Hiring the leaders of tomorrow: What organizations need to know about Generation Z and how to attract top candidates

What organizations need to know about Generation Z and how to attract top candidates

Sixth annual CEOx1Day job shadowing program brings together top students and CEOs, providing insights into today's challenging business environment

Canada's competitive talent pool has employers looking for creative ways to recruit the next generation of top talent. For the sixth consecutive year, leading global executive search firm Odgers Berndtson is launching its CEOx1Day program, pairing top students from universities and colleges across Canada with 19 CEOs from some of the country's leading organizations.

Participating CEOs in this year's program include:

David Gerofsky, Chief Executive Officer, First Gulf
Howard Eng, President & CEO, Greater Toronto Airports Authority
Marsha Smith, President, IKEA Canada
Caroline Riseboro, President & CEO, Plan International Canada
Vince De Palma, President & CEO, Softchoice
Jan De Silva, President & CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade

Pierre Lapointe, President & CEO, ArcelorMittal Mining Canada G.P.
Daniel Lamarre, President & CEO, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group 
Nathalie Palladitcheff, President, Ivanhoe Cambridge 
Valerie Plante, Mayor, City of Montreal
Alexandre L'Heureux, President & CEO, WSP Global

Vancouver & Victoria
Laura Nashman, CEO, BC Pension Corporation
Shahrzad Rafati, Founder & CEO, BroadbandTV
Andrea Scott, Co-Founder & CEO, Skoah

Bryce Conrad, President & CEO, Hydro Ottawa
Eli Fathi, CEO, Mindbridge Analytics Inc.
Teresa Marques, President & CEO, Rideau Hall Foundation

Calgary & Edmonton
Mary Moran, President & CEO of Calgary Economic Development and CEO of Calgary 2026 Bid Corporation
Garth Warner, President & CEO, Servus Credit Union

Introducing Generation Z to the workforce

For the first time, participating organizations will see a demographic shift in the candidates chosen for the program away from millennials to post-millennials or Generation Z. This is because the majority of students currently enrolled in post-secondary programs and applying to entry-level positions with top organizations are now represented by Generation Z (ages 21 and under) – a demographic that is expected to make up 25 per cent of the workforce by 2020, according to Odgers Berndtson's CEOx1Day partner TalentEgg.

As organizations prepare for the demographic shift in the workplace, they will be challenged with updating recruitment strategies to address the unique skills and motivations of this generation. Together with its partner Hogan Assessments, Odgers Berndtson has compiled psychometric data on the leadership traits that lead individuals to achieve top-ranking positions – to help provide insights into core characteristics that organizations should seek when looking to attract top talent.

"Our research was able to identify a core set of leadership traits that were common to current CEOs and incoming Generation Z talent, demonstrating that the defining characteristics of a successful leader transcend generational differences," said Eric Beaudan, Global Head, Leadership Practice, Odgers Berndtson. "While companies are challenged to create work environments that appeal to different generations, they can rest assured that many of the key qualities that make a leader today are the same qualities that will define tomorrow's leaders, such as a broad mindset and passion for understanding the big picture, strong people skills and willingness to take risks."

Social impact rising above compensation as top employee motivation

Further to individual traits, research has proven that the motivations of Generation Z students differ from previous generations. In its Guide to Canadian Campus Recruitment, TalentEgg's survey of Generation Z students found that the demographic values a sense of community and social impact as the most important factors in the workplace. 

"The priorities of Generation Z are unlike those of its predecessors," said Mary Barroll, President, TalentEgg. "Individuals respond best to employers who care about more than the bottom line and provide employees with meaningful experiences dedicated to making a positive impact in the workplace and on society. This provides strong insights for employers when looking to attract top-quality candidates. Organizations should highlight their commitment to their core values, as reflected by their corporate social responsibility initiatives, and develop volunteer programs that build deeper relationships with young talent, ultimately encouraging them to return for positions upon finishing their education."

According to the survey, professional development and growth within an organization were also cited as top priorities for Generation Z students entering the workforce. Almost half (41 per cent) of respondents ranked growth opportunities and career development higher than a competitive salary, while close to one third (29 per cent) were planning to stay in a job for four to six years – a large increase from the average 18-month stay by millennial workers.

"The influx of Generation Z employees in the workforce will be positive for organizations across all industries," continued Beaudan. "This new talent is extremely social, entrepreneurial and globally minded. As students prepare for their career, we encourage them to maintain an open dialogue with industry professionals about the opportunities that will help them to succeed. The goal of our unique CEOx1Day program is to do just this. We are dedicated to identifying the leaders of tomorrow and to providing them with an in-depth look at the skills and traits required to lead a major organization in today's challenging business environment."

About CEOx1Day

Through the application process, students share their understanding and perceptions of what it takes to be an effective leader. To date, more than 800 finalist students, CEOs and organizations have participated in Odgers Berndtson's CEOx1Day initiative worldwide. Students are able to apply to participate in the program until midnight on October 26th at www.ceox1day.ca.

In addition to the support of TalentEgg and Hogan Assessments, the program continues to be successful on a year-over-year basis with Odgers Berndtson's other partners, McKinsey & Company and The Globe and Mail.

More information about the Generation Z survey conducted by TalentEgg can be found in The 2018 Guide to Canadian Campus Recruitment - Decoding Gen Z.


For further information:

Jacqueline Foley, Chief Marketing Officer, Odgers Berndtson

Andrea Herman, Kaiser Lachance Communications


This release was originally published by Odgers Berndtson on Canada News Wire on October 10th.