Have you ever felt like appealing to applicants is a game of chance, unsure of what compensation or benefits will entice them to apply? It leaves you wondering what aspects Gen Z look for in a job.
That’s where the Perfect Job Trifecta comes in. Inspired by the famous Project Management Triangle, where quality of work relies on three main constraints: budget, scope, and time. Since achieving perfection in all three pillars is near impossible (you can’t finish a project with all the desired features for under budget and ahead of schedule), project managers must learn to balance and prioritize the factors that matter most to their customers.
The Perfect Job Trifecta acts in a similar way for recruiters, replacing budget with pay/salary, scope with culture/management, and time with flexibility. These three aspects are the biggest contributing factors that most applicants consider twhen determining if a job prospect is worth the time to apply.
Just like the Project Management Triangle, the main principle of the Perfect Job Trifecta is that few job positions can satisfy all three sides of the triangle, though companies should make sure their positions hit at least two of these out of the park.
For example, if your company cannot pay a lot, then you should make up for that by providing flexibility and excellent culture. Or if you do not offer flexibility in work-from-home or time-off options, then you should compensate with higher pay and a great culture.
In summary, companies who are interested in sourcing high-quality candidates and retaining talent in the long term are advised to keep their Job Trifecta in balance with at least two strong sides. Otherwise, candidates just won’t see the value in applying.
Let’s dive into each piece of the triangle to better understand what Gen Z looks for in a job and how we can provide it for them.
When Gen Z looks for a job, they tend to place a high value on pay. According to a study performed by Handshake, 70% of Gen Z prioritize pay when looking for open positions.
While high pay is attractive to job seekers, this is not to say that your company needs to pay top-dollar in order to hire and retain talent. Money doesn’t guarantee job satisfaction. According to therapist and mental health expert Allyson Evans, “Money is not everything when it comes to jobs and mental health. If you are solely going to focus on the money, then it’s probably going to come at the cost of your mental health. Because that is not the only thing that impacts the quality of your work life.” Read more on jobs and mental health here.
If your company cannot pay above industry average, do your best to provide similar value with your total compensation package. Keep in mind this doesn’t have to be the paycheck alone, but a combination of salary, paid time off, HSA contributions, 401k matching, health insurance, and other benefits.
As long as the compensation package you offer is fair, employees might compromise a bit on their pay. Be careful, however—low pay is one of the top reasons people leave their jobs, and if candidates see your employees are well-underpaid, then they will be less likely to apply for your company at all.
If competitive pay or a valuable compensation package still aren’t possible, you may need to look for less-experienced talent. Entry-level employees who are eager to gain work experience may be willing to sacrifice on pay—moreso than their highly-experienced counterparts.
In summary, do your best to offer fair compensation for the work that your new hires will be providing. Employees value their paycheck—there is no sugar-coating that. But don’t get too caught up on the money. Consider how you can offer additional job benefits in the other two areas of the Perfect Job Trifecta to convey value to prospective hires.
Flexible, remote, and hybrid roles receive 7x more applications than their more traditional alternatives.
Especially after the pandemic, remote work provided a lot of value for millions of workers who realized they liked spending more time doing what they love and less time commuting.
Gen Zers value flexibility with the ability to work from anywhere. This benefit could become more apparent as Gen Zers begin to start families of their own and want the option to spend a little more time at home. Depending on your industry or work environment, you may not be able to offer work-from-home options and that’s okay. You can still offer some flexibility in time off or schedules tailored to students. This segment will value the benefits of flexible work schedules as they incorporate school, work, and extracurricular activities into their daily lives.
More than half of Gen Z and Millenials would rather be unemployed than be unhappy in their job. This tells us that they place a high priority on culture and management.
Many Gen Zers want to work somewhere with a strong culture, good management, and opportunities to grow and expand their skills. Good managers will help mentor these emerging professionals into developing those necessary skills.
Entry-level jobs are about gaining experience and learning what your skills and strengths are, who you like being around, and even the things you don’t enjoy. When Gen Z applicants view their job as an opportunity to learn about themselves during this self-discovery phase, they are more likely to enjoy their job and appreciate their managers.
Additionally, many Gen Zers want to work for a company that embodies social responsibility (having a positive impact on society rather than the sole focus of making money). If your company is involved in giving back to the community in one way or another, create opportunities to showcase that aspect and give these young job seekers the chance to participate.
What Job Factor Is Most Important to Gen Z
Simply put, Gen Zers value pay, management, and flexibility. But companies can rarely meet high expectations in each of those areas. Recognize the best things you have to offer and capitalize on those. Job seekers will have to sacrifice one thing in the triangle to get what they want out of the other two. It’s up to them to determine which factors they value more.
Every candidate values these job factors differently, so don’t get discouraged. You and your company have something valuable to offer; all it takes is finding those candidates whose priorities align with yours.
Take some time to recognize the areas in which your company excels with your employees, then communicate those clearly throughout job descriptions, recruitment marketing, and in the everyday culture of your company.