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As the 2018 Career Interest Survey, published by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS), shows, hiring managers and employers getting ready to hire members of Generation Z will be managing up to five generations of prospective and current employees in the coming years.

To better understand Generation Z and the trends, interests, strengths, and weaknesses associated with this group, the 2018 Career Interest Survey describes Generation Z based on four themes: economic security, politics and purpose, technology and stem, and career path.

NSHSS has partnered with Hanover Research for the past three years (since 2015) to produce a study highlighting the attitudes and preferences of some of the most talented and high-achieving high school and college students.

The 2018 Career Interest Survey specifically pools responses from Generation Z recipients, 71% of whom are high school students and 40% of those recipients are current seniors in high school. This information is especially helpful to hiring managers, who can expect to see these young people applying for jobs very shortly. The responses high school and college students have provided reveal their backgrounds, expectations, and passions.

Based on the survey, hiring managers and employers should first recognize the situation in which Gen Z employees have grown up, with digital devices in hand and a watchful eye on the effect the 2008 recession had on their parents and older siblings.

According to the survey, connectivity to a nearly endless amount of information has made Generation Z extremely informed and resourceful but could also increase their expectations for job growth and placement. Read on to find out how the 2018 Career Interest Survey helps hiring managers and employers better understand the newest group of incoming employees.

1. Economic Security

Depositing Money into a Piggybank

Members of Generation Z are saving money earlier in life after watching their parents, guardians, and even older siblings go through the Great Recession and Student Debt Crisis. Saving for retirement matters to this group, demonstrating a pragmatic approach to career choice.

Hiring managers should recognize the important benefits will have on Generation Z prospects and their decision to accept a position or not. As the survey shows, Generation Z employees are likely to switch jobs often if they feel their current position does not offer them the benefits and work/life balance they crave.

2. Politics & Purpose

Activists on the Street

As a very rational and well-informed generation, Generation Z is made up of young people very interested in activism and social justice. The 2018 Career Interest Survey shows nearly all participants have an awareness of and interest in affecting timely issues such as race relations, police brutality, and gun violence.

Since this age group has grown up with access to the Internet and constant sources of news, Generation Z students and graduates have kept up-to-date on important current events and social issues and have strong opinions regarding topics that affect their generation and the world. Many members of Generation Z cited a desire to be involved in politics.

Hiring managers should take note of the philanthropic nature of Generation Z prospects, who will likely seek job opportunities with companies that focus heavily on social responsibility and charitable contributions.

3. Technology & Stem

Technology Gadgets

Having grown up with a technological device in hand, members of Generation Z could shift the job tide toward more STEM-related fields, allowing more of these positions to get filled in the coming years, whereas in the past the United States especially has seen a STEM employee deficit. In fact, according to the 2018 Career Survey, about two-thirds of recent college graduates report having chosen a STEM-related major as undergraduates, leading them to STEM-focused careers as they look toward the future.

Even hiring managers outside of the STEM-related fields should take advantage of the tech-savvy of Generation Z and utilize this group for upcoming positions requiring an understanding of technology and social media. Students and graduates of Generation Z are, on average, well-versed in online platforms, social media trends, and ways to leverage technology. Even if these individuals have not studied tech marketing, they have been the recipients of social media and technology marketing campaigns nearly all their lives.

4. Career Path

Career Path - Generation Z

Also, the Generation Z group has reported high expectations for job growth throughout their careers. Though they plan to work hard, they also expect to progress quickly in their chosen field. They have cited the expectation of standard benefits, a fair salary, and genuine work/life balance from both large corporations and small companies seeking new hires.

Hiring managers should take note that this generation is not as willing as previous generations to work constantly without vacation or even remain loyal to one company for decades if that company is not increasing benefits and providing opportunity for upward career mobility. Based on the statistics, members of Generation Z will simply leave to find a better position if their needs are not being met.

Why does this information matter? Well, Generation Z is a generation composed of 61 million Americans born between the years 1996 and 2004. These young people will soon be searching for jobs, ready to meet a hiring market that can support their specific characteristics and needs.

Though hiring managers and employers could theoretically ignore information about Generation Z’s interests, companies hungry for new minds and fresh talent will certainly be paying attention, leaving those who do not either in the dust or scrambling to learn about incoming employees.

With these four themes in mind, hiring managers and employers can rest assured that by knowing and understanding the background, expectations, and values of Generation Z, they can expect to harness the grit, focus, and talent of these highly-motivated young people who will certainly contribute positively to many organizations and businesses in the coming years.

As the research shows, members of Generation Z are looking for careers that matter, so hiring managers have the opportunity to meet these technologically, socially, and politically aware young adults where they are and enjoy the rewards that come from putting trust in a new generation of employees, entrepreneurs, and changemakers. This is an exciting time to anticipate what the future of hiring might look like!

Written By
Chris Everett is the content writing and marketing specialist for NSHSS, the National Society of High School Scholars, a high school honor society that supports the success of young scholars around the world by connecting them with scholarships, college fairs, internships, career and leadership opportunities, partner discounts, and more.

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