Reaching Generation Z Poses a Challenge for Marketers and Employers

September 13, 2017 by John Harrington

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Reaching Generation Z, those born in 1995 or later, has become a challenge for marketers and prospective employers, according to outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

This generation makes up 25.9% of the United States population, the largest percentage. They will account for one-third of the U.S. population by 2020.

Gen Z is the most diverse generation in American history. Its makeup is 56% Caucasian, 24% Hispanic, 14% African American and 4% Asian, according to Ad Age. For members of this generation, diversity is part of the national context and expected in life and in the work world. For many in this cohort, the first black president of the United States was the first president they can remember.

Now the oldest members are reaching the workforce, and their traits, behaviors, expectations and habits are different from their predecessors.

“For most members of Generation Z, internet usage has been a constant since birth, making them the first true digital natives,” said Andrew Challenger, vice president of global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “They know their way around technology, and they use their technological savvy to avoid content that doesn’t interest them.”

According to CNBC, 69% of Gen Z members avoid advertisements, posing a challenge for marketers who need to look for ways to integrate their content into the digital experience instead of disrupting it.

According to a recent Challenger survey, 55.6% of companies are targeting Gen Z. A big issue for them is the desire for stability, likely borne from growing up during the recession and learning to cope with unemployment and frugality.

Gen Z members are willing to forgo a higher salary for job stability and career growth opportunities. They do not expect to stay around in one job for too long and are not afraid to jump from company to company in search of the best opportunities.

“One great way to engage this cohort is through mentorship programs where members of Generation Z can interact with managerial-level staff,” said Andrew Challenger. “These are especially important, as they allow Gen Z to see the opportunity for their future growth and where they can move within a company.”

What is important to Gen Z members is being able to feel secure about their finances and to know that they will be able to complete meaningful work for the company.