Generation Z in the IT job market – how are they doing and what do they expect from employers?

30 06

Generation Z in the IT job market – how are they doing and what do they expect from employers?

logo-kwadrat-2-2-2 Author: Karol Koman

Karol Koman – Recruitment Consultant with over 3 years of experience in the IT industry. At ITDS he focuses on sourcing the best candidates with different profiles. He also builds relationships and ensures a friendly recruitment process.

Generation Z in the IT job market – how are they doing and what do they expect from employers?

IT-related positions are now dominated by the first generation of workers raised in the digital world. The industry’s employers have often criticised Gen Z’s demanding attitude, but they hardly seem to have any other choice. Recent years have shown that they simply have to adapt to their demands. But will this state of affairs continue for much longer? In the following article, I will address the expectations of Gen Z representatives in the IT job market!

Gen Z – the generation that puts themselves first

Generation Z are people born between 1995 and 2012 (however, researchers do not agree on the timeframe; different ranges can be found between 1990 and 2015). Called Zoomers, Gen Z, iGen or post-millenials, they are the first generation to have been brought up surrounded by the internet, computers and a multitude of smart devices. They are perfectly at home in the digital world, are up to date with technology and are quick to pick up on any new developments.

People around the age of 18-25 are just entering the labour market. According to the PARP report “Generation Z in the IT job market. Attitudes, priorities, expectations”, Gen Z would like to work in industries related to: new technologies (29%), music (25%), video games (25%), fashion (22%), sports (22%), IT (21%) and media (20%).

Obviously, members of one generation are a very diverse group, but as they grew up under similar conditions and circumstances (economic factors, culture, etc.) and were brought up in a specific way (greater support, confidence in being unique, etc.), they tend to share many common characteristics.

What characteristics are associated with Gen Z? 

Researchers point out that Zoomers are assertive individualists who are keen to express themselves. Also, representatives of this generation are, among other things:

  • Ambitious and open-minded;
  • Better educated than their parents,
  • Pragmatic rather than idealistic;
  • Focused on their own needs;
  • Focused on their own mental well-being;
  • Socially active, e.g. committed to fighting social inequalities, environmental degradation, discrimination of minorities;
  • Present online (spend a lot of time on the web);
  • Quick to act and judge;
  • Focused on savings and financial security;
  • Dedicated to development and career; 
  • Less motivated to start a family (they prioritise career over family);
  • Work-life balance oriented (reluctant to work overtime, do not answer emails after work, etc.);
  • Critical of employers (have very clearly defined expectations);
  • Less loyal to their employers (if something doesn’t suit them, they are quick to change jobs);
  • True to their values (work must not conflict with their beliefs).

Generation Z is generally perceived as demanding and lazy. Their representatives, however, are more aware of their own value and are breaking away from the cult of hard work, which is particularly prominent in our country. Their entry into the labour market may contribute to a real revolution – more and more is being said about the introduction of a four-day working week or “Bare Minimum Monday” (an approach where only the essential tasks are performed on Mondays to make the transition from the weekend smoother). 

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Generation Z in the IT job market – a challenge for HR professionals

Zoomers usually have a specific idea of what they want their job to look like. They are determined to find employment in line with their expectations and values. They are prepared to search until they are fully satisfied. For the time being, they can afford to do so, especially in the IT sector. High demand means they have plenty of job opportunities to choose from. On top of that, many members of this generation, especially those from large cities, can also count on financial or housing support from their parents.

Zoomers with inflated ambitions represent quite a challenge for recruiters. They are undoubtedly less humble than millennials – they ask a lot of questions, make demands, negotiate terms and conditions, etc. Often HR professionals, rather than assessing whether a candidate is suitable for a position, will try to convince them to accept the job.

Companies are adapting their recruitment processes to the expectations of Gen Z. Virtualisation is key – if they want to reach a large target group, job advertisements should be published on a variety of websites and social media, and interviews should be conducted remotely. Some recent trends also include the presentation of salary ranges in advertisements, along with very detailed descriptions of employment conditions. 

But how do you convince a Zoomer to work in IT? First and foremost, they need to be given a lot of autonomy, allowed to develop, and also given the sense of becoming an important member of the team.

What do Zoomers expect from an IT employer?

When looking for a job in the IT industry, members of Gen Z are mainly interested in:

  • Decent remuneration;
  • Contract of employment or B2B contract;
  • Remote or hybrid work; 
  • Additional support from the employer when working remotely, including:
  • Ensuring good communication with the team;
  • Flexible working hours;
  • Subsidised equipment and utilities;
  • Psychological support.
  • Informal atmosphere;
  • Work-life balance;
  • Benefits (e.g. private health care, gym passes, catering);
  • Development opportunities (training, courses, etc.) and promotion prospects.

Younger workers rarely identify with their company, and are more likely than previous generations to change jobs – they aim for professional development through a variety of experiences, not necessarily within a single organisation. Their goals are more about their passions than about their careers. What is most important to them is to develop, be independent and be able to follow their own way of life, if only in terms of organising their day. Zoomers work to live, rather than live to work.

How well are Zoomers doing in the IT sector?

According to the IT Community Survey 2023 report, the largest percentage group in IT are employees aged 25-30 (some of whom are considered Gen Z) – they make up around 31% of the total workforce. The youngest workers, aged 18-24 (i.e. Zoomers), account for 14%. 

Most Zoomers started their IT careers in times of an employee market. Also, born in the demographic trough, they were well aware they didn’t have much competition. It is thus hardly surprising that they were so confident in presenting their demands and were quite selective when considering job offers. The economic crisis, inflation and other challenges (such as widespread adoption of AI, which is already capable of replacing programmers) have now marked the end of this extremely favourable period. 

The latest Polish Labour Market Barometer survey reveals that up to 28% of employers are actually considering reducing their workforce. How do Zoomers react to this situation? For the time being, they remain true to their beliefs. At the moment, there is certainly no talk of a crisis on the IT labour market, so they are more open to negotiations and focused on development (including specialising), but are not yet willing to lower their requirements.

Many young IT workers came to prefer working under a B2B model – according to research, this group accounts for as much as 37%. With recent tax changes, this is a more cost-effective solution. At the same time, it offers much more autonomy. Gen Z programmers like to take part in projects that they are genuinely interested in.

Working for a foreign corporation or even emigrating is also an increasingly popular choice. According to Gi Group’s report “Economic Migration of Poles”, as many as 17% of respondents are considering looking for a job abroad within the next year. 29% of those aged between 18 and 24 are planning to leave.

While sometimes considered demanding, members of Gen Z are ambitious and growth-oriented. Once they used to dictate their terms to employers – now they need to be a little more accommodating. The IT job market is slowly shifting away from being an employee market and there is a growing need for mutual understanding. Employers and candidates should therefore focus on forging compromises.