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What Does the Z Think about the Conditions of Entering the World of Work?

In the frame of qualitative research, we were interested in what young people think about the conditions of entering the world of work, and how do they perceive their own opportunities in the labor market. Young people agreed in the fact that it is difficult to find a job, and it is even harder to find a proper workplace.

"Die majority of respondents claimed that a higher level of education means a greater challenge in finding a suitable workplace.

They also thought that it is easier for those with a valuable social capital, or those who studied a profession where there is a shortage of skilled experts. On the other hand, people with a lower level of qualification and motivation have a harder time finding a job, according to youngsters.

“It is easier for those who have a higher level of educational attainment, and a wider circle of relations, and also if the number of people working within their field of occupation is relatively low. It is more difficult for those with a lower level of education, who lack motivation, and who are also looking for a job in a field which is already full.” As future employees, the greatest challenge according to respondents is to find a job which makes them happy, and which is also a lucrative one. They believe that finding and maintaining the proper balance between work and free time will later become a problem.

More people said that seeing the example of their parents, the balance in many cases shifted in favor of work, and many of them sacrificed their free time or even their health for work. Young people, however, one after another confirmed that they do not intend to follow this example. In a separate topic, we have examined the aspects which generation Z considers in the process of choosing their place of work. The decisive aspects claimed to be of primary importance included working hours as well, besides the salary and allowances. They prefer flexible working hours, it is important for them to have time for themselves. Another important aspect is the atmosphere of the workplace, whether it is an attractive environment, a place where they feel good while performing their work.

Another spontaneously mentioned aspect was the opportunity to move forward, which is considered in quite a conscious manner in the selection process. It is also a matter of importance whether the place enables the implementation of creative ideas and ambitions. Respondents explained that in order to achieve their goals and dreams, they are able and willing to work hard, but only if their efforts are recognized and compensated. Self-fulfilment, self-management, and an inspiring working atmosphere are also significant factors. A number of experts have already highlighted that these young people show the greatest level of sensitivity toward receiving not only a salary, but an identity from the company as well.

What Does It Take to Have a Successful Career? "Is It Surely Only up to Us"

We have asked students about what they believe to be necessary for a successful career of a young beginner. Many of them emphasized knowledge, determination, and strong motivation.

They feel that in order to be successful in a particular field, one must be persistent, motivated, and determined. However, a number of external factors are also necessary, such as relations: “to be at the right place at the right time,” to be able to exploit opportunities, and also that the workplace should enable appropriate opportunities and a suitable environment for career and development. According to participants, a beginner can only be successful today, if he is flexible, able to cope with load, up-to-date, well-informed, enthusiastic and motivated, and can take up the “constant speed” of work and adapt to the expectations demanded by an ever-accelerating world. In obtaining these characteristics and competences, and generally in having a successful start, mentors play a significant role.

Young people agreed that it would be quite useful to have a supporting person (mentor), who would prepare them to be ready for work. They feel that the best possible way to implement this is within the frame of education (as an optional course), or to offer it at an affordable price as a training session, where managing directors, HR experts, and successful people in particular fields would present the most important advices based on their personal experiences. Beginners could receive personalized information and instructions about how they should prepare for an interview as a beginner, and from where they should gather information about job opportunities. What should they take into consideration when having to fit in at a workplace, and what kind of rights and obligations does an employee have, thus receiving practical and useful information and guidance. With the management of such training sessions, corporations might obtain a high level of awareness and recognition from the young generation, who are otherwise quite difficult to reach and persuade. We believe that sponsoring these professional programs could not only serve as an effective means for building relations for an employer who in many cases face the challenge of skills shortage, but it is also an excellent tool to build commitment toward the brand. "Die currently available alternatives, limited to workshoplike open days and a few hours long ad hoc presentations, do not offer comprehensive solutions. Though these are refreshing initiatives, a systematically built professional program focusing on the requirements of the target group might operate with a much better efficiency. And based on the findings, it seems that the demand from the future employees exists toward such events.

In the following part of the research project, we conducted semi- structured interviews with the members of the employer side. Our goal was to understand what challenges and hardships experts in practice perceive on the labor market, and what they experienced concerning generation gaps. What methods do they employ in order to connect with the Z generation? Do they have any HR, or HR communication techniques, activities, campaigns which they believe to be more effective, based on their empirical experiences? Would they recommend them to other employers wishing to connect with the Z generation?

During the research, we interviewed HR experts from large and international enterprises and HR specialists dealing in recruitment. Recruiting the participants was done with the snowball logic. Each of the five enterprises has Hungarian branches, but all are foreign companies. As for locations, two are in the capital Budapest, and the remaining three are situated in Bekes, Csongrad, and Veszprem

Counties, respectively. Among the companies taking part in the research, the smallest one employed 300 personnel, whereas the largest one had 3,700 employees. An important conclusion is that the experts believe that the successful solution for market challenges is cooperation. As part of this, they named the necessity of synchronizing education institutions, expert organizations, and the interests of the companies on the employer side.

As another important pillar, they stressed the importance of taking part in education; in a technological environment which develops quickly, and becomes more specialized each day, companies also have to take part in education. Due to the sector’s trends, actual job descriptions will transform in the future, and they also have to prepare their colleagues for this. An excellent opportunity for this is internal courses, advanced courses, and the option of specialization. Generation gap is also a challenging factor, both in recruiting and in keeping qualified, talented personnel. On the side of the employer, this demands an adaptation initiative and flexibility when facing a generation’s needs. This makes it necessary to realize that HR and HR communication tools have to be tailored to the employee ranks in question.

While in the case of the Z generation, individual goals, individualism in general, and the possibility of realizing personal career and path of life clearly gained an increase in importance, older generations believe that trustworthiness, stability, and transparency are more important. This is why we need the long-known differentiation of marketing to be adapted to HR as well: identification of the needs of target groups, in this case, employees, and solutions tailored specifically to these needs. Therefore, highly standardized solutions will lose their efficiency in calling out to the employees having more and more heterogeneous demands, and will have less of an effect on keeping them.

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