How to ensure your employer brand attracts all generations

9 min read | Yvonne Smyth, Group Head of Equity, Diversity And Inclusion, Hays | Article | People and culture Market trends

Four women and a man working in and office space

Age diversity at work is a hot topic right now as the retirement age is pushed back further and more people from gen Z start their careers. Find out how you can update your employer branding to appeal to each generation.


Employer branding to appeal to all generations: Key insights

  • An age-diverse workplace contributes towards an inclusive work environment and helps you to understand varying customer markets. However, each of the generations has differing expectations for employers.
  • For generation X, a forward-thinking workplace is at the top of their priority list when looking for a new role. They have an appreciation for digital innovation and want to work for employers who embrace digital transformation.
  • Millennials are motivated by progression opportunities. They are a group that is collectively much more open to working overseas compared to older generations. Highlighting your organisation’s internal success stories can help to capture the attention of the millennial workforce.
  • Gen Z places the most emphasis on an employer’s purpose and reputation compared to earlier generations. There’s still more data to be gathered on gen Z to gain a clear picture of the generation’s working preferences. To start attracting this age group, work on building a positive reputation for your organisation on social media.

Keep reading to find out more about what people of all ages, especially generations X, Y, and Z, look for in an employer.

Discover our employer services to learn more about how we can help to build your employer brand and assist with your talent acquisition.


Employer branding to appeal to all generations: Background

By the end of this decade, there will be five generations working together as higher retirement ages and longer life expectancy make their presence in the world of work.

As with all aspects of diversity, an age-diverse workforce allows organisations to understand different customer markets and draw upon different perspectives. In doing so, organisations can improve their business performance and encourage innovation. Here, I will go through some of the ways in which you can capture a more age-diverse recruiting commitment within your hiring strategy.


There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to employer branding

Different generations view employer loyalty in many different ways. Your traditionalists and baby-boomers are generally more embedded within the organisations they work in. Generations X, Y, and Z are less inclined to share this view and often have no issues with regularly moving between employers.

So, you need to ensure your business is agile in how you promote it as a destination of choice. Various reports, including our recent What Workers Want study, shows that the majority of employees within each of these generations have differing priorities. Take the time to understand what aspects of your workplace and work environment will appeal to different age demographics. This awareness will inform how you tailor your employer branding strategy.


What do the different generations want from work?

Gen X needs to see that you’re forward-thinking

By generation X, we mean employees born roughly between 1965 and 1980. Some of the world’s most prominent entrepreneurs and technological innovators are part of this generation. These influential professionals include Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos and one of Google’s founders Larry Page.

Gen X witnessed first-hand the impact of digital innovation as they entered the world of work. They often tend to appreciate the digital innovations which can form part of company culture.

Appealing to this demographic requires you to highlight that your organisational culture is an “intrapreneurial” one. What I mean by this is essentially that you encourage idea-sharing and innovation from all areas of the business.

You also need to emphasise that your business can stay ahead of digital transformations. Show that you embrace rather than fear disruption within your industry. Demonstrate how your company has adapted to the changing landscape, from updating your product offering and customer service strategy to reviewing your internal operations.

Millennials want career progression

Born roughly between 1980 and 1996, millennials are the generation who have seen many newly-created career opportunities thanks to technological advancement. These things combine to make a particularly tenacious, ambitious and adventurous group of workers.

A report by PWC states how this ambition is conveyed in the way millennials demand constructive feedback and development from their employer. They expect to see progression within their roles and reward for their effort.

Millennials are less likely to be bound by borders too. 71 per cent of the respondents in the report said that they plan to work overseas at some point during their careers. Our What Workers Want report also found that this generation finds individual performance-related bonuses motivating, more so than Baby Boomers and Generation X.

Essentially millennials prioritise career progression, reward, and development when considering an employer. So, if you want to appeal to this segment, you will need to adjust your talent attraction strategy to emphasise these personalised aspects accordingly. A great example of this strategy is communicating internal career success stories. Make sure to also celebrate the contribution certain employees have made to overall business objectives and publish international mobility case studies.

Generation Z can be won over with your reputation and purpose

Gen Z is the generation who grew up on social media. Born after mid to late ‘90s, they are thought to spend up to 10 hours a day online. They pursue a number of activities during this time from socialising to job searching.

There is evidence to suggest that employer brand reputation is more important to gen Z of workers than any other. Parental opinion is a significant influencing factor, so this age group is highly likely to ask for family opinions on a potential employer. If organisations want to attract Generation Z, it’ll be necessary to invest in developing a strong online employer brand. So, you need to showcase why you’re a leading player in your sector or field.

Actions such as publishing information which positively reflect and amplify your industry recognition on social media will go a long way with this group. Of course, having the least tenure of the three, we have less data and measurement of the Gen Z generation. So, the final point is to make sure that you invest time in active listening. Watch out for trends within this group in your workforce, as their thoughts will be invaluable.

If you’re working on attracting more diverse talent profiles, you may also be interested in my previous post on narrowing the gender divide.


Employer branding to appeal to all generations: Next steps for your business

Learn more about our digital solutions to find out how we can help you to enhance your employer brand.


About this author

Yvonne Smyth 

Yvonne is Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Hays, working with our clients to ensure their recruitment strategies are aligned with the latest equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) policies and initiatives. She is responsible for creating and implementing diverse recruitment strategies that effectively support the representation of more diverse staff profiles within their business.

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