In a business breakfast I hosted this May in Los Angeles, fully 60% of the leaders present gave hiring as the number one challenge they are facing.  While this breakfast group was only nine people in one market, Vistage research with larger quantitative samples of leaders at small and mid-sized firms also find that hiring and retaining talent are among the top three issues faced.

Who Are You Hiring? Millennials or GenZ?

Hiring and retaining Millennials still dominate the conversations among executives.  Millennials were born between 1977 and 1995, meaning the oldest are in their early 40’s and the youngest are 24.

Employers that are hiring high school graduates and college graduates are actually hiring members of Gen Z, not Millennials. Gen Z were born between 1996 and 2010, so the oldest are 23, and the youngest are nine.  Of course, these age ranges are approximate, but it’s clear that many new hires for entry-level positions are Gen Z.

Change Your Recruitment Approach to Hire Gen Z

There is increasing recognition that Gen Z’s approach to the workplace is different than Millennials.  Some of the differences can be expected, i.e., even more digitally native, but some of the differences may be surprising. Here are a few things that stand out:

  1. Gen Z have more long-term entrepreneurial aspirations, with 72% of Gen Z high school students wanting to start a business, 50% more than Millennials
  2. Still, money is tight. Initially, Gen Z prioritizes salary (65%) more than Millennials (54%)
  3. While 71% of Millennials say they trust companies, just 63% of Gen Z say they do
  4. Gen Z feels a more intense commitment to giving back. For years, Dr. Corey Seemiller had been giving a classroom assignment to her students, requiring them to volunteer for community service. Starting with the first class of Gen Z students, she noticed a significant portion of students had already started a non-for-profit organization to enact change in the world.

It’s time to move beyond the image of Gen Z as exclusively young children, and recognize that they are increasingly important to the workplace and recruitment. In fact, based on their values and approach, I’d personally rather hire a Gen Z than a Millennial for an entry-level position.