Why reaching the next generation early is key to attraction strategies

Reaching students earlier and on the platforms they habitually use is becoming a key battle for employers and educational institutions trying to engage with the next generation of talent.


A change of approach?

Our work with Amberjack has shown that many students are now considering their career choices well before the age of 13 and they are researching independently and using engaging, short-form content.

One in five of the 2,685 respondents told us that they gave serious thought to career choices before they were 13, and this rose to one third by the time of their 14th birthday and more than half before 15. Less than a quarter only started earnestly thinking about their careers after they were 16.

This suggests that the next generation are planning their future choices far earlier than many would expect. While much of the current focus of recruitment activity involves careers advice in schools and exhibiting at events including careers fairs, these findings suggest a change in strategy could pay dividends.


Generation Z were born online

Students said that the amount of time schools spend providing careers advice varies greatly with 69% receiving careers advice at most once per term, compared to 31% receiving sessions every month.

Undoubtedly, this mixed picture plays into students’ levels of independent research, 43% saying they spend between one and three hours researching career options per week, compared to 39% who spend at most an hour. Just one in 14 dedicate no regular time to careers research.

It is likely that their experience with remote learning during the height of the Covid pandemic is a factor in the shift towards independent research at a younger age. Seeking out information feels comfortable to this age group.

For Generation Z online platforms are not only sources of entertainment, but also play an important role in future planning. Some 41% said they use TikTok for research and 37% use YouTube, only slightly lower than the 44% who turn to their parents when researching careers.  
Our respondents were also very clear in the way they prefer to view information with 52% engaging with video when researching careers, eclipsing forums (23%), blogs (20%) surveys/quizzes (18%) and podcasts (14%). 


Speak to them where they are

These findings have implications for engagement strategy, a series of engaging videos suitable for TikTok, YouTube or even your own website far more likely to have an impact than a series of lengthy blog posts, or reams of written information.

This means content libraries are essential, with resources that can be used in a number of locations with minimal changes, for instance longer YouTube videos that are repackaged into smaller sections for TikTok. We’ve found great success using voices students will most identify with, especially those closest to their age, who have recently gone through the same experiences as them.

Creating a video content library that is suitable for those aged 13, yet also works for those in their later teens may feel like a daunting step, but it is likely to have a much wider reach than traditional channels.


Relevant content on the relevant platform at the relevant time.

This completes a perfect triangle – speaking to the students in the format they prefer, on the platforms they visit and with voices they identify with, at the time they are looking for information.

If you’d like to register to receive the report as soon as it’s published, follow this link to register: Gen Z Careers Report 2023 (springpod.com)


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