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Millennial and Gen Z Jobseekers: An Emphasis on Social Responsibility

Members of the millennial and Gen Z generations (those born roughly during the early 1980s and later) are known for being socially and politically active. But surveys have shown this activeness and social concern also translates to the businesses they patronize and seek to work for. To appeal to young, qualified and passionate jobseekers, it is important for companies to commit to using their power for good.

Leaders Set the Stage

According to the 2020 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, many young people have begun calling out companies whose actions they don’t agree with, especially if they remain ambivalent on race-based and political issues. Perceptions about organizations start at the top, and young people are paying attention. Twenty-two percent of global millennials said they have stopped or lessened their relationships with businesses because of positions CEOs have taken on political issues. Conversely, 12% have been attracted to companies based on CEOs’ standpoints.

A quarter of millennials surveyed in Deloitte’s global study said they’ve shied away from supporting companies because of inequalities such as disparity in pay and rewards granted to senior executives compared to average employees.

The Workplace Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility

The American Marketing Association (AMA) conducted a similar survey published in July 2020 which found a rising demand for ethical business practices for younger generations. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) was an important component for younger employees as well. Businesses who committed to CSR saw a 13% increase in productivity and a 50% reduction in employee turnover.

Among employees, 53% of people in this age group said having a job where they can make an impact is important to their happiness. Thirty-five percent say they would take a 15% pay cut to work for a company committed to CSR and 45% said they’d take a pay cut if it meant working for a company that makes an environmental or social impact. Nearly 60% said they’d take a pay cut to work for a company with views that align with their own.

However , according to an April 2020 EY (DiversityInc Hall of Fame) study, young generations’ views are not exclusive to those who politically identify as liberal, despite what stereotypes about millennials and Gen Zers suggests. Thirty-nine percent of Gen Z identifies as politically moderate. Seventeen percent say they’re liberal, 15% say they’re conservative, 11% identify as very liberal, 10% identify as very conservative and 8% classify themselves as “other.”

Where Messages Meet Action

Millennial and Gen Z hires also care about what companies post on social media in regard to social justice. Younger generations view brands that publicly release messages supporting social justice issues more favorably. YPulse, a leading organization in youth research, found that 69% of Gen Z and millennials think brands should be involved in the Black Lives Matter Movement. Fifty-nine percent said companies should make statements on social media and 50% said they should create marketing campaigns vocally supporting the cause, but the commitment also goes beyond communications.

  • 58% said companies should donate to support racial justice or grassroots groups
  • 51% said companies should change the way they do business such as hiring and/or training
  • 51% said companies should promote content related to the cause
  • 51% said companies should amplify the voices of Black leaders

AMA’s CSR study showed that it is important for CEOs and companies to be genuine with this messaging. Millennials are willing to share positive advertising on social media but will reject any promotions that feel inauthentic or deceptive.

Being public and transparent about your CSR programs and successes will bolster an organization’s success with young employees and customers.

“CSR used to be an afterthought for large corporations who were established enough and successful enough to give back,” the AMA report said. “It was simply a nice thing for these businesses to do. But now, because of the values and priorities of the younger generations, corporate giving must be built into the mission and DNA of businesses in order to make them relevant to the public and viable in the long term.”

View DiversityInc’s 2020 specialty list for Top Companies for Environmental Social Governance (ESG).

To apply to jobs at companies that “get it,” visit the DiversityInc job board.

To read more from our Millennial and Gen Z Jobseekers series, check out “Millennial and Gen Z Job Seekers: Who Are They?,” “Millennial and Gen Z Job Seekers: The Importance of Environmental Sustainability” and “Millennial and Gen Z Job Seekers: A New Emphasis on Wellness.”

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