October 23, 2020

One in three Gen Z survey respondents who’d applied for a job said they’d avoided an opportunity because they feared being treated unfairly due to their gender, ethnic or racial identity in a new survey by Tallo. In the same survey, one in four said the same thing about applying to college.

In addition, 69% of Gen Z respondents said they would “absolutely” be more likely to apply for a job that had recruiters and materials that reflected an ethnically and racially diverse workplace.

“The bottom line is that companies and colleges are leaving millions of qualified applicants out of their acquisition pipelines by not communicating – and practicing – a commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Tallo CEO and Co-founder Casey Welch. “If you’re in the business of recruiting Gen Z, you need a diversity and inclusion strategy and you need it now.”

More than half of the survey respondents who have ever had a job said they’d witnessed discrimination in a workplace setting based on race, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation.iii More than three-quarters said the same thing about their time in school.iv This awareness of injustice exceeded their own personal experience with discrimination, with fewer respondents saying they’d felt discriminated against themselves for the same reasons in either a workplace (44% of those who have had a job) or school (51%) setting.

Fully 88% of respondents agreed that potential employers should ask candidates about their preferred gender pronouns, with 65% “strongly” agreeing. Yet only 18%v reported a recruiter or potential employer has ever asked them. And if employers ultimately decided not to use an applicant’s preferred pronouns, 25% of Gen Z applicants would go on to decline a job offer.

“Gen Z’s views on inclusion take gender into consideration in a way that may feel completely foreign to older generations,” said Welch. “This demonstrates the need for a diverse workforce and recruiting team that naturally understands these realities.”

Building a Diverse Workforce Can Hinge on a Company’s Response to COVID and Social Issues

Aside from efforts to increase and respect diversity in their workplace, Tallo collected additional data in August that suggested today’s candidates are closely watching how organizations responded to COVID-19. Ninety-three percent of those who self-identified as Black highlighted the importance of companies’ responses to the pandemic, compared to 89% of Hispanic/Latino respondents, 84% of Asian respondents and 67% of White respondents.

Similarly, race impacted how members of Gen Z felt about a company’s response to social issues. Seventy-six percent of Black respondents agreed a company’s response to social issues was very important, followed by 72% of Hispanic/Latino respondents, 68% of Asian respondents and 59% of White respondents.

“Jobseekers have stressed the significance of diversity and inclusion for decades, but Generation Z could be the generation that really forces employers to take this issue, along with timely responses to social issues and COVID-19, more seriously than they ever have before,” said Welch.

This poll was conducted by Tallo via an online and mobile survey of 5,063 US high school and college students from September 1, 2020 through September 15, 2020. 

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