In an ever-evolving job market, understanding the unique dynamics of Generation Z is vital for both employers and job seekers. Recently, iHire published a research report titled “Gen Z in the Workforce: Decoding a New Generation of Job Seekers.” This comprehensive study dives deep into the job search behaviors, career goals, and challenges faced by Gen Z, providing essential insights for bridging the gap between this emerging workforce and today’s employers.

Key Findings from the Report

Stereotypes Impacting Gen Z Job Searches

Generation Z is keenly aware of the stereotypes that surround them in the professional world. According to the report, 34.4% of Gen Z respondents believe that negative stereotypes such as being entitled, lacking commitment, and having a poor work ethic could significantly impact their job searches and career growth.

Interestingly, not all stereotypes are negative. Many employers recognize Gen Z as “tech-savvy,” “socially conscious,” and “diverse.” Indeed, 70.3% of Gen Zers value alignment between their employer’s mission and their own values, and 68.0% prioritize their company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

The Soft Skills Gap

A significant portion of employers, 58.3%, feel that Gen Z job seekers need to improve their interviewing skills, and 57.5% believe they should enhance their communication with hiring managers and recruiters. While 30.4% of Gen Z candidates acknowledge difficulties with interviewing, there is a notable disconnect in other areas.

For instance, 52.8% of employers feel that Gen Z needs to improve their workplace etiquette, yet 73.7% of Gen Zers rate their etiquette skills as “excellent” or “good.” Similarly, while 48.4% of employers believe that resume writing is an area for improvement, 68.4% of Gen Zers are confident in their resume-writing abilities.

Concerns About AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a double-edged sword for Gen Z. While 33.2% fear that AI might replace their jobs or diminish their roles, many are slow to adopt generative AI tools in their job searches. Notably, 42.7% of Gen Zers have never used AI tools such as ChatGPT to write resumes or cover letters.

The Dream Job and Workplace Preferences

Contrary to stereotypes of being non-committal, 69.3% of Gen Zers have a dream job in mind that they hope to attain within the next decade. They prioritize a positive work environment (82.4%), fair pay (82.2%), and work-life balance (81.3%). Additionally, 36.7% seek roles that offer autonomy, while only 22.0% aspire to managerial positions.

Moreover, despite being labeled as tech-savvy “Zoomers,” most Gen Zers prefer in-person work environments. Specifically, 82.4% want to work in person at least some of the time, with 55.8% favoring entirely in-person setups and 26.6% opting for a hybrid model. Only 17.6% desire completely remote work.

Challenges in the Job Market

Gen Z job seekers often find it challenging to secure positions for which they are qualified. A significant 38.6% struggle to find jobs that match their skills and experience, and 25.6% are frustrated by what they see as overly specific or unrealistic job requirements from employers, creating high barriers to entry-level opportunities.

Moving Forward: Bridging the Gap

iHire’s President and CEO, Steve Flook, emphasizes the importance of mutual understanding between employers and Gen Z candidates. “Generation Z possesses unique perspectives and values shaped by growing up in the digital age and experiencing the pandemic during their formative years. As Gen Z permeates the workforce, employers need to understand how to recruit, retain, engage, and motivate this group. Likewise, Gen Z candidates must understand employers’ expectations and how to best market themselves to find the right jobs. Our report aims to provide insights to both sides to move the employment market toward a brighter future.”


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