I was recently invited to a networking event with final year diploma students, which turned out to be a great privilege. Whilst a war has continuously been raging between conservative Baby Boomers and entitled Millenniums, a new generation has been growing up and is now studying to soon enter the workplace, namely Generation Z (Post-Millennials born approximately mid-1990’s to early 2000’s).
Generation Z students describe themselves as “loyal, thoughtful, compassionate, open-minded and responsible”, being a mature and focused group of students who have concern for others. They are “independent people who are both excited and fearful for the future”. ¹
Through my interaction I learned that many of these students run a minimum of one part-time job (on average two to three) to be financially independent and are not interested in meeting the company’s CEO or learning how fast they will be promoted, but rather what they can do to best position and market themselves for the world of work. They have grown up in an era of unemployment and therefore value education and realize that they need to set themselves apart in order to successfully start and grow a career. They are determined to succeed and have a strong sense of accountability.
Although employers can be reluctant to hire students or interns due to their lack of skills and experience, there is a great opportunity for employers to boost the employment of these young work seekers.
1. Employment Tax Incentive (ETI)
The ETI was introduced in January 2014 and rewards employers for increasing employment of the youth and assisting them to gain relevant experience to take up full-time employment in future². It reduces the cost of hiring through a cost-sharing mechanism with Government by allowing the employer to reduce the amount of Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), whilst leaving the wage received by the employee unaffected
2. Skills Development Levy (SDL)
The SDL encourages learning and development in South Africa. Employers must pay 1% of their workers’ pay to the Skills Development Levy, which goes to Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and the Skills Development Fund to pay for training. Employers receive a rebate from the SETA if they train their employees. This includes providing students, learners and interns with the required practical experience in order to complete their qualifications³.
As fewer employers are hiring on-campus due to the challenging economy, there is an untapped opportunity to select and retain top talent that is comfortable with technology, innovative, agile and eager to learn and contribute. To remain progressive as an Employer of Choice, there seems to be few valid reasons not to take the lead in growing this future talent pool.
- Seemiller, C.& Grace, M. (2016). Generation Z goes to college. Jossey-Bass. San Francisco, CA