Hiring Generation Z: Motivations and Values

Gen Z motivations

A good team is a diverse team. For many companies, that means bringing in young professionals. Although recent graduates may not have the experience of a seasoned industry veteran, they do bring innovation, new ideas and a good work ethic. In Part One of our Generation Z Three-Part Series, we introduced Generation Z and discussed how technology shaped them through their upbringing and development. If you haven’t read Part One, click here and catch up on the factors that shape the newest generation to join the workforce and how those factors apply to you.

In this article, Part Two of our blog series, we will discuss the values Generation Z cares most about. Reaching any candidate in the crowded and competitive recruiting space is a challenge. This challenge increases exponentially if you don’t appeal to the values and motivations most important to quality hires.  


For most people, work-life balance is hard to achieve and even harder to maintain. Studies show Generation Z takes a different approach to understanding work-life balance. That approach is to reject the idea entirely. Young professionals are looking for careers that are a part of their life, that they enjoy from the moment they get out of bed to the moment they get back in.

The day starts when they leave for work, not when they leave to go home. We all look forward to the weekend, and this is still true for the youngest members of the workforce, but they are more focused than ever on finding a challenging, rewarding and impactful career that will make work an important part of their identity. One that seamlessly fits with their life goals and makes most days rewarding days.

This is not a generation of clock punchers. Generation Z is cautious and realistic about the income necessary for a comfortable lifestyle, but they also factor in culture fit at the same level of importance. They are very pragmatic about compensation, but work-related tasks are very important. A study conducted by Business Insider found that 60% of Generation Zers surveyed want to make an impact on the world through their work.

How this impacts you: When looking to hire, make sure you highlight items that set your company and culture apart. This is a generation of hard-working, entrepreneurial young people. Market the position you are hiring for to highlight the factors they care about to attract the best and brightest. Technology has always impacted Generation Z and it is important to note that attention spans (for everyone, not just Generation Z) are shorter than ever before. Bloomberg News reports, on average Generation Z members show an attention span of 8 seconds. Keep your job post to-the-point, relevant,  and targeted. This generation is extremely sensitive to ‘marketese’ and distrust postings that seem phony. Get to the point and highlight what’s most important.


Generation Z has been marketed to from an early stage in their life unlike any generation before. The internet not only allows marketers to reach us at all hours of the day, ads are more targeted and often infiltrate our online hangout spots. Because of this constant bombardment of marketing noise, Generation Z is much better at sensing honesty, integrity, and quality than older generations. As we all spend more time online, we learn what’s a good deal and what’s just too good to be true. This generation is well-versed in these marketing strategies and more cautious in placing trust with a brand or product.

How this applies to you: When hiring a young professional, your online reputation matters. They are more skeptical than millennials, you have to earn their trust. If you haven’t read much on this topic, download our free whitepaper to see why online brand management is so important and the steps you can take to manage your own. When writing your job descriptions, stay succinct, to the point and honest. Let candidates know why they should choose to work with you over other businesses.

Don’t stop at your job descriptions. Take a look at the content on your website and marketing materials. Do they accurately describe your business or organization? Do they accurately describe who you are and what you do? Even if you aren’t in the market for a new hire, Generation Z is quickly becoming a large consumer base. Currently, as a generation, they wield $44 billion in buying power. You need to know how to gain their trust not only as potential employees, but future customers your business will rely on.


As we discussed above, this is not a generation of clock punchers. They don’t just want to perform tasks, they want to make a difference. Not every job is going to change the world radically, and this generation is realistic about that. They are creative, outside-of-the-box thinkers with an entrepreneurial spirit to apply to any task. Don’t let those qualities go to waste. Encourage new ideas and an open environment to suggest improvements to old practices.

How this applies to you: Allow creativity. This generation places a high value on improving ideas. With the wealth of information at their fingertips, essentially since birth, truly new ideas are few and far between. They do have the gift of taking something old and coming up with new, creative solutions. Give them tasks that make a difference to the organization. Too much mindless busy-work will lead to uninspired workers. Although this generation looks for job stability and a place to work on a more long-term timeline than millennials, they will job-hop to find the perfect fit to match their values and motivations if they need to.

Generation Z is also less likely to leave jobs as often as millennials. Generation Z grew up in a time of financial instability in comparison to the generation before them. This shift made Generation Z more pragmatic. Studies found that 77% of Generation Z believe they’ll need to work harder than older generations to have a fulfilling, professional life.

Knowing what motivates young professionals is the first step in attracting them. Adding young professionals to your team spurs new ideas and brings fresh eyes to old problems. Get to know Generation Z as potential employees and potential customers!

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