Every generation has its priorities, and for many in Generation Z, diversity is at the top of the list.
Tallo, an online platform that connects students, colleges and companies, surveyed high school and college members of Generation Z to find out how much of a game changer diversity was for them as they plotted out their college education and their future careers.
Not only did 69% say they would “absolutely” be more likely to apply for a job in which recruiters and materials were representative of an ethnically and racially diverse workplace, but some would even turn down a job that didn’t meet that standard.
Gen Z familiar with discrimination
Though Generation Z represents the youngest generation of adults, Gen Zers aren’t looking at the world through rose-colored glasses.
More than two-thirds of respondents who have had a job — 67% — said they have witnessed workplace discrimination either based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. Of those who have witnessed workplace discrimination, 44% said they have felt disciminated against themselves.
Some have avoided situations in which they believed they would be discriminated against. In fact, 1 in 3 respondents — 32% — who had applied for a job before said they had avoided an opportunity because they feared they would be discriminated against.
Generation Z isn’t the only group focused on diversity and inclusion in the workforce. An earlier survey found that only 66% of workers think their company is diverse, and nearly 80% said their companies had done little to improve diversity in the past year. Similarly, another survey found that most employees value a fair work environment, even over company perks.
The workplace isn’t the only setting in which young people have experienced prejudice or intolerance. In fact, 77% said they have witnessed discrimination in school based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity, with 51% having been disciminated against themselves.
Gender discrimination a major concern
Nearly 9 in 10 respondents — 88% — said they believed potential employers should ask job candidates about their preferred gender pronouns and use them, and 65% said they “strongly agree” employers should ask the question. If an employer refused to use a job applicant’s preferred pronouns, 25% of respondents said they would turn the job offer down and another 35% said they might decline the job offer.
However, many respondents would never have the opportunity, as only 18% of respondents said a recruiter or potential recruiter had ever asked them their preferred pronouns.
While older members of Generation Z were likely focused on the workplace, some younger ones were more interested in the diversity of the colleges they considered attending — or even applying to.
Nearly 3 in 10 Gen Z respondents — 27% — said they would “absolutely” be more likely to apply to a college if they met a recruiter who shared their ethnic or racial identity. Adding to that number, 34% said they “probably” would be more likely to apply if they met a recruiter who had the same ethnic or racial identity that they had.
Methodology: Tallo surveyed 5,063 high school and college students between Sept. 1-15, 2020. Tallo classified Gen Z as those born after 1996.