How HR Can Attract Those Crucial Gen-Z Workers

Right now, there are a record 9.8 million unfilled jobs in the US. And as the ‘war for talent’ rages on, recruiters, and HR managers specifically, need to have Generation Z in their sights.

This growing subsection of the workforce, born between 1997 and 2012, now makes up a sizable chunk of the labor market and presents a unique, challenging, and potentially highly rewarding opportunity. In this blog, we’ll cover why human resources strategies should be focused on Gen-Z workers, and the best ways to attract them.

Why target Generation Z?

If you break down the labor market into generations, the proportion of Generation Z has now officially overtaken Baby Boomers. And indeed, Gen Z is the only generation that is a growing portion of the workforce right now.

This makes sense – as Baby Boomers retire, and Millennials and Generation X move into prime-earning senior roles, it’s natural for Gen-Zers to fill in the gaps. As this shift continues, focusing on attracting the Gen-zers moving into these entry and mid-level potions will be crucial for HR leaders who want to take advantage of this expanding talent pool.

What makes Generation Z different?

Each generation comes with its own quirks, but Gen-Z is especially different for several reasons:

Different workplace practices and expectations

Gen-Z are digital natives, having used devices and the internet since they can remember. This means they expect the latest tech in the workplace, and legacy systems, practices, or strategies will feel alien to them. This also means you’ll get fast-learning team members who are used to looking for the answers themselves.

Ethos and support first

Rather than accepting the status quo, Gen-Z will amplify their opinion and try to do what’s right. Purpose becomes just as important as profits, and factors like corporate social responsibility and employee wellness are a priority.

Gen-Z will push their employers to enact change, and they’re more likely to stick to their morals if they don’t see a reaction, using social media or banding together to drive their intended result.

The positive here is a collection of morally adept employees who will ‘fight’ for what they see as the best and most fair outcome.

Equal pay over excessive pay

Speaking of the most fair outcome, Generation Z has diversity and inclusion ‘built in’. This stretches to pay equity, where disproportionate compensation can become a point of contention, rather than a personal opportunity. This requires a balanced approach of both transparency and fair remuneration to retain your top talent.

5 key recruitment factors that attract Generation Z

1. Employee wellness

Employee wellness refers to programs or initiatives that support the wellbeing of employees. These can be anything from healthcare and support with work-based stress and anxiety to physical wellness programs.

However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking Gen-Z sees these programs as a ‘nice to have’ – they are expected as standard.

2. Financial support

Generation Z workers tend to talk openly about their salaries and finances. With high living costs, the high likelihood of having education-related debt, and perhaps an inability to afford a home or car, Gen-Z looks to their employer not just for a salary but for help, advice, and flexibility too.

This is where things like financial wellness tools can be a big attractor for Gen Z. Perks that human resources and payroll can offer like Earned Wage Access, where employees can withdraw accrued wages at any time during the month, can deliver the flexible, modern pay experience that Gen Z has grown to expect.

3. Reward and recognition

Generation Z is less likely to respond positively to a pat on the back and a small raise. Instead, it’s all about sharing success with their peer group and receiving kudos from their manager or leader, maybe backed up by a reward that means something to them. Rewards that match personal preferences are more impactful for Gen-Z than generic rewards or perks.

4. Remote working

This one is crucially important for Generation Z, as many find working to their own terms, in their own preferred environment, brings the best results. Virtual collaboration and video calls are the norm for a generation who started work during pandemic lockdowns. This is backed up by the fact that 90% of Gen Zers see remote working as a key recruitment lever, compared to just over half of Boomers.

5. A powerful company ethos

Realizing your company values, actually living by them, and promoting them front and center is a key factor many Gen-Zers consider when job hunting. Gen-Z workers are more likely to select a role based on what they can learn, achieve or even give back, over a salary figure. Creating a strong story that rings true when they join can be a key retainment strategy for Gen-Z workers. Gone are the days of being able to rely on perks and salary alone.


With labor shortages a continuing reality, organizations can’t afford to neglect the increasing influence and abundance of the Gen-Z workforce. HR leaders should prepare to overhaul their recruitment strategies, or risk missing the fresh perspective and manpower of this generation.

Organizations that truly try to understand and nurture Gen-Z workers by leaning into flexible working, strong corporate ethics, and technology that improves the lives of all employees, will be the winners of the attraction and retention war. Crucially, in this time of financial strain, it’ll be especially important for HR and payroll leaders to embrace a more modern pay experience that focuses on speed, flexibility, and certainty to support and retain not only Gen-Z workers but their entire workforce as well.

Learn more about how our on-demand pay app CloudPay NOW could help to attract and retain Gen-Z employees to your organization.

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