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How food and drink manufacturers can engage Gen Z

By Natalie Smith

- Last updated on GMT

Are you using the right approach when it comes to Gen Z? Credit: Getty/marchmeena29
Are you using the right approach when it comes to Gen Z? Credit: Getty/marchmeena29

Related tags Gen Z Recruitment Employment

Natalie Smith, marketing & communications manager for MorePeople offers tips and tricks for enticing and keeping Gen Zs on board.

At MorePeople, we’re advocates for our sectors and are passionate about getting the next generation excited about the opportunities available​. We attend university talks, careers fairs and sponsor and support a wide array of networks and society’s working together to shout about working in food.

There’s a lot of hype around ‘Gen Z’ (those born between 1997 & 2012), they are the first generation that grew up with technology, social media and the internet – they are the ‘digital natives’, if you will.

They are often portrayed as the most socially and environmentally conscious generation, but how does this affect recruitment strategies for attracting, and more importantly, keeping Gen Z candidates?

Show Gen Z what to expect through social media

As we know, the food industry is full of fascinating roles that aren’t widely known and showcasing this to Gen Z through social channels with the art of storytelling is a great way to get the industry, or your business, seen. Invest in recruitment campaigns to showcase life at your company, the typical ‘day in a life of’​ for certain roles you’re recruiting for, for example.

Employer retention: Gen Z edition

Once you’ve got them on board, how do you keep your Gen Z recruit happy?

According to Mintel’s Gen Z market report, “45% of Gen Z are prioritising taking care of their mental wellbeing over the next year.”

So show appreciation and respect, publicly recognise them for their hard work. Make sure they know how your company can support them and how they can access it, and check in with them regularly!

Make a focus of this on your recruitment campaigns, show how they will be supported in their roles to be successful and what benefits you offer – do you offer flexible or hybrid working; gym memberships; employee wellbeing services?

The report also identifies that as a result of inflationary environment​ and the rise in the cost-of-living Gen Z consumers are adopting more cautious mindsets.

In fact, Mintel states that 42% of Gen Zs expect to cut back on luxuries and non-essential products due to rising prices.

With this in mind, make sure career progression paths are clear. Communicate exactly how employees can reach the next level or gain a promotion. Ensure you’re providing proper and valuable training so they feel valued and can grow within their roles.

Things to consider for onboarding

Not forgetting, a lot of this generation’s later education was disrupted by the pandemic, and many feel their education has not prepared them to enter the workforce. Onboarding should include the following:

  • Go beyond systems and culture training – educate Gen Z on building their personal brand, on the importance of networking and teach them to track their progress
  • Educate on mindset – feelings of anxiousness and imposter syndrome can drastically hold someone back
  • Build relatability – Gen Z expect communication in a way that speaks to them, ensure they can connect with colleagues across the business.

Liked this? Why not read Food Manufacture's recent data dashboard on skills and labour shortages​ in food and drink?

Did you know that last week was #foodscitechweek - an online event which aims to:

  1. To showcase the benefits of UK Food Science and Technology to the general public
  2. Highlight the range of exciting career opportunities in the food sector for young people looking to start their career journey
  3. Give expert insight into food sector careers, with the help of experts and specialists.

This landmark event was launched by IFST and will take place every 5-12 June to showcase the UK's thriving food science and technology landscape. If you missed this one, make sure to mark it in your calendar and get involved next time! All you have to do is post a short video reflecting in your career and giving advice with the above hashtag. 

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