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Better Job Descriptions and Pay Transparency: Top Priorities for Gen Z Identified in New Symplicity Student Survey

Symplicity®, the globally trusted leader in student success in higher education and recruiting, is pleased to release its 2023 State of Early Talent Recruiting Report. Surveying over 3,700 students currently enrolled in four-year colleges and universities across the United States in March 2023, the report highlights and emphasizes many of the consistent trends among Gen Z and how they view work, employers, recruiting, and how they work with their career services offices.

Only 46% of students actually feel confident in finding a job upon graduation, while 61% are actually confident that they are graduating with the skills they need for a career. There are a variety of factors Symplicity’s survey identified that lead Gen Z students to this sentiment.

When applying for jobs, Gen Z is seeking more realistic expectations and more specifics in job descriptions. The survey found that 59% of students were concerned that they did not have the right qualifications for the types of jobs they wanted when starting the job search process, and that too many unrealistic requirements would discourage 65% of students from applying.

This sentiment was particularly truer for women, with 63% of women vs. 52% of men being concerned about their qualifications when searching for jobs. The survey results suggest that employers should consider revising their job descriptions to make them more realistic and transparent.

Symplicity’s 2023 survey also asked students about pay transparency. Gen Z values transparency across multiple areas of the job application process, particularly around salary and job responsibilities. Out of nine categories, pay transparency and equity was the most important diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) effort that students look for when evaluating a company’s DEI efforts, with 87% stating it is important or very important when evaluating a company’s DEI efforts.

When it comes to salary range specifically, Symplicity’s survey found that 53% of students said that they would be discouraged from applying to a job if there was no specific salary range in the job description, with 36% saying they might apply. This follows recent trends in states like California and New York which require employers based in the state to post a salary range in their job descriptions. In addition, Gen Z is critical of companies who are paying lip service and are more skeptical of a company’s DEI efforts. In short, Gen Z wants companies to “walk the walk.”

Finally, hybrid or remote work is becoming less important to Gen Z, with 42% of students saying that a hybrid or fully remote work option was very important or important to them when searching for employment. This is a decline from the 75% of students surveyed by Symplicity last year that identified a remote/hybrid option as important to them. Although remote work heightened in popularity during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now less of a priority and incoming new hires are vouching for more in-person time to improve their sense of comradery with coworkers and superiors. Our findings suggest Gen Z is hungry for human interaction. As newcomers, early talent recruits want to be able to establish their own networks and create spaces in which fruitful mentorships can develop.

Symplicity’s report emphasizes that Gen Z students are looking for more realistic job descriptions, salary transparency, and value employers who demonstrate a genuine commitment to DEI, while also wanting more opportunity for face-to-face interactions to establish their own network.