New Year’s Revolution – 23 tips to attract the brightest young minds this year

If your New Year’s resolution is to attract more Gen Z talent, look no further.

Just follow our list of top tips and prepare to turn those grandiose aspirations into a grounded reality. So give yourself a break this year because this is one resolution that won’t fall by the wayside come February.

Time to kickstart 2023’s recruitment drive in style…

#1. Be digital by default

Gen Zers aren’t just technology natives; they’re digital by default. In fact, research suggests that 95% of Gen Z own a smartphone, 83% use a laptop, 78% are in possession of an advanced gaming console and 57% have a desktop computer. With that in mind, it’s not just important to be online; your job ad must be optimised and responsive for various devices to stand a chance of attracting this digitally-savvy generation.

#2. Prioritise your purpose

There’s no doubt about it: your brand’s got to stand for something if it’s going to attract Gen Z talent. But this doesn’t have to mean making lofty climate commitments if you can’t deliver the goods; in fact, greenwashing will do you more damage than good in their eyes. Instead, it’s about finding a mission and purpose that’s authentic to you – and then going all in.

#3. Emphasise the impact 

It’s not just the stamp you’re going to make on the world that matters. Gen Z needs to know they’re going to make an impact in their own roles as well. Give them the opportunity to lead in a field that they’re unquestionably the experts in; research suggests that more than three-quarters of Zoomers said they would willingly act as technology mentors to colleagues. The appetite to lead is there so put this front and centre in your job ads. 

#4. Add value to your EVP

Worryingly, research suggests that as little as 31% of HR leaders think their employees are satisfied with their Employee Value Proposition (EVP). So what do you think those top prospects are thinking when they’re weighing up their options? If they are spoilt for choice, which the record number of vacancies suggests they are, then it’s never been more important to stand out. In fact, it’s crucial to show Gen Zers exactly what it is that makes you such a special place to work. Not sure where to start? We’ve gone into more detail about what Gen Z applicants expect to see in an EVP here. 

#5. Invest in training 

We’ve talked before about how training Gen Z isn’t just an investment in them; it’s got major upsides for employers too. That’s because research suggests as many as 75% of Gen Zers would be interested in a situation in which they could have multiple roles within one job. So why not offer them the skillset to do so from the offset? It’s a win-win for everyone involved. 

#6. Demonstrate career development 

On the subject, it’s important to show candidates you’ve got a clear framework for progression. What do they need to do to climb the ranks from entry-level to managerial positions? Being open and transparent about what’s involved on the path to seniority isn’t just a good way of enticing the right talent; it will help retain the ones who are already on board as well. 

#7. Offer flexibility

Flexible working isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, polls predict that more than two in five employers (41%) will have adopted hybrid working this year. The thing is, there’s also evidence to suggest that flexibility is something that Gen Z are looking for more than any other generation. Research by the Kantar consultancy (as reported in The Times) found that 86% of zoomers said flexible home working policies were one of the main factors they consider when deciding whether to accept a job; that’s compared with 66% of boomers. So even if the four-day working week is a way off yet, you can still make the daily grind a little easier right now.

#8. Set them up for success

That also means ensuring remote workers have everything they need to do their jobs properly. For example, a lot of entry-level workers are still students and live in shared accommodations. Unfit for the 9-5, some may find themselves heading to a cafe or library to work instead. But from providing the right laptops, monitors and lighting to even helping starters rent a larger space, employers are in a position to make a huge difference. Wondering what you can do to help? We’ve talked more about supporting remote workers here. But that’s not the only challenge remote working brings…

#9. Create a killer culture

Culture can be challenging enough to keep alive in the office – let alone remotely. But the importance of creating a killer workplace culture just can’t be overlooked; 88% of job seekers believe a healthy culture at work is vital for success, whilst almost as many (86%) actively avoid companies with a bad reputation. Want to attract top Gen Z talent in 2023? Go beyond Zoom quizzes and 5 pm drinks and start fostering a culture that works for everyone. 

#10. Be mindful of mental health 

Mental health policies matter to Gen Z – and with good reason. Studies have revealed that as much as 25% of zoomers feel more emotionally distressed than their older colleagues. And the lack of social connections, support and mentoring that’s often lost in a remote working model has a lot to answer for. But from buddy systems to mental health holidays, there are still lots of things you can do to make things easier. We’ve got some advice about how to check in on employee mental health from afar here. 

#11. Don’t question ‘quiet quitting’

There was a lot of talk about this growing trend last year – particularly with Gen Z. But it’s nothing to be afraid of. Essentially, quiet quitting means still carrying out your role – and even doing it well. The truth about quiet quitting is that it means work doesn’t have to define your every waking minute. We’ve gone into more detail about what quiet quitting actually means here. At the end of the day, it’s all about work-life balance; something that Gen Z is rightfully looking to prioritise. 

#12. Bring on the balance 

The latest figures suggest that over 65% of UK workers are feeling unhappy with their work-life balance. And you know what? Gen Z is the least satisfied. Amongst this group, only 34% say they’ve found a healthy blend. But work-life balance isn’t a myth and burnout shouldn’t be inevitable. Show Gen Z prospects that their work-life balance is important to you and you’ll get plenty back from them in the hours they are with you. 

#13. Lead by example

Gen Z expects authenticity. And that means they’re going to look to their leaders to practice what they preach. Do you expect them to log off at 5 and tune out of emails at the weekend? Great. But you need to do the same too. Even better, put it in print on your job adverts to make it official and hold yourself accountable. It’ll go a long way. 

#14. Benchmark job descriptions

It can feel like a challenge to advertise salaries that are competitive whilst balancing the books in the current climate. And it’s even harder when there doesn’t seem to be a consistent rule across the board; according to the Institute of Student Employers (ISE), graduate pay has grown on average by 7%. However, some employers have increased salaries by as much as 20%. It’s confusing, to say the least. Don’t worry, we’ve got into great detail about benchmarking graduate salaries here. 

#15. Stay open about salaries

If you can’t pay the Earth, to begin with, be honest about it. That’ll shine you in a much better light than trying to pull the wool over their eyes or string them along. Besides, you can still put together a decent benefits package that isn’t solely based on salaries and bonuses. Although it’s undoubtedly important, money isn’t Gen Z’s only concern. 

#16. Get serious about sustainability 

We’ve talked before about how Gen Z feel about climate change. And it’s not hyperbole to say they’re pretty worried about it. In fact, 76% of Gen Zers have said that climate change was one of their biggest societal concerns; 37% even make it their number one concern. Want to get Gen Z onboard? Make it yours too. 

#17. Don’t overlook diversity

Diversity is more than just ticking a box. And for Gen Z a solid DEI policy can mean the difference between applying and looking elsewhere. A recent study revealed that 99% of respondents said workplace DEI is important, whilst nearly 20% didn’t apply for a job because the company had a weak track record around diversity. But being a more diverse workplace isn’t just the right thing to do, it has countless benefits for employers too; diverse teams are reportedly 87% better at making decisions. And speaking of inclusion…

#18. Think outside the box

The adoption of AI recruitment technology is growing so fast that it could actually replace 16% of recruitment jobs before 2029. However, this type of screening can be difficult for neurodivergent prospects who can end up getting unfairly counted out during the application process. Instead, we need to ensure that the needs of every applicant are considered as soon as the job ad has been listed. Looking for some advice? We’ve talked more about the importance of neurodiversity in the workplace here. 

#19. Reassure with referrals 

Studies show that almost 62% of Gen Z job applicants prefer a current or previous employee referral. Why? It’s simple: this techy generation knows that not everything is always what it seems online. So why not ask current grads to refer people they think would be a good fit for the business? It’s a great way to encourage those members of staff to invest in the recruitment process, building a strong team from the get-go.

#20. Think of their futures

Now more than ever in an ongoing cost-of-living crisis, it’s important to let prospects know you’re thinking of their financial futures – not just your own. Offer a competitive pensions package? Shout it from the rooftops. After all, there’s no future if we don’t help Gen Z today. 

#21. Make jobs ads jargon-free

There’s nothing more off-putting or intimidating than a job ad that’s full of jargon. Imagine applying for your first role and coming across an ad littered with terms like “core competency”, “self-starter” and… “dynamic” (*shudders*). If you wouldn’t say it in person at the interview, don’t include it here. If in doubt, keep it clear, simple and above all else, human. And when they do apply…

#22. Don’t leave them hanging 

Dishearteningly, research suggests it’s poor hiring processes that cause 75% of Gen Z candidates to abandon applications. And more often or not, this comes down to the snail’s pace it can take to get a response. Of course, when you’re rushed off your feet with a million things to do, coming back to every applicant in good time is easier said than done – we get it. 

#23. Don’t do it alone

At DigitalGrads, we’re laser-focused on matching our clients with the brightest young minds in tech and media. By leaving the recruitment to us, you’ll be free to tackle all the other things you’ve got on your to-do list. 

Tick the first task off, anyway. NY Resolution – nailed.