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The multigenerational workforce: What you need to know to hire now

Katie Johnson
June 16, 2021

We are facing a booming job market, with openings nearing historic highs. At the same time, reports note that a quarter to 40% of workers plan to leave their jobs this year once the threat of the pandemic lessens.  

Many employers may not be ready if their talent leaves. Recent research from our sixth annual Class of 2021 survey report found that nearly half of organizations only recruit new hires on demand.  

To help employers overcome talent challenges, we looked at findings from our Class of 2021 report, and we partnered with a third-party research firm to survey 1,000 adults across the United States, age 25+, to better understand what today’s multi-generational workforce is looking for in an employer in this new talent economy. 

Here are the findings: 

All generations expect employers to commit to diversityequity, and inclusion (DEI) in the hiring process


  Diversity is an expectation of all generations

When it comes to DEI, candidates look for authenticity when evaluating an employer’s DEI efforts. Saying you offer a diverse and inclusive culture is not enough. You need to show it. More than a third (35%) of job seekers age 25+ want to see diversity showcased during the hiring or interview process.

Gen Z (those 18-24) digs a little deeper. They look into whether company leadership is diverse (39%), if an organization has employee-led groups to foster diversity and inclusion (38%), and even if an employer gives to charities or social organizations promoting diversity (28%).

However, a lack of diversity and inclusion is not a dealbreaker. Our Class of 2021 report found that less than a quarter of graduating seniors would require it to accept a job.

The future of work is flexible


The Future of Work is Flexible

The last 18 months thrust the business world into a forced remote work experiment. As recovery begins, employers are trying to figure out the best next steps surrounding return to office plans, hybrid workplaces, and remote work policies.

Nearly half of all workers consider flexibility important when deciding to work for an employer (51% of workers age 25+; 44% of Gen Z workers). A third (29% of all workers) consider remote work options ahead of applying for a job.

Considerations for communication in a multi-generational workforce


Communication considerations

Efficient candidate engagement and communication can make or break the talent experience in the tight labor market.

Communications should come across authentically. Candidates don’t want to feel as though they are receiving a form letter. However, employers can be challenged by the need to connect and engage with candidates at scale. Digital tools like text recruiting are increasingly being used to help bridge the gap. Our Class of 2021 report found that texts sent from employers to candidates increased by 34% from Q1 2020 to Q1 2021, and 97% of HR professionals will use video to hire in the next 12 months.

Hiring today is a delicate balancing act


Employers must consider the ever-changing business environment and varied preferences among the multi-generational workforce to attract, engage, hire and advance the best talent in the market today. Some candidate idiosyncrasies may come as a surprise: Only 11% of Gen Z job seekers – widely assumed to be digital natives – are comfortable with artificial intelligence in all aspects of the job application process. Others not so much: Nearly half (48%) of job seekers age 25+ rank the resume as the most important tool to help land a job.

But whether you are looking to hire entry-level workers, senior leadership, or anyone in between, a strategic plan and the right tools are needed for talent acquisition success in this new future of work. Learn more about how to engage with today’s talent in our webinar on promoting culture and belonging in a workforce that spans four generations.

On behalf of iCIMS, Dynata polled 1,000 adults, age 25+, across the United States via an online survey, between May 17 and May 21, 2021. The survey supplements iCIMS’ Class of 2021 report findings and provides a deeper look at generational differences in hiring trends.

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