5 Attributes of Millennials and Generation Z that Impact Employee Recruitment

by Brett Bayduss, on Sep 25, 2017 11:10:09 AM

As a site selector specializing in labor analytics, recruiting and retaining a younger workforce has become critical to our clients as baby boomers enter retirement and the job market reaches full employment. As a result, a main component of building a sustainable workforce lies in the hands of the millennials and Generation Z.

Based on original market research conducted by Site Selection Group, millennial and Generation Z workers possess key attributes that may impact your site selection, real estate and recruitment strategies when looking to locate your next call center, distribution center, headquarters, manufacturing plant or software development operation.  

The difference between millennials and Generation Z
Although the millennial population has been defined in a multitude of ways, we generally classify the post-college population under 35 as millennials. Most demographers would classify Generation Z as a subset of the millennial generation. Technically speaking, Generation Z is the population that is too young today to enter the post-college workforce, but will be eligible for professional employment (ages 21-24) in five years. 

5 key attributes to consider when recruiting millennial and Generation Z workers
When looking for that right location to expand your business during the site selection process, it is critical to be thinking about recruitment strategies to attract millennials and Generation Z. To assist you, we have identified five key attributes to consider when selecting a new location for expanding or enhancing your ability to successfully recruit these targeted workers. 

  1. Technology and capital investment – Both generations are technologically advanced. Computers were introduced at a very early age and the ease and comfort of technological exposure comes naturally. However, a critical difference is the sophistication of technology is greater for Generation Z and the expectation to receive information instantaneously is the norm for as they are used to “apps” and Internet research at their fingertips. This may make it more challenging to keep Generation Z focused as they are accustomed to moving quickly between multiple technology resources. As a result, you need to be committed to investing in the latest tools and technology for your workplace to try and keep their needs met.
  2. Social attitudes and office environment – Millennials tend to be more open to group socialization and, as a result, many companies have adjusted their offices to open floor environments, collaborative workspaces, break rooms with social outlets, and access to live-work-play amenities. Because Generation Z is accustomed to finding data and answers quickly by accessing technology, they may have less of a need to work in a group environment and can be more independent in nature. This may impact future space planning with the return of traditional closed offices and/or less collaborative space. The overall building amenities may not be as critical to Generation Z.
  3. Work-life balance and site selection – Millennials have a strong desire to balance their career and personal goals. Many employers have adapted to offering work-at-home or flexible work hours. Many companies have also identified office space near amenities where the employees can run errands, socialize and live within close proximity. You need to be prepared to potentially pay a premium for real estate in order to be closer to these amenities.
  4. Employer and job stability – The Great Recession may have had an impact on how both generations view job security. Generation Z has grown up post-recession whereas most millennials may have already been working or starting college post-recession. Many have argued that, as a result of this, Generation Z may place more importance on job security as they enter the workforce, and stability of an employer will be more critical as they may have witnessed firsthand parents or relatives losing jobs. One possible approach to creating a stable environment for these workers is through quality build-out and furniture to avoid an image of a start-up or struggling business.
  5. Entrepreneurialism – Generation Z has been classified as more entrepreneurial. As mentioned above, because Generation Z may have witnessed the loss of jobs, this generation may have the attitude that they can’t depend on a company or employer for their future. Instead, with an attitude of independence, this generation puts more importance on creating their own opportunities and destinies. Additionally, because technology is so engrained in Generation Z, they are used to working independently and may be motivated to create their own work environment without the dependence of others.

Generation Z’s impact on future labor recruitment, site selection and real estate decisions
Many factors play a role in identifying the optimal labor market for a new operation. Across industries, whether to access new and in-demand skillsets or to backfill the large number of baby boomers entering retirement, new and expanding companies place a premium on hiring and retaining the next generation workforce.

As a result, our team of site selection experts at Site Selection Group increasingly place more analytical weight on identifying those communities that offer companies access to this critical demographic.

But in addition to understanding where the metro areas with a higher concentration of these generations are located, it is also important to understand the key attributes of millennials and Generation Z that should be considered as companies engage in future recruitment and real estate decisions. 

Companies will want to invest the time to understand the needs and wants of these critical age-cohorts so they can be better prepared with aligning compensation, career progression, work environment, and real estate when recruiting this next generation of talent. Ultimately, all of these factors should be considered for future site selection decisions. 

Talent Pipeline

Topics:Location Advisory



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