensions – especially the relations graduates expect to have with their colleagues and supervisors, as no less than 3 of the top 5 employer promises relate to this dimension. To attract and attain this generation of graduates, it is important to start with open communication in the recruitment phase concerning the promises the employer is willing to make.” - Prof. Dr Dirk Buyens, CEO of Great Place To Work Belgium

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