Gen Z: How to Attract the Upcoming Workforce

  • workforce insights
  • November 20, 2014
If you were to guess, would you say the incoming generation of American workers—16 to 20-year-olds known as Gen Z—are more distracted at work by:
   #1 email
   #2 Facebook
You’d be right if you said #2, Facebook.
However, can you confidently predict whether Gen Z’s are predisposed to work in an office or at home? Or if they care more about workplace flexibility or paid vacation time? And do you know how the inclinations of Gen Z stack up against the preferences of Gen Y, the 21 to 32-year-olds already in the workplace?
The Randstad team wasn’t sure either, so with our research partner Millennial Branding, we went to the source and asked both Gen Z and Gen Y about what they want in the workplace. What we discovered is that the two generations have some distinct opinions—some predictable, some surprising.
Let’s look at some specific considerations that define each group’s “preference portfolio”:

what is your preferred workspace?

Traditional office spaces are still relevant, but more so to Gen Y’s. Gen Z’s are more flexible on work environment.

who is your mentor?

When it comes to career planning, Gen Z’s really listen to their parents. Gen Y’s? Not so much. A solid one-half of Gen Z’s say parents influence them most, whereas parental advice doesn’t count for nearly as much to Gen Y’s. Friends are most crucial for influencing Gen Y’s career moves, and while Gen Z's like to check in with friends for fashion advice, they’re not as friend-dependent when it comes to talking jobs.

workplace diversity

Both generations express a strong preference for co-workers who demonstrate diverse professional expertise over any other type of diversity characteristic. Fields of specialty is the number-one preference for both groups. Gen Z is quite a bit more interested in a workplace where both genders are represented. Gen Y clearly wants their workplace to attract co-workers of varying income levels. Approximately one-quarter of both generations prefer to work with people of different cultural backgrounds and ethnicities.

big company, small company or working on their own?

When it comes to company size, Gen Z is least interested in large corporate environments, whereas Gen Y's show no real preference for working at large, medium or small companies. When it comes to taking an entrepreneurial path, Gen Z’s show much more enthusiasm than Gen Y’s.

it's all about the benefits, baby

Hands down, healthcare coverage is the most valued employee benefit to both generations. Over one-third of both Gen Z and Gen Y say healthcare coverage is the single most important employee benefit they want to receive in the workplace.

we want wellness!

Attention employers: One-third of both generations rate a corporate wellness program as extremely important. On the flip side, only 15 percent of each generation says a wellness initiative is unimportant.


Time will tell to what extent American business can accommodate the needs of both generations. But by knowing what motivates and inspires each generation, savvy employers have the best chance to customize their talent attraction strategies and more effectively position their organizations as an employer of choice.
To help attract employees of Generation Y and Generation Z, we've assembled a list of actionable tips for you to download.

learn more about Gen Y and Gen Z

tips & tricks
We've compiled a tips sheet to help your organization quickly recognize how to attract the best and brightest of Gen Y and Gen Z.

download our tips sheet >


Retaining talent is key, and keeping Gen Y and Gen Z on the job requires understanding their values and what motivates them.
how to retain your talent >

Find out how your company's culture and offerings can appeal to and drive the Gen Y and Gen Z work ethic.
how to engage your workforce >

managing Gen Y and Gen Z
Read about the first nationwide study on Gen Z in the workplace
view the results >

Learn how we conducted our survey. 
get the details here >

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