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iCIMS Insights June Workforce Report: All about Gen Z

June 20, 2024
4 min read
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With the season for pomp and circumstance just behind us, it’s a fitting time to talk about Gen Z — the generation dominating entry-level applicants. Our June Workforce Report examines:

  • New college grad expectations as they enter the workforce
  • Gen Z’s salary expectations
  • The key to young job seekers’ hearts

Employers’ continued, quiet confidence

Before we jump into the data on entry-level roles, let’s quickly explore the state of the overall job market.

Employers continued to show confidence in May. For the third month in a row, both hires and job openings were up. Hires are up 7% from January 2023, and job openings have risen 5% in the same time frame.

iCIMS June 2024 Insights Report: Platform indicators

Job seekers haven’t quite mirrored employers’ confidence. Job applications have leveled off since the flurry of activity in the beginning of the year. Still, job applications are up 4% since January 2023 thanks to a steady stream of candidates.

 

For new grads, it’s all about long-lasting gigs

iCIMS June 2024 Insights Report: Entry-level expectations vs. salary reality

Now let’s dive into the data we’ve collected on those just entering the job market. iCIMS surveyed 570 U.S. college seniors and 2024 graduates to get insight into the expectations they’re bringing to the workforce. We found that recent graduates have their eyes on long-term, lucrative positions.

Our survey revealed that stability and opportunities for growth were the biggest drivers in application decisions for graduates. Forty-three percent of respondents said they would like a long-term career path with an employer that offers opportunities for them to grow for years to come. A third said they see themselves staying in the same role or department for at least a few years.

Graduates said they estimate their first salaries at  $62,656. This is lower than 2023 graduates, who expected $66,467 and is well below those of 2022 grads, who thought they’d make about $70,000 in their first jobs.

Despite these expectations, many entry-level applicants are reaching for more lucrative gigs. Twelve percent of entry-level applications this year were for jobs with salaries of $100,000 and higher.

Hopes for higher earnings may be driving interest in STEM-related roles. The most popular entry-level jobs include positions in:

  • Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations
  • Business and financial operations and occupations
  • Computer and mathematical occupations
  • Architecture and engineering occupations
  • Life, physical and social science occupations

Meanwhile, interest is down for office and administrative roles, sales roles, and community and social service occupations.

 

A speedy application process wins Gen Zers

With graduation season just behind us, the competition for entry-level roles is growing. It’s not just the time of year, however: Applications per opening grew 13% since last May. This growth occurred outside entry-level roles, too. Overall applications per opening ballooned by 17% in the last year.

This trend spells more competition for job seekers, which is good news to employers. With more applicants comes more choices, thanks to a growing pipeline of candidates.

Employers will still want to make good impressions on new talent. To woo entry-level job seekers, employers need to align their application processes with the preferences of Gen Z.

These young grads prize speed in all aspects of the job search. They’re looking for:

  • Upfront information on job posts regarding salary.
  • Quick responses from potential employers.
  • Self-scheduling interview tools.
  • Virtual interview processes.

Employers can impress Gen Z applicants with an application process that’s fast and easy. iCIMS data shows that time to hire in May was just under three weeks.

 

Want more insights into entry-level applicants?

Download the full June Workforce Report.

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About the author

Rhea Moss

Rhea Moss is director of customer experience and data insights at iCIMS. She oversees the iCIMS Insights program, which aggregates and anonymizes the billions of data points iCIMS’ software processes per year and transforms them into actionable insights to help drive business and hiring strategies. Previously, Rhea was head of products at prescriptive data, and served as product and program managers at MongoDB and Thomson Reuters.

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