Understanding your future engineers: Generation Z

Generation Z will represent 36% of the workforce by 2020 - that’s less than four months away. If you’re not preparing your business, workforce, and recruitment campaigns ready for this new generation’s first day, you could be missing out some of the industry’s finest and most promising talent. This week, we’re looking at your future engineers and how to prepare your business for Generation Z. 

Why is Generation Z important now?

You’re busy attracting, hiring and retaining the talent of today - tomorrow’s can wait. But, they’re not waiting. Generation Z are getting older, earning qualifications and looking for somewhere to start their engineering careers. Understanding your future workforce today enables you to:

  • Start attracting interest and marketing yourself as an aspirational place to work;
  • Prepare your current employees for the generational shift about to take place;
  • Implement the policies and benefits that will attract future candidates; and
  • Keep one step ahead of your competition when the time comes to recruit. 

This is especially important in the engineering industry - where the skills gap could be filled by this new and eager generation. 

What do my future engineers look like?

While it’s easy to assume that Generation Z are the same as Millennials, it’s also wrong to assume. Generation Z are an entirely different workforce with different characteristics, motivators and skills. Let’s take a look. 

Generation Z - characteristics

Generation Z are those born between 1995 and 2012. This means that the older members are currently working in their first or second post-education job, and the younger members are in early education. 

Generation Z - technical skills

Generation Z is the most digitally-connected generation yet - with enviable technical skills professionally and self-taught. STEM subjects have featured prominently in their education, with skills such as coding being learnt at an early age. They will be capable of working with highly complex software, equipment and technology, and eager to learn new skills to help push boundaries. 

Generation Z - soft skills

Growing up on social media has made Generation Z a very sociable bunch who value relationships and connections. This makes them excellent communicators who perform well in networking situations and when handling or working with multiple stakeholders. 

Generation Z - engineering candidates

Generation Z have been part of a nation-wide campaign to get more girls and ethnic minorities interested in STEM careers. Accordingly, there will be a wider variety of candidates applying for positions and a larger selection of skills and backgrounds to benefit from. 

Generation Z - motivators

Generation Z are highly motivated by sustainability, equality and fairness and will be looking for companies who demonstrate these values in all they do. Culture, benefits and tasks will, therefore, be more attractive than starting salaries and hyped-up job titles - especially when the work involved allows them to create sustainable, secure and ethical project outcomes. 

What can I do now?

What can you do now to attract this highly sought-after generation of tomorrow?

Diversity and inclusion training

Your workforce is about to become more diverse - with different skills, genders, backgrounds and cultures all contributing to the same aim. Ensure that everyone is on the same page by implementing equal opportunity policies and practices now.

Further reading: how the engineering industry can drive diversity and inclusion.  

Tools and software

Generation Z are used to fast internet, cloud-based access and all of the latest gadgets. Ensure that your workforce has the tools required to perform efficiently and effectively - keeping everything up-to-date and cutting-edge. 

Job advertising

It’s not that Gen Z have a limited attention span - more that they choose to scroll through information until they find something that engages them. This requires a multi-channel recruitment strategy that uses different platforms and methods to engage all generations. 

Policies and procedures

Flexible working patterns, bring your own devices, mental health days and CSR are all policies that will be high on the agenda of job-seeking Gen Zs. Review your policies and benefits to ensure that they’re flexible, fair and attractive. 

Get in touch

If you want more information or advice on how to prepare your business for the next generation of engineers, get in touch with one of our specialist engineering recruitment consultants today.

Ferris Aitchison

Contract Team Leader

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