Beyond Social Media: Reaching Generation Z

Beyond Social Media: Reaching Generation Z

Generation ZThe first thing that comes to my mind when “Generation Z” is mentioned, is an image of young people furiously typing away on their smartphones, participating 24/7 in social media. I’m not alone with this thought – it seems that how we identify this youngest generation is defined primarily by that communication channel. But social media is not the only way to reach Generation Z, and that knowledge is vital for employers who want Generation Z talent.
At Universum, we’ve been studying how employers can best reach the brightest talent for years. We’ve studied what the most attractive employers do to achieve their success, which results in such data as our United Kingdom’s Most Attractive Employers’ Report. Unsurprisingly, we’ve found that knowing how to best communicate with target candidates is vital.
To better understand how Generation Z learns about employers, we compared them with their slightly older counterparts, Generation Y. People in Generation Y were born between 1977 and 1995, while Generation Z was born between 1996 and 2012. The data I’m using for this article comes from our latest study “The Most Attractive Employers in the UK – 2015”.

How Generation Y Learns About Employers

66 percent of U.K. Generation Y candidates learn about employers through the employer’s website. The next three most popular channels are social media (54 percent), career fairs (50 percent) and career guidance websites (49 percent). Other resources Gen Y uses include:

  • Job boards (44 percent)
  • University press and student organisation publications (42 percent)
  • Career and job-related apps (35 percent)

How Generation Z Learns About Employers

The most popular resource for U.K. Generation Z candidates researching an employer is, unsurprisingly, social media at 68 percent. Like their Gen Y counterparts, their next three preferred resources are employer websites (62 percent), career fairs (60 percent) and career guidance websites (47 percent). From there, however, there are some significant differences in what Gen Z relies on for career support:

  • Student organization publications (45 percent)
  • Employer advertisements on TV (43 percent)
  • Employer advertisements in social media (39 percent)

What It Means

Regardless of generation, we’ve found that social media, employer websites, career fairs and career guidance websites are vital means of communication, and should receive the majority of an employer’s HR marketing.
A key takeaway from our study is that Generation Z actually relies more on in-person contact (79 percent) than Generation Y (73 percent). As a result, if a business wants to encourage hiring members of Generation Z, it should focus on in-person contact to supplement digital recruiting efforts.
In the fall, Universum is going to release a global study about Generation Z. Stay tuned if this is an area of your interest. And as always, feel free to connect or share your thoughts if you wish to continue this conversation.