Attracting a new generation of talent

Ambitious and future-oriented, Gen Z is bringing new priorities and values to the workplace. | Freepik

Ambitious and future-oriented, Gen Z is bringing new priorities and values to the workplace. | Freepik

Published Feb 20, 2024



GENERATION Z, born between 1997 and 2012, has entered the workforce - and they are already shaping the future of employment as we know it.

A Deloitte survey earlier this year revealed that Gen Zs, and millennials to a slightly lesser degree, are placing top priority on reduced or flexible working hours – despite concerns about the potential impact it may have on their finances.

Another survey showed that 73% of Gen Zs value a healthy work-life balance more than a high salary. These respondents were also prepared to leave if their needs were not met; with a somewhat surprising 83% considering themselves “job-hoppers”.

Flexibility favoured

These trends are certainly becoming increasingly evident in today’s workplace.

The new generation values their personal time a lot more than previous generations. They make a more concerted effort to look after their well-being by striking a balance between their work and personal lives - and are confident about instilling and enforcing healthy work-life boundaries.

They favour work opportunities that offer some flexibility. Organisations that offer hybrid or remote work, for example, have greater appeal than companies that require employees to be in the office or on-site daily.

This does not mean that older generations don’t value the same perks. Flexibility – in terms of both working hours and location - resonates across generations in the workforce.

Growth ambitions

So, how can companies retain top talent – especially in fields like tech where skilled workers are in high demand?

The research suggests that it’s important to cultivate a culture that respects people’s personal time. This appears to be key in supporting employee well-being and avoiding serious issues such as burnout.

However, to make this flexibility work, employers need to ensure that there are open channels of communication.

Of course, giving people adequate time off won’t be enough to retain the brightest stars in any given industry. Even though Gen Z values having personal time, that does not mean they are not ambitious. They always want to feel like they are moving forward in their careers. The moment they feel stagnant or undervalued, they will consider moving to other companies that can provide new challenges and growth opportunities.

On the flipside, managers need to be sure to manage the expectations of those with lofty ambitions. Some want to move up the career ladder as quickly as possible. Such goals can be a great thing, but sometimes that can create unattainable expectations. Regular feedback is critical in nurturing young talent.


Dariel Software has done a lot of research to better understand what appeals to graduates in our industry.

The new generation is highly future-oriented. They want to work on the latest tech, they’re fascinated by AI and machine learning, and they’re curious and inquisitive.

Employers should aim to address all these needs through training modules that accelerate growth, and by exposing young talent to high-end projects with mentors to guide them.

These kinds of projects can make your organisation a workplace of choice - but it’s important to then take further steps to remain attractive. This can be done through regular company-wide surveys and paying attention to developing employee needs.

Organisations should frequently evaluate their employee value proposition to ensure continued employee satisfaction.

You don’t have to bend over backwards to accommodate any and every need. However, organisations still need to make smart decisions to remain competitive.

While an organisation can’t – and shouldn’t - change everything it stands for, it’s important to remain open to the needs of different generations, and adapt or accommodate where possible.

For younger generations, this would most likely include efforts to support their pursuit of work-life balance.

Be sure to always remain receptive to feedback and to cultivate a culture of open communication.

* Mills is talent manager and Mosola is internal recruiter at Dariel Software.