Creating Career Growth Opportunities to Attract and Retain Gen Z Talent

Employers looking to hire Gen Z should communicate career and growth opportunities to help drive talent acquisition efforts in 2023.

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When it comes to attracting the new generation of talent, Gen Z has some pretty big demands. From salaries that start at six-figures to having the ability to work from anywhere in the world, Gen Z is redefining the way employers approach talent acquisition and retention.

Make no mistake—this generation is one that is motivated to find meaningful, long-lasting careers and understands that it won’t be handed to them without first putting in the necessary work. For employers looking to hire these up-and-comers, learn why providing career and growth opportunities can help drive your Gen Z talent acquisition efforts in 2023.

What New Grads Want From Their First Jobs

Gen Z may have a long way to go up the career ladder, but they know they won’t rise unless they are given opportunities to learn and grow within their careers. When it comes to securing their first job out of college, finding a company that provides job training, career coaching, and room to grow is incredibly important to them. In fact, Monster’s 2023 State of the Graduate report found that 54% of new grads would turn down a job at a company that doesn’t offer career growth opportunities (up 33% from 2022).

“Gen Z and recent graduates, specifically, are entering the workforce at a time of major volatility due to the fluctuating economy,” says Ashley Samson, chief of staff at National Business Capital. “As they scout new job opportunities, stability and growth are at the top of their wish lists. These job seekers are eager to begin their professional career with the intention of being in these companies for the long term.”

This Generation Won’t Wait Around Long

As the first fully digital native generation, Gen Z has grown up with virtually everything at their fingertips. For instance, they’ve never had to wait for dial-up internet; they simply open their smartphone and are instantly online. Just like they don’t have to watch ads on TV or listen to a sitcom’s intro song; they press “skip” and immediately start binge-watching their favorite show. It’s no wonder, then, that when it comes to their careers, Gen Z doesn’t want to wait for growth and advancement opportunities to come around—they want them now. According to Monster’s State of the Graduate report, 37% of recent college graduates said the most important aspect of a job is immediate growth and advancement opportunities.

“Gen Z expects everything they need is going to be at their fingertips,” says Kaelyn Phillips, vice president of talent management at Monster. “And if we don’t give it to them, they’re going to find another organization that will because that’s just the culture we’re in.” She’s not wrong—Monster’s State of the Graduate report also found that 43% of new grads said they would quit a job if they were not given opportunities to learn and develop in their positions.

Providing Career Development and Learning Opportunities

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to provide growth and learning opportunities not just to Gen Z, but to all employees within an organization, many of which can be free or of low cost to employers. “Mentorship is one, and it’s so important for underrepresented demographics,” says Ursula Mead, CEO of InHerSight, a company-reviews platform for women. “Our data shows that if ‘you can’t see it, you can’t be it’ remains true, especially for young women considering futures in leadership positions. Other learning opportunities include cross-training, job shadowing, stipends for certifications, career coaching, tuition and conference reimbursement, subscriptions to learning platforms, etc.”. Mead also adds that mental health resources are a good sibling benefit to learning opportunities because they can help employees, especially young employees, deal with stress and prevent burnout early on.

Companies like Monster provide excellent examples of how employers can take the ideas listed above and put them into action. For example, Phillips highlighted Monster’s Career Atlas as one of the ways in which the company supports the growth and development of their employees. The Career Atlas outlines all of the company’s job descriptions and core competencies and allows employees to compare roles within their own department or across the organization. Phillips says this has helped several employees prepare for interviews and land internal promotions within Monster.

Additionally, she says Monster’s career coaching program has helped improve employee engagement and decrease attrition at the company. In fact, only three months after launching the program, employee engagement went up more than 5%. When it comes to employee retention, Phillips says, “I can think of three or four examples of where people went through our career coaching program and because of the program felt more connected to Monster and have stayed with the organization as a result.”

Communicating Career Growth Opportunities to Job Seekers

Knowing that job seekers, especially Gen Z candidates, value and are looking for jobs that provide career training and resources, it’s important for employers to ensure these opportunities are made known to job seekers and their existing workforces. Employer branding materials, like an employer value proposition or a career site, can often be a good place to start. “Once you have a solid career growth plan in place, showcase it everywhere and often,” Samson says. “Include your plan in job descriptions, make it available to view on your company website, and speak about it throughout the interview process. You want to communicate as clearly as possible that career growth is valued as highly to you, the employer, as it is to the job seeker.”

One of the best ways employers can showcase career growth opportunities to job seekers is through good storytelling. Mead says, “Find employees who’ve succeeded because of your programming and ask them to share their experiences. What would they have done if the program didn’t exist? How did their leaders/managers support the change? What have the results been? Get them to share the ins and outs of the program through their positive experience, so other employees will be curious to experience it for themselves.”

Employers shouldn’t stop talking about and promoting their career development resources after a job offer has been extended. Continue to advertise these opportunities to employees via internal communications, like in a company newsletter or on a bulletin board in the office. Employers should also encourage managers to discuss career advancement and development opportunities with their staff on a regular basis, like during performance reviews.

For more information on how employers can convey their commitment to employees’ career development—along with many other useful tips for attracting today’s top candidates—download Monster’s Employer Branding Guide.