MReport May 2021

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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24 | M R EP O RT FEATURE G eneration Z (or, as you may have heard them called, Gen Z) is not just the future of the workforce, they are the present. Gen Z's oldest members have already graduated college and are joining the workforce. With this new generation entering your organization and the Bureau of Labor Statistics' projection that they'll make up 30% of your workforce by 2030, it's important to understand what defines the Gen Z workforce and what they look for in employers. Getting to Know Gen Z A Pew Research Center survey pointed out that Gen Z is on track to be the best-educated gen- eration yet. This generation is the most likely to attend college and, unlike previous generations, they have had unprecedented access to information for nearly their entire lives. According to the same survey, they also are the most diverse generation in the U.S.: 25% of Gen Zers are Hispanic, 14% are Black, and 6% are Asian. The classrooms and communities they've grown up in are far more diverse than your office may be, and this shapes how they view not only the workplace but also the world. They have grown up in a world that looks much different than it has for any other genera- tion. Gen Zers grew up with a Black president, which shaped their views of what is possible and what can be achieved. With this worldview, they demand purpose in their work, along with strong values and equity. According to a recent Monster survey, 83% of this generation said a company's visible commitment to diversity affects their decision to work there. Though growing up in a new world has given them a brighter outlook on what they can achieve, it has also shown them the reality of the challenges they face. Gen Zers were old enough to watch their parents struggle during the Great Recession, and now they are feeling and witnessing COVID-19's economic impact as adults. They have seen and experienced eco- nomic hardship firsthand and early in life, making financial wellness a huge priority for them. The final factor that shaped Gen Zers into who they are today—and probably the most discussed aspect of this genera- tion—is technology. They likely did most of their schoolwork on a laptop and didn't use many paper textbooks. Their parents had smartphones—and probably used them to entertain our Gen Zers at times. While this has made them comfortable with technology and able to keep up with the rapid rate of change, it has also created information overload. Gen Zers are more likely to struggle with anxiety as they see more than 10,000 marketing messages a day, according to a recent Forbes article. While millennials are considered tech-savvy, Gen Zers are consid- ered tech-dependent. The Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) W ith a solid awareness of this generation's origins, it's important to understand how your organization can help them get where they are going. Since Gen Z is the most diverse genera- tion, it is key to understand the importance of DEI when recruit- ing Gen Zers, especially those that belong to or identify with underrepresented groups. You have likely heard that representation is key, and this cannot be overstated. Additionally, representation cannot stop at low- level management. Black, Asian, and Hispanic Gen Zers need to know they are able to advance in your organization. Make sure they can see a bright future ahead for themselves if they choose to work with you. You need to have diverse leaders throughout your organization, as well as on your executive and senior leadership teams, in order to attract and retain this generation. It also is crucial to have a sup- port structure in place for your diverse employees. Employee resource groups are an effec- tive way to support minority employees within your organiza- tion and make sure their voices are heard. To be most effective, these organizations should be funded and have strong leadership participation in their initiatives and events. Mentorship programs and less formal sponsorship also are important for helping the younger generations succeed and advance within your company. While your Gen Z employees will benefit from the experiences and advice of your more tenured employees, you'll probably also see some reverse mentoring hap- pening. As these mentorships and sponsorships grow, you'll likely see existing leaders expand their own worldviews and understand- Recruiting Gen Z Dive deeper with a critical cohort that will increasingly yserve as a backbone for mortgage industry recruiting in the years to come. By Susan Sullivan

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