By its very nature, the tech industry is an evolving one. Innovation changes the game as technology improves, with the ripple effects felt across all corners of the sector. However, there’s a revolution happening in IT right now that, at its heart, has nothing to do with technology. Younger generations of workers are altering the very makeup of the tech workforce, and that changes the landscape of the field and hiring within it. Specifically, here’s how Generation Z and Millennials in tech are reshaping your workforce.
Hiring managers in IT who have been watching Baby Boomers retire in droves may worry about what that means for the future of recruiting tech talent. The good news is that younger talent is both entering the industry and moving up within it. Firstly, Millennials have become the largest portion of the U.S. labor force. This group is already working in IT and is now being promoted into more tenured roles as they gain further experience and complete advanced degrees or certifications.
Secondly, there is Generation Z, the oldest members of which were born in 1995. This segment is graduating from college and is poised to enter the IT workforce more with each subsequent year. Gen Z actually comprises 26% of the country’s population, making them the largest generation. This is promising for tech hiring managers because this group is vastly interested in technology as a career, proven by STEM majors in colleges rising a whopping 43% between 2009 and 2015. Clearly, a boost to the IT talent pool is on its way and can provide some much-needed relief to understaffed organizations.
Despite the numbers that will enter the tech industry, hiring will remain a top challenge as businesses face the working preferences of the two groups. Millennials and Generation Z desire different things out of their employers than past generations. Studies show that 45% of Millennials value workplace flexibility over pay. That means recruiting with work-life balance in mind and considering if remote work or flex schedules are options for the roles in question.
Likewise, Millennials and Generation Z crave meaning in their work. Show candidates and employees how their work product makes a direct and positive impact on the company, community, and world at large. At the same time, consider offering extra paid time off specifically for volunteering efforts to help in this regard. Finally, members of these generations are looking for careers. To secure their talent, it’s necessary to discuss clear career paths with them, discover where they want to go, and relate how your open role can help them get there.
Millennials and Gen Z will be known as the generations who took alternate career paths in IT. It’s no coincidence that the rise of the gig economy has coincided with Millennials growing and ingraining themselves within the tech field. While their characterization as job hoppers may be a bit of a harsh generalization, Millennials are well suited to IT consulting gigs. At this point, they have the skills, knowledge, and power, and they are dictating the types of roles they want to an extent. That translates to temporary roles that provide more variety and flexibility. Companies that rely solely upon direct, permanent hires will find the most hiring difficulties and will need to reconsider their talent acquisition strategy or engage with consultants.
Similarly, Generation Z is taking alternate paths on their way to IT employment. 77% of this group already earn money via freelancing or part-time jobs, so their mentality lines up nicely with the gig economy. Further, only 64% of Gen Z members are considering obtaining an advanced degree, a number significantly lower than that for Millennials. Younger generations are pursuing alternate methods of education and training, evidenced by the 85% of Generation Z who have viewed at least one online video in the past week in order to learn a new skill. This means young talent is training themselves earlier and more quickly as they look to enter the IT talent pool faster than those who came before them.
The makeup of the IT industry’s talent pool is changing. While in certain ways that presents promising opportunities for businesses looking for tech talent, it still comes with familiar hiring challenges. IT pros, including Millennials and Generation Z, will continue to be in demand. Speaking to their preferences and adapting to their working styles is always the key to garnering their interest, but that is easier said than done. IT workforces evolve over time. Will your hiring strategies evolve with them?