Are you communicating to millennials and Gen Z with purpose?

By 2025, millennials and Gen Z will make up most of the global talent pool. And the fight for talent won’t necessarily be won by those offering the best financial rewards alone.

In 2023, these two groups – including everyone up to the age of 40, are driven by more than just money. According to a 2022 study by recruitment firm Randstad, 56% of Gen Z and 55% of millennials would simply quit a job if it prevented them from enjoying their lives.

Millennials are the purpose generation

Millennials are often referred to as the “purpose generation” – that is, they want to know the organisation they’re working for is contributing toward the good of society. And their Gen Z counterparts are right behind them, as a 2021 study by career advisors Zety discovered. 53% said it was important that their work had meaning, while 62% said they’re drawn to companies whose values match their own.

Millennials and Gen Z are climate-conscious, too. They’re increasingly attracted to companies because of what they stand for and the issues they’re trying to solve. A 2019 survey by Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing found that 95% of millennials are interested in sustainable investments, and 89% of millennials agreed their investments could lift people out of poverty through economic growth.

Gen Z want it all

Since the pandemic, it’s clear that Gen Z are demanding more from their employers: more money, more flexibility, more trust and more meaningful work. And they’re willing to walk away if they’re not satisfied, long before burnout and lack of work-life-balance sets in. Gen Z already spend less time in a role than millennials, and that’s something to consider when trying to attract and retain new talent. Gen Z are shaking things up and they’re not afraid to speak out.

Actions speak louder than words

When it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), millennials and Gen Z expect companies to actively support and encourage DEI initiatives – not just talk about them. In a 2020 survey by job search company Tallo, 32% of Gen Z said they’d been put off applying for a job from fear of rejection (based on race, gender identity or sexual orientation). There’s clearly a disconnect.

Communicating your focus on DEI is a good start, but the under 40s want to see a real commitment. They want an inclusive, supportive work environment and a reward package that reflects their diverse colleagues. This is where organisations who communicate a clear vision and values will nudge ahead of the competition, earning greater respect and loyalty from their young employees.

Money isn’t everything (but it’s still important)

Millennials have trudged through more than a decade of austerity and Gen Z are entering the workforce at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is at an all-time high. The prospect of getting on the property ladder feels like a pipe dream, and a secure financial future is a constant worry.

This is worth considering when communicating rewards and pensions. According to a 2022 study by Standard Life, only 17% of Gen Z (and 32% of millennials) expect to use the State Pension to fund their retirement. This shows a need for companies to offer not just the products themselves, but also sound advice on how to make the best use out of them.

And if you think Gen Z are too young to be interested in investing in the future, think again. Business expert Zaid Admani regularly talks about financial literacy, with a particular focus on helping young people understand the stock market, to a dedicated TikTok audience of over 385,000. The appetite is there, you just need to strike the right note and on the right channel.


Need to refresh your communications for your millennial and Gen Z employees? Get in touch, we can help you communicate with purpose.

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