Attracting a new generation of top tech talent
Generation Z, born between 1997-2012, have entered the workforce and they’re already shaping the future of employment as we know it. A Deloitte survey earlier this year revealed that Gen Zs, and millennials, to a slightly lesser degree, are placing priority on reduced or flexible working hours - despite concerns about the potential impact it may have on finances. Another survey showed that 73% of Gen Zs value a healthy work-life balance more than a high salary. These respondents were also prepared to leave if their needs aren’t met: 83% considered themselves job hoppers.
So, how can companies retain top talent – especially in fields like tech where skilled workers are in high demand?
Joshua Mills, Talent Manager at Dariel Software, says these trends are certainly evident in the workplace. “The new generation values their personal time a lot more than previous generations did. They make a more concerted effort to look after their well-being by trying to strike a balance between their work and personal lives. They favour work opportunities that offer some flexibility - organisations that offer hybrid or remote work, for example, have greater appeal than companies that require employees to be in the office daily.”
Lebo Mosola, Internal Recruiter at Dariel, adds that this doesn’t mean older generations don’t value the same perks. “Flexibility resonates across generations in the workforce. It’s important to cultivate a culture that respects people’s personal time in order to avoid serious burnout. But, to make this flexibility work, employers need to ensure that there are open channels of communication.”
Of course, giving people adequate time off won’t be enough to retain the brightest stars in any given industry. Mills says that even though Gen Z values having personal time, that doesn’t mean they’re not ambitious. “They always want to feel like they are moving forward in their careers. The moment they feel stagnant or undervalued, they may move to other companies that can provide a new challenge and growth opportunities.”
On the flipside, he says, managers need to be sure to manage the expectations of those with lofty ambitions. “Some want to move up the career ladder as quickly as possible. Such goals can be a great thing, but sometimes that can create unattainable expectations. Regular feedback is critical in nurturing young talent.”
Dariel runs a successful graduate programme as one of its efforts to do exactly that, says Mosola. “We did a lot of research to have a better understanding of what appeals to graduates in our industry. The new generation is very future-oriented - they want to work on the latest tech, they’re fascinated by AI and Machine Learning, and they’re curious and inquisitive. Our programme speaks to all these needs through training modules that accelerate growth and by exposing them to high-end projects, with mentors to guide them.”
Such projects can make your organisation a workplace of choice, says Mosola, but it’s important to then take further steps to remain attractive. “This can be done through regular company-wide surveys and paying attention to employee needs. Organisations must frequently evaluate their employee value proposition to ensure employee satisfaction.”
You don’t have to bend over backwards to accommodate any and every need, however – organisations still need to make smart decisions to remain competitive, says Mills. “An organisation can’t change everything it stands for, but it’s important to remain open to different generations’ needs and adapt or accommodate where possible. For younger generations, this could include efforts to support their pursuit of work-life balance. Be sure to always remain receptive to feedback and to cultivate a culture of open communication.”