How to Attract & Retain Generation Z Workers

Learn what the newest members of the workforce value most in their career choices

Trying to attract the younger generation into your sheet metal or HVAC business? 

Understanding what motivates them can help, shares Clark Ellis, Principal and Cofounder, Continuum Advisory Group, during his Partners in Progress session, “Values Alignment — The New Paradigm for Recruitment and Retention.”

He began by comparing some qualities each generation embodies.

  • Baby Boomers: Optimistic, enjoy mentoring, strong work ethic. They seek a loyal employer, hierarchical culture, chances to mentor others and respect. 
  • Generation X: Independent, innovative, strong communicators. They seek a trustworthy employer, autonomy, problem-solving opportunities and competent colleagues. 
  • Millennials: Tech-savvy, collaborative, focused on the greater good. They seek empathetic employers, meaningful work, training for new skills and flexibility. 
  • Generation Z: Digitally fluent, practical, diverse and flourish in diverse workforces. They seek a culturally competent employer, competitive wages, mentorship and stability. 

Then he focused on what drives Generation Z employees and pointed out some characteristics from New Horizons Foundation research that showcases who makes up this generation and what they want in jobs.

Generation Z is the most diverse generation with more than 49% of people being non-white. They generally have fewer physical skills and experience than people from other generations. They are also more focused on maintaining a balance between personal and career development priorities, making them more motivated by time off versus overtime. 

When weighing career opportunities, Generation Z workers value: 

  • Training and development opportunities.
  • Technology integration into their work. 
  • A voice in workplace decisions.
  • Mental health support.
  • Companies with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Environmental, Social and Governance programs. 
  • Fair compensation. A lower portion of Generation Z believe they are fairly compensated (69%) compared to Generation X or Millennials.
  • Information about the job and training delivered in as-needed, bite-sized portions. 
  • Mentors who can help them get integrated quickly as they start their jobs, as well as others who may be able to help them choose areas of focus or visualize next steps.