Attract Gen Z accountants in 2021by
If you’re looking to recruit this year, our panel of experts have got you covered. Move over millennials, here’s how to attract Gen Z accountants.
After a rollercoaster of a year, recruitment is back on track. While 2020 saw a pause in the process, 2021 will see a shift back to recruitment in the workplace.
As the millennial generation are now approaching middle-age, businesses are becoming keen to invest in Generation Z. But what does the Gen Z accountant want out of their career?
Our panel of experts joined forces in last week’s Accounting Excellence Talks to share their insight into the world of Gen Z, and how you can look to recruit these young accounting professionals this year.
The good news is there’s no shortage of fresh accountants seeking work. Senior partner and head of international at Kreston Reeves Andrew Griggs usually receives 40 applicants a year, whereas this year he saw 1,600 apply.
What do they want?
“People leaving university are actually demanding that they’re pushed hard,” said PJCO Chartered Certified Accountants' Peter Jarman of Gen Z. “They see this as part of their career progression.”
Accounting Excellence award winner Sian Kelly has also noticed that these applicants are hungrier for work than previous generations, making them easier to mould and thrive in different accountancy roles.
“In their lifetime, they’ve experienced 9/11, the financial crisis, and now the pandemic. None of the millennials will have experienced that in their career path. Therefore, they’re looking for stability within their lives,” explained Griggs.
As well as a greater work-life balance, the community, cultures, and values of an organisation are important to Gen Z accountants, he added.
Panellist Peter Jarman told AccountingWEB that he’s been scouting soft skills over technical skills. This is in favour of the Gen Z market, who hold more value in interpersonal and social qualities in the workplace.
“When we interview, we select based on their academic abilities,” he said. “And then we have a chat with them, which isn’t necessarily about accountancy.”
As accountancy work evolves, people skills are becoming increasingly important as more firms are interpreting information rather than just processing information, Griggs added. With Gen Z being so technologically literate, there is more space for focus on rapport and relationships with clients and staff.
Sian Kelly, the managing director of Inform Accounting, has even started using a personality profile test when surveying applicants, which helps establish which roles are best suited for which people.
These social strengths also relate to Gen Z’s skills within technology; they are more willing and able to communicate with their clients speedily and frequently.
“They’re really using the technology to set the standards of the firm ,” explained Jarman. “My generation is following them. We believe in what they do. They’re setting a much higher standard than we were some time ago, and that’s all led by technology.”
In Kelly’s firm, new recruits start straightaway by learning all about the tech they use before tackling anything else.
Attracting Gen Z applicants
“From a culture point of view, they want variety and excitement, they don’t want routine,” said Griggs.
Gen Z are also keen for feedback, he added. They’re looking to feel included in what’s going on, and appreciate a greater level of communication from management about the level of work they’re delivering.
There is also a big emphasis on the wellbeing aspects of an organisation; Griggs suggested implementing wellbeing ambassadors within your firm to better equip you for helping team members better manage their mental health in the workplace.
Wellbeing in the workplace also ties into a flexible approach to work with this generation. Griggs explained that Gen Z are more than capable of getting the work done, but they want to do it on their hours and terms.
“I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re chained to their desks,” said Kelly. “I don’t care what you do as long as you do your hours and you do a good job.”
Over the course of the pandemic, Jarman also adopted a flexible approach where members of staff could choose when and where they work, allowing more balance in their personal lives.
“We’re never going to get back to the point where we’ve got a set desk for every person. I don’t think we need that anymore,” Kelly added. “It’s going to change the working world.”
Catch up on this episode of Accounting Excellence Talks here to find out more about attracting and recruiting Generation Z accountants within your firm.