Older Gen Zers are graduating from universities and attempting to enter the workforce in an unstable economy. While some universities and employers are desperately looking forward to the days when they can go back to “the way things were” and no longer rely so heavily on technology, it’s important to note that being forced to embrace technology is strongly benefiting Generation Z, a key group to the future of education and the workforce.
“There has never before been another generation that is so comfortable with technology”
First thing’s first: Technology is not standing in the way of Gen Zers and their interpersonal relationships. We asked 2,400 high school and university students on the Tallo platform about this concern, and 72% reported that they do not believe technology has weakened their ability to maintain strong interpersonal relationships or develop people skills.
Members of Generation Z are digital natives – there has never before been another generation that is so comfortable with technology and the world of online connections.
The limitations of meeting in-person due to the pandemic have finally forced companies and employers to meet this future generation where they already are: online. As more and more universities have begun to host virtual recruitment events in order to connect with Generation Z, students have reported positive outcomes.
We asked our community of Gen Z students to share their favorite part of virtual fairs, and the number one answer was getting to learn more about companies and colleges they’re interested in. They also reported enjoying being able to meet with recruiters quicker and navigating the simpler process of a virtual event more easily than a traditional in-person event.
These virtual events are also breaking down many of the traditional boundaries that stood between some students and making strong connections. Students who don’t live in metropolitan areas and don’t have the funds or time to travel to attend in-person recruitment and networking events can now do so from the comfort of their own homes. When geographic location is no longer a limiting factor, universities and employers are able to drastically broaden their outreach as well, making it easier for them to diversify their talent pool.
So, where should improvements be made when it comes to virtual events? Well, Gen Z wants more of them. Currently, supply is not keeping up with demand. Some 94% of high school and college students who responded to a Tallo survey in December 2020 said that attending a virtual career fair over the next year will be important.
However, only 21% had attended a virtual career fair in the past nine months. For companies and potential employers, investing in virtual fairs now is going to be critical to connecting with prospective employees who already see the need for these fairs and want to attend.
Despite their relatively young age, members of Generation Z are serious about making strong professional connections.
They’re looking to stay at their first full time job longer than Millennials, and that expectation has only increased during the pandemic. In December 2019, 43% of Gen Zers expected to stay at their first full time job for at least three years. Sixth months into the pandemic, that number went up to 51%.
Additionally, 92% strongly agree it’s important to establish a connection with an employer even if they don’t have an immediate job opening (a number that increased from 81% pre-pandemic).
Companies and universities are continuing to come up with creative ways to safely connect with Gen Zers. At Tallo, we launched a new web-based app called Ping that is reimagining the virtual recruitment experience. Through Ping, universities and employers, alongside students and job seekers, answer a series of questions about what they’re looking for.
They’re then presented with potential matches based on a 1-100 “match score,” with a higher score indicating a “better fit.” Since Ping’s launch, there have been over 23,000 conversations initiated between students and job seekers connecting to universities and companies on Ping. Over 7,600 talent participants and 160+ colleges, companies, and organizations have attended the events from around the United States.
It’s clear that Gen Z has been able to reap many benefits from the world’s drastic shift towards technology over the past year. They’ve been able to increase their networks and explore career and educational opportunities they may have never been exposed to otherwise. And most importantly, it hasn’t hindered their ability to develop interpersonal relationships.
Generation Z is a unique generation, entering universities and the workforce at a unique time. We must continue to create and deploy unique solutions to connect them with opportunities for their future.
About the author:
Casey Welch is the Co-founder and CEO of Tallo, a digital platform and app that’s connecting 1,300,000+ students and professionals to opportunities offered by colleges, companies, and organizations. Since its inception, Tallo has pioneered early talent engagement, facilitating career discovery and guidance for a diverse talent pool. Under Casey’s leadership, Tallo serves as a virtual ecosystem leveling the playing field for all students and job seekers, regardless of traditional geographic and economic barriers. Casey is a leading expert on Generation Z in higher education and the workforce, and his insights have been featured in Forbes, FastCompany, ZDNet, and SHRM.