For employers, knowing what matters most to prospective employees when they are considering a job offer is crucial if they hope to attract the best and brightest. Historically, that meant offering competitive salaries and excellent benefits. For Generation Z, however, a diverse workforce may be the most important factor when they are job hunting. This push towards greater diversity indicates a lower tolerance for discrimination and workplace slights, so it’s increasingly important for employers to understand and adapt to meet these changing demands.

Generation Z

Every generation since the Baby Boomers have been given a distinct name by the media and pop culture. Members of Generation Z were born after those from the Millennial Generation and before the latest generation, known as Generation Alpha. According to the Pew Research Center, Gen Z includes people born between 1997 and 2012. By 2030, more than one billion members of Gen Z will be part of the global workforce, according to a report by Intel.

Diversity and Gen Z

Diversity within a company is likely to be one of the most important considerations when Gen Z workers evaluate a job opportunity. One reason for this is that Generation Z itself is the most diverse generation in American history. A CNN Money report indicates that where the Baby Boomer Generation was 71 percent white, whites barely make up a majority (51 percent) of Generation Z. That same report shows that the Hispanic population has doubled (from 12 to 24 percent) and those who identify as mixed-race have quadrupled from just once percent of Baby Boomers to four percent of Generation Z.

In addition, to be a diverse generation, Generation Z is also turning out to be a generation of activists. From climate change to the Black Lives Matter movement and from the push for LGBT rights to the MeToo movement, Gen Zers are prepared to voice their opinions and advocate for change. It should come as no surprise then that Generation Z members place a high level of importance on how an employer feels about these same issues.

What Does the Need for Diversity Mean for Employers?

For a company to succeed and thrive, its leaders must look to the future and adapt to changing times. Today, that means taking into account what the workforce will look like a decade from now. More importantly, it means considering what prospective employees will be looking for in an employer a decade from now. The Intel survey found that 39 percent of Gen Z think an LGBTQ friendly workplace is important while 22 percent look for an employer that is accepting of all religious beliefs. Survey participants pointed to the wealth of experience and insights a diverse and inclusive workforce brings to the company when explaining why diversity is an important factor when contemplating a job offer. They also indicated that an inclusive workplace is more likely to reduce discrimination and offers cultural enrichment opportunities for all employees.

Employers hoping to attract the best and brightest to positions in the future need to understand that diversity and inclusivity will play a significant role in career decisions. Already, one out of every three 18-24-year olds indicates that “finding a job that aligns with my ethics and sense of purpose” worries them the most when it comes to finding a job in the future. Over half of those from Generation Z who participated in the Intel study indicated that they would be prepared to turn down a job opportunity if the company did not have a clear record of promoting inclusivity and diversity. For employers, now is the time to implement comprehensive diversity programs because Generation Z will be dominating the workforce in the near future.

Gen Z and Workplace Investigations

For employers, it will be equally important to recognize that Gen Z is more likely to report perceived discriminatory practices and less likely to turn the other cheek when workplace slights or mismanagement occur. Consequently, employers should be prepared for an increase in complaints related to alleged discrimination and should plan accordingly. Preventing complaints begins with education and clearly defined expectations of workers and management. If a complaint is filed, be sure to take the allegations seriously and investigate thoroughly.

If you need help investigating or addressing discriminatory practices in the workplace, contact Ablin Law by filling out our online contact form or by calling 312.288.2012.

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