Who are iGen?

iGen (sometimes also referred to as Generation Z), are those who are born from 1996 onwards and are the generation immediately following the often talked about Millennials.

Both generations have grown up surrounded by technology and have seen vast and drastic technological improvements throughout their short lifetimes.  However, although you could be forgiven for confusing the two, they are completely different generations.

The “i” signifies the devices they are constantly using: iPhone, iPad, iPod etc and although it would be easy to confuse the two, to Millennials.

The iGeneration (the “i” signifies the devices they use such as iphone, ipad etc) can be characterised as:

  • Multi-taskers – they can juggle multiple priorities
  • More in touch with global issues and cultures
  • Individualised – they seek individually tailored experiences – they are looking for an employer who will value their individual qualities and differences
  • Self-educated – through their use of online platforms (e.g. YouTube, Instagram)
  • Communicate almost entirely online – this is a key factor when considering marketing campaigns for this age bracket
  • Strive for leadership roles – they hold this in high esteem and many see it as an achievable career goal in the first 5 years of their careers
  • Flexible – they want to work for companies who realise the importance of work-life balance

‘According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, by 2025 it is estimated that iGen will form 33% of the Australian workforce’

Therefore, it is crucial that recruitment processes are evolving to meet the needs of future Graduates.

So, what does this mean for Graduate employers?

No more traditional marketing campaigns: To effectively target iGen it is crucial to have an engaging online campaign to attract the best graduates.

  • Personalise your brand! iGen want to see that you’re human. They want to put a face to the company, they want to see what it’s really like to work for your company
  • It is crucial that Graduate Managers remain engaged with candidates throughout the Recruitment process, this shows candidates that you have a vested interest in them

Suggestions to improve attraction campaigns:

  • iGen love videos, especially short videos less than 2 minutes long
  • Graduate Managers could film a short video with themselves and their current grads, explaining how they are excited to review applications and meet potential employees
  • Engage with applicants all year round. Expression of interest forms are making a comeback – but in a new and revised way. Send updates, share videos and invite them to information events. The personal touch still matters!

Employers need to leverage iGen’s social media use: To attract and recruit the best graduates for their business, it is vital that Graduate employers understand the importance that iGen places on technology. Graduate employers should have an obvious and clear presence on all social media platforms.

  • It would be beneficial to set up forums for Graduate Programs – this should be monitored by recent graduates, if not the Graduate Manager. These forums provide clarity and encouragement to candidates throughout the recruitment process
  • Those employers who choose not to leverage iGen’s reliance on technology and social media will fall behind, and this will be reflected in their low application numbers and lower-quality candidates.

Employers will have to learn to see the world through the eyes of iGen in terms of their awareness of global and social issues: 93% of iGen say that a company’s impact on society will affect their decision to work for that company. This speaks to the importance that iGen places on Corporate Social Responsibility.

  • Graduate Managers need to think about how their company is positioned and their position on social values before going to market for Graduates. Approximately 60% of iGen want to make an impact on the world in their jobs and although this is not something that a Graduate Manager themselves can change in the business, they can market their Program in a way that will appeal to this sense of social responsibility.

iGen place increasingly high importance on work-life balance: Workplace flexibility is a top priority for iGen when they are considering an employer. With constant updates in technology and the way they live their lives, iGen values the opportunity to have flexible working arrangements. Graduate Managers should consider this before going to market, and make decisions regarding their flexible working arrangements for graduates. There are increasingly more ‘virtual teams’ and demand for employees to work off-site. It only makes sense that graduates get a sense of this when entering the workforce for the first time.

iGen Development in the workplace- Leadership/ People management: 81% of iGen aspire to be leaders. This is crucial when marketing a Graduate Program. Many Graduates employers already market their Programs as ‘developing future leaders’. It is important to note that these campaigns are the most successful, since they capitalise on what candidates want from employers.

  • Development programs should be targeted at leadership skills, as this is such a huge aspiration for iGen, 32% believe they will be managing employees within the next 5 years.
  • 34% of iGen are concerned about their people management skills. People management skills directly relate to being an effective leader. Graduate Employers should be addressing this concern by providing targeted development in this area.

iGen is the future of the workforce, therefore it’s important for organisations to consider and anticipate their needs. Graduate Employers should be on top of these needs now, in anticipation for iGen entering the workforce. iGen are selective in what they look for in an employer, and they are not concerned purely with remuneration. Organisations should consider the aforementioned factors when marketing and further developing their current Graduate Program. It is essential for Graduate Managers to be engaged with candidates during the entire recruitment process to ensure success and candidate satisfaction.