Generation X, Y and Z — how to communicate with them in the recruitment process

Generation X, Y and Z — how to communicate with them in the recruitment process

Generation X, Y and Z — how to communicate with them in the recruitment process 940 788 Kay Crayford

The media is never short on stories about Millennials, often in contrast to the generation who preceded them. But now there’s a whole new age group entering the workforce in the form of Generation Z.

If it’s all enough to make your head spin, here are some pointers on Generation X, Y and Z, and how to communicate with each of them in the recruitment process.

Generation X, Y and Z

Generation X is generally categorised as having been born from 1960–1979. They have lived through significant technological advances and social change. Gen Xers make up roughly 35% of the UK workforce.

Generation Y, also labelled Millennials, were born from 1980–1994. They were digital pioneers, raised during a period of relative financial stability and optimism. Generation Y also accounts for around 35% of the UK workforce.

Born between 1995–2010, Generation Z are now coming of age and entering work, making up around 20% of the UK workforce. Gen Z (also sometimes labelled iGen) are digitally native and were raised during a period of economic uncertainty.

Communication preferences

One key difference in the generations is how they choose to communicate. While Gen X are tech-savvy, they still value face-to-face or phone conversation. Gen Y appreciate email and instant messaging as a way to gather their thoughts (and have been levelled with the accusation of avoiding face-to-face contact). Gen Z have been raised in an age of instantaneous and always accessible communication and so appreciate ongoing dialogue.

Styles of communication can differ too. Gen Y have been taught from an early age to question traditional authority relationships and express their feelings and opinions as an equal — so be prepared for this during the interview process. 

Communicating values

When communicating to different generational groups during the recruitment process, it’s important to think about the values that drive their behaviour. The language you’d use in a job ad for a Gen X applicant may not seem as appealing to their Gen Z counterpart

Generation X were the first to put an emphasis on work/life balance, which remains an important principle. They also value pragmatism, self-reliance, and opportunities to advance their career. 

According to a study at Northern State University, http://www.na-businesspress.com/JMPP/BarclayA_Web15_4_.pdf   Generation Y workers like to do work that has a greater meaning and contribute to the company in a real way (with many stating they would consider a less well-paying job if they believed in its mission). They value self-development and the opportunity to acquire skills.

Generation Z seek authenticity, and are more realistic and motivated by financial stability than their Gen Y predecessors. As digital natives growing up in the gig economy, many Gen Zers are entrepreneurial multitaskers.

Kirsty Craig Associates are experienced HR and recruitment professionals, helping your business to find the right people (across a range of generations) for the right job. Speak to our team today to see how we can help your recruitment process appeal to different generations.

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