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Generation Y and Z in the labour market - The ultimate guide

Generation Z

In order to be able to choose the right media for your recruitment strategy, or to know how to onboard or motivate the future generations in the labour market, it is important to know the most important characteristics of the different generations.

So what is Generation Z?

  • Generation Z (abbreviated: Gen Z) was born in the period 1995-2009

  • This means that this generation of young people and students is currently entering the labour market, either in the form of a part time or full time job

  • By the year 2022, Gen Z made up no less than 25% of the workforce and that number will only increase in the coming years

It is therefore incredibly important that you, as an employer, know about this generation, both in terms of attracting new employees, but also in everyday work.

So let's look at some of the things that characterise Generation Z, which is also called the digital natives or the iGeneration.

Here we are going to create a stereotypical representation of a generation, but in the nature of things, not all people are the same, so use this article to be inspired and then make your own plan in relation to employer branding and everyday life in the company.

Nevertheless, there is a difference between generation Z and the generation that is slightly older, namely the millennials, who are also called generation Y.

Generation Y and Z

Let's look at the differences in their behaviour.

generation z 

Generation Y

Generation Z

  • Born 1977-1994
  • Born 1995-2009
  • Trust the companies to tell the truth
  • Are sceptical when it comes to the companies' credibility
  • Expect companies to process sensitive personal data correctly in relation to GDPR
  • Less than 50% believe that personal data is stored securely
  • Believes that companies shoulder a social responsibility
  • Just over half believe that the companies actually take social responsibility
  • Being called curling kids because their parents have swept adversity away from their feet. Millennials are therefore optimists
  • Trophy children, which means that these are smaller cohorts who, through growing up, have received and require a lot of attention
  • Share what they see on social media
  • Creates content on social media. 
  • Uses Instagram's dream filter and photo editing programmes to appear perfect, side effect: low self-esteem and stress
  • Does not buy newspapers, but reads newspapers and magazine, if they are available at the workplace, in the doctor's waiting room or available at the hairdressers
  • If it can't be found on the internet, it doesn't exist
  • Are committed to their family and value their free time so that they can realise themselves and enjoy being with friends
  • Can be socially challenge, the corona pandemic has not helped in that context
  • Facebook is actively used
  • Facebook is used for information, but not for interaction. So you're only on Facebook for FOMO reasons (Fear Of Missing Out)
  • Google is used to search for knowledge
  • YouTube is used as the primary search engine
  • TikTok was used during the corona pandemic and not so much afterwards
  • TikTok is widely used
  • Very few want to be self employed as being so puts finances under pressure
  • Entrepreneurship is hip
  • Listens to what their friends and parents say
  • More impulsive than older generations
  • Experienced the financial crisis in 2007-2009
  • Corona, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis are the first societal hardships that generation Z has experienced
  • Loves the community, both at work and in leisure time
  • Walks home alone from school, not physically with friends after school, but chats, snaps and games. If they are in the same room, they don't necessarily look at each other
  • Team oriented
  • In the secondary school, there was a focus on individual learning and Gen Z was trained in personal achievements, but was also included in group work. Therefore wants personal success and is used to receiving constant feedback
  • Does (like everyone else) skip actions, but has the ability to delve
  • May have difficulty concentrating. Addicted to getting dopamine, which creates a short term pleasure and therefore via social media seeks a constant confirmation of being seen
  • Family is important. Career comes second
  • Very interested in education. They strive to get a good job and a good career
  • Seeking brand relationships
  • Will be independent

Also try watching this video where Simon Sinek talks about how millennials should be managed in the workplace.




With knowledge of the difference between generation Y and Z, we are now ready to look at how we attract generation Z via employer branding and motivate gen Z in the workplace.

Employer Branding

Employer branding is about:

  1. how you, based on the company's communication strategy,
  2. works to market the company
  3. as an attractive workplace
  4. for the workforce of the future

If we start from these points and combine it with the knowledge we have from the table above, it is easier to lay out a communication strategy.

The following is intended as a suggestion and must of course, correspond to reality and the possibilities in your company, so that you can use the pointers below.

Generation Y

Generation Z

  • Emphasise the possibility of flexible working hours and you appreciate the whole person, including not having long working days
  • Be prepared that this generation will not work for 5-10 years in your company. Highlight, if possible, that the company can provide sparring in relation to entrepreneurship and business development, either internally or via networks
  • Highlight your team oriented approach to problem solving
  • Show examples of how the company actually takes social responsibility seriously
  • Talk about your CSR strategy and how you live up to it
  • Use employee advocacy to talk about how you give feedback on an ongoing basis, and not just via a performance review once a year
  • Mention GDPR to support your credibility
  • Highlight your brand or the branded goods you sell if there is a good level of awareness
  • Recruit primarily via job portals that target the young target group of students (for example and and secondarily via YouTube and possibly TikTok. It is about creating more touchpoints in order to remain at the forefront of the Gen Z mindset
  • Use traditional media for recruitment: Google ads and job portals, possibly trade magazines


Once you have hired generation Z, you need to think about onboarding and motivating the employee on a daily basis.

Motivation of Generation Z


Motivation af generation z

The challenge is: How do you motivate your employees when they are distracted and constantly craving feedback?

First of all, it is important to create a feedback culture if you do not already have it.

Feedback model

The purpose of the feedback is to reinforce or change the employee's behaviour.

You can use the following four points as a model for creating feedback:

  1. Create a space for giving feedback. You do this by asking: "May I give you feedback?"
  2. Give concrete feedback. Feedback must be given in connection with, or immediately after, a relevant incident has given rise to giving feedback. You can say to the employee: "When you..."
  3. Talk about the significance of the incident. Talk about consequences
  4. Use coaching. "What do you think you could do instead, the next time?"

Generation Z must have a purpose

If generation Z does not see a purpose in solving a task, then motivation drops drastically. 

You can experience employees in this generation who say: "Why do I have to do that?”.

At first glance, it may seem provocative and condescending, but the reason is that Generation Z is constantly on the way to new goals.

As an employer, you must therefore be skilled at constantly setting sub-goals and be ready to change these sub-goals if the employee becomes demotivated.

Over time, you can then via the feedback, culture stimulate the employee to be more persistent in relation to work tasks, which may be characterised by routine.

Social media in the workplace

Smartphones and social media are an integral part of our everyday life. This gives you, as an employer, some opportunities and challenges.

Generation Z is used to multitasking and can easily both listen to a presentation at a meeting and at the same time search YouTube for input that relates to the meeting.

The downside is that there is no eye contact, Generation Z can be socially challenged, this is perhaps where you need to make an extra effort.

Try to think of a situation where there are 6 meeting participant, but the 6th person has not arrived. Everyone brings their smartphone to the meeting.

Generation X and Y can put down their smartphones and ask interesting questions about colleagues  leisure interests, family or talk about what is happening in society. However, the culture is moving towards how Gen Z behaves.

Generation Z will sit and look at their smartphone, just to be update, before the meeting even starts.

So, if there are no rules for the meeting culture, you may experience that the employees do not engage with each other and thereby over time, lose an important interest in communicating with each other.  Creating that meeting culture can give rise to a rapport between the colleagues, which could be the foundation for an agile organisation and a desire to solve problems together, for the benefit of the company.

If you would like to know more about how to create an optimal recruitment process, see here: