Today's applicants are your tomorrow's employees: who are they?
Universities definitely stand out among employers in the labor market — this is probably a rare type of organization that first provides education and then can offer a job. That is, first produce a product (a specialist), and then use your own product (hire this specialist to work). If we continue the reasoning, then eventually the product will create a new product. We are not talking about a robot factory, and therefore I suggest to reflect on how people change, and how they, having mastered the profession, transform the labor market and the reality which we live in.

It is important for an employer to take into account which generation employees belong to — to be able to work with them, find an approach, create conditions so that they, in turn, could make the business more profitable. Despite the fact that people themselves are significantly different from each other, generations, as groups of people, demonstrate similar characteristics — values, expectations, beliefs.

Ladies and gentlemen, born in the period from the mid‑60s to the late 70s (sometimes they are called generation X), have been in the labor market for a long time. They no longer take on "any" work and sometimes seek to shift the balance from the office to home. At the same time, they adapt well in a professional environment, act on the "there are no unsolvable tasks" principle, as they faced quite contradictory events in the history of our country while aging up. They are capable of taking measures and responsibility, which makes them mature, self-sufficient professionals. They are now middle-level or high-level managers due to their age and competencies.

Their current income level is taken for granted. They do not shy away from small numbers, they are often ready to go bottom-up. Their concept includes first knowledge and skills, then money.

Boys and girls born in the 1980s — 2000s (millennials) are the most educated, versatile, broad generation in the labor market. I myself belong to this generation, I can say a few words from a practical point of view. Millennials have grown in dynamics, technologies have changed and developed as quickly as possible. For example, those born in the 80s played in the yard in childhood, and after graduation, on smartphones. Online 24/7.

The competition is high, and so is the pace of life. A lot of energy waste, a lot of projects, startups, unguaranteed success. An important difference from generation X is a higher level of liberalism, the focus on business success is diluted by the puzzlement of global problems such as a healthy lifestyle, ecology, tolerance, humanism. More reflections on any occasion.

The level of income is perceived as a personal characteristic, hence they are very sensitive to fairness in terms of remuneration. In their concept, skills and money necessarily exist simultaneously and exclusively in the same plane.

Girls and boys born after the 95th (generation Z). They are the future of the economy, the largest consumer group in the world. Millennials are more fanatical about liberalism, believe in the disappearance of discrimination in society and media, and form a request for social justice. They are progressive. They are extremely concerned about personal ambitions, often replace the contents with a "wrapper", which is why they are sometimes infantile. They are demanding of comfort and income level, periodically lose the connection between real professional skills and remuneration. They're creative. And they're always online. These guys are the main audience of modern universities, and very soon they will enter the labor market en masse.

The idea of the standard of living is often formed by a refined picture from Instagram. Their paradigm includes work on prepayment, they do not have to convince the employer they're competent, but the employer has to convince them the job is attractive.

A small note: I ask you to consider the subjective characteristics above solely from the point of view of recruitment. These characteristics were not meant to humble any of these generations, just as they were not to declare that each of their representatives behaves identically repeating the description proposed above. In an average order, groups of people of the same age demonstrate similar behavioral patterns described by me from the point of view of existing experience. Of course, there are exceptions when very young guys demonstrate a level of responsibility that significantly exceeds experienced professionals.

Now let's think about how Generation Z will affect the labor market, and will it want to go to work at universities?

Recently, many companies have faced a shortage of applicants for line positions. It's not fashionable to start small now. I want to become a boss right away, and, ideally, manage remotely. During the pandemic, many were carried away by the boom of "remote" work and work «for themselves».

The sphere of sales and services has smoothly flowed into online mode. The status of "self-employed" is gaining great popularity among young professionals who are just starting their career in sales, where you plan your schedule and workload yourself, you can influence your income, thereby freeing yourself from most of the framework in which your employer puts you. Outsourcing companies are gaining more and more popularity, which conduct large-scale advertising for young employees and university graduates about the advantages of the "self-employed".

Generation Z grew up in a period of advanced technology. They expect modern solutions and flexibility from the employer. They're not attracted by the Soviet structure where employees punch a clock according to clear regulations. Companies that give employees the opportunity to choose ways to solve their tasks and plan their working day will be more attractive. An attractive employer brand in popular social networks, the use of modern IT technologies in work, a flexible schedule, the opportunity to realize their creative ideas, participation in new projects — this is what attracts the new generation.

Spending most of their lives on social networks, aspiring professionals want to be in the trend and find a job «like in the picture», even if this picture is only the subject of their fantasies. Often, their acquaintance with the company begins on the Internet. Stylish modern interface of websites showing a good example of successful, young creative employees of the company who are passionate about their work, videos in Tik-Tok and Instagram telling about activities in the company, participation in charity projects, environmental protection — all this creates a fashionable, attractive image of any company.

It is worth considering another important feature: the career of a representative of generation Z should be dynamic. The employer should give the employee the opportunity to realize their ambitions. The era of ants who worked all their lives in one anthill has passed. Modern young people do not have a great desire to work all their lives in one company. They are always looking for profitable alternatives.

Returning to the main issue of the article, it is worth seriously thinking about how to attract the younger generation to work at universities, how to build personnel work. Without a doubt, almost any university is a pillar of science, and therefore it is extremely conservative. However, our society is changing, living conditions are changing, and it may be extremely important for universities to keep up with the times.
Julia Maltseva, HR Business Partner, expert on recruitment and adaptation of personnel. Julia has more than 4 years of experience in profession including global international companies. Over 5-years experience in executive positions in fashion retail.