The War for Gen Z Talent

July 25, 2022
Reading time: 4 minutes
war for talent gen z

The war for talent is no new concept. It’s a term brought to life by Steven Hankin in 1997 – who worked for McKinsey & Company at the time. It stresses the importance of finding the right motivators to attract talent to your workforce. Ideally, these motivators are reflected in your Employee Value Proposition, or EVP. But can we still uphold the same propositions we did in 1997 in today’s society?

After the rise of the Millennial workforce – who now make up the bulk of today’s active workforce – it is time to look ahead and anticipate the rise of an even newer generation. A generation born at the same time Steven Hankin coined ‘The War for Talent’: Generation Z.


Born between 1997 and 2009, Generation Z already makes up over 7,9 percent of the global active workforce. That number will only go up until eventually surpassing Millennials as the largest working generation. It only makes sense then, to try and understand this new group of potential hires and employees. What differentiates them from their peers? What do they look for in an employer? How can talent be persuaded to stay with their employer? These are all questions worth asking and we decided to do just that!


Generation Z’ers are often called “Digital Natives” and with good reason. They were born in a time of constant technological advancements. They grew up in a time where information was available at the click of a button or the swipe of a finger. When faced with a new challenge, they are used to looking up the answers they need online.

This same mindset seems to carry over to learning new skills and getting better at their jobs. A 2021 study by LinkedIn found that on average Gen Z’ers spent 12% more time developing hard skills with LinkedIn Learning than any other generation. The same study found that 69% of Gen Z’ers will spend extra time studying if it would help them perform well in their current jobs.

That a healthy work-life balance is important to Millennials is no secret. In a recent survey by LinkedIn, participants were asked which EVP attribute is more important than salary in a post-Covid world. 53% of Millennials said work-life balance is more important than salary, compared to only 45% of all generations. The generation that fell just behind Millennials in their support for a healthier work-life balance was – perhaps not surprising – Generation Z.


Generation Z’ers appear to be strong advocates of having more flexibility in their jobs. But what exactly does that mean?

2021 analysis of the LinkedIn Economy Graph shows us that Gen Z’ers are 17% more likely than other generations to apply for remote positions. There is a caveat with full-time remote work, however, as we will discuss in the next segment.

Rather than having a supervisor micromanage their every move, Generation Z’ers much prefer to be coached. They want to develop new skills and improve in what they already know. In a survey by Gartner, 23% of Gen Z’ers listed development opportunities as a top attractor, compared to 17% of Millennials.


2021 study led by Microsoft reveals that the general consensus among all generations is that remote work is here to stay, some way or another. What’s surprising, however, is the amount of Gen Z’ers who struggled with working remotely in 2020. Compared with the total average among all generations, Gen Z’ers were 8% more likely to struggle with maintaining a desirable work-life balance. A struggle not to be taken lightly, as we already assessed how important a healthy work-life balance is to this generation.

Some of the most cited concerns Gen Z’ers have with remote work are: not having the proper equipment at home to do their jobs right and not being able to connect with their peers. It is imperative for employers to invest in the right resources to help their workforce thrive. This could be done by providing the right equipment for remote work. Or by providing employees with the tools to combine remote work with on-premise work – effectively giving them control over their own work-life balance.

Want to find out more about how the war for talent is changing? We wrote an eBook on exactly that! In it, we discuss the changing landscape of Employer Value Propositions, the impact Covid has had on attracting talent, and how different generations value different things.

Download “An Update on the War for Talent”