Gen Z: How to attract and retain the digital generation

Overlay Main Banner
Gen Z: How to attract and retain the digital generation
Helen Connolly

Gen Z: How to attract and retain the digital generation

The Gen Z candidate pool is there, and we already know that they have the technical knowhow to quickly pick up new digital skills, but how do organisations get them on board?

It’s a well-known fact that tech skills are vital for success in today’s world, yet organisations are facing a shortage of skilled tech and digital talent. In 2021, the BBC reported that the UK is heading for a digital skills shortage disaster and employers are looking for new ways to attract the talent they need to support digital growth.

Gen-Z are the digital generation - born after 1996, the oldest members of Gen-Z were only 14 when the first iPad was released and have grown up with digital skills. Gen Z are projected to make up 30% of the workforce by 2030, according to Microsoft’s Work IndexMcKinsey reports that 77% of Gen-Z workers are actively looking for a new role currently, almost twice as many as any other age group. The Gen Z candidate pool is there, and we already know that they have the technical knowhow to quickly pick up new digital skills, but how do organisations get them on board?

Pay is important

Gen-Z have been greatly impacted by the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, so a competitive salary is number one on their list of priorities. Bloomberg reports that 80% of under 25s are looking for a new job, with better pay as their main driver, and Handshake reports that 77% of Gen-Z job hunters say pay is their highest priority. Our recent survey ‘What Tech Candidates Want’ found that over two thirds of under 25s are more likely to apply to a job advert if it includes pay information. This isn’t surprising considering the economic landscape for Gen Z, with 59% not expecting to be able to own their own house in their lifetime, compared with 34% of people overall.

Meaningful Corporate Values & Diversity

Gen-Z workers are looking for careers, not jobs, and they want to be part of something meaningful. They are more likely to be attracted to a company whose values align with their own than any other generation (80% vs. 59% of millennials), and the majority would be put off from applying for a company that lacks diversity. Gen-Z workers want to see meaningful diversity and inclusion from the top-down, especially female and non-binary senior leaders.

Mental Health Support

Gen-Z might be the most accepting and self-aware generation when it comes to mental health and wellbeing, with around 55% of Gen-Z reporting being either diagnosed with, or having received treatment for a mental health problem. Younger workers are also more likely to report that mental health issues have an impact on their performance at work and are 3.4 times more likely to cite a lack of affordable mental health services are a barrier to their wellbeing, compared with workers age 55-64. Additionally, they are more likely to expect their employer to offer some kind of support, such as subsidised private healthcare or employee assistance programmes.

Learning & Development

Gen Z are ambitious and value an employer who provides opportunities to learn. 76% of Gen-Z workers believe that learning is key to developing a successful career. Similarly, 76% of Gen-Z workers say they’re looking for a new role where they can practice and learn new skills. Not only do they want the opportunity to learn skills which will level-up their performance at work, they also want to be able to explore new topics and skills that interest them.

In-Person Connection

When it comes to work, Gen-Z crave in-person interactions. 72% of Gen Z prefer face-to-face conversations than virtual ones, and 16% report that they struggle to contribute verbally to conference calls. According to an article by Forbes,  Gen-Z are the most likely generation to feel ambivalent towards hybrid working. Gen-Z workers are more likely to see the office as an opportunity to establish themselves and feel connected to their co-workers (78% vs. 72% of Gen X & older), connect with their manager (80% vs, 76% of Gen X & older) and see their work friends (79% vs. 68% of Gen X and older).

Where are Gen-Z workers looking for new opportunities?

For recent Gen-Z grads, Monster reports that job boards and career networking sites are the top tools when browsing job ads, where as non-grads are more likely to say social media like TikTok and YouTube have helped them in their job search. Although this generation has grown up with the ability to access digital information instantly, they may have become wary of misinformation and almost two thirds (62%) are likely to value a current or previous employee referral. Our recent ‘What Tech Candidates Want’ survey found that over 70% of under-25s prefer recruiters to contact them initially via social media or email. Almost 70% of Gen-Z workers are likely to apply for a particular company if it actively manages its employer brand (e.g. responds to employee reviews, updates social media and shares updates on its culture) and 70% of Gen-Z look at company reviews before they make career decisions. This means ensuring your business has a strong employer brand is key to hiring Gen-Z workers.

In summary, having the ability to attract, engage and secure Gen Z talent could be crucial in adding the tech talent that your organisation needs in order to thrive in the digital economy. Of course, it is not a silver-bullet in itself, and ensuring that your organisation develops focused activity on hiring workers from all ages and groups is ultimately vital. For a discussion for how Lorien can help you acquire the tech talent you need, please contact

Our Insights | News, Events, and Case Studies

Our tech expertise and partner-led approach allows us to deliver highly successful results for our clients so they can attract and retain unique talent for their business. Explore our latest collection of case studies, news, events, and insights.

Subscribe to our newsletter

With insight across the whole of Lorien, we'll keep you ahead of the curve on the talent market.

What Tech Candidates Want 2024

Fill out the form below to gain exclusive access to the report.