It Turns Out That Company Prestige Matters the Least to Entry-Level Candidates In Their Job Search
Don't rely on your well-known name to attract the attention of Gen Z candidates.
Want a cheat sheet to Generation Z? Download our infographic on "5 Fast Facts Every Employer Should Know About Generation Z" here.
If you’re hoping your company’s well-known name will attract the best and brightest entry-level candidates, we hate to be the bearer of bad news – data collected by RippleMatch shows that company prestige matters the least to Gen Z when searching for a job. While Gen Z’ers have ranked the most prestigious internships in lists like this, company prestige definitely won’t be a determining factor as this generation decides on their first jobs.
Data collected through our candidate sign-up process reveals how little company prestige matters to the newest generation of entry-level candidates. Upon signing up for RippleMatch, students are asked to rank the importance of factors like professional development, social impact, community and work/life balance on a scale from 1-5, with 1 being “Not at all Important” and 5 being “Extremely Important.” Company prestige barely cracks “Somewhat Important,” and is overtaken by everything from professional development to compensation.
Gen Z’s lack of enthusiasm over “brand name” companies shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been reading up on this generation for the past few years. As noted by Business Insider, with the exception of streetwear brands like Supreme and Adidas, Gen Z is less loyal to big-name consumer brands than their millennial predecessors. A report by Ernst & Young found that only 30 percent of Gen Z consumers saw loyalty programs as a good thing, and another study by Lab42 found that loyalty programs were much less likely to influence the purchasing decisions of Gen Z compared to millennials. Fast Company also looked at characteristics of “brand-wary” Gen Z, finding that they’re skeptical of traditional advertising and bigger brands, preferring to research and form their own conclusions on a brand before aligning with (or rejecting) a specific brand. Being a brand-name company doesn’t doom your chances with Gen Z. But this generation has access to thousands of brands and the ability to research the best options at their fingertips, forcing consumer brands to work extra hard to grab the attention of Gen Z and show why their products or services are worth using.
While there’s a big difference between choosing where to shop and where to work, our data suggests that Gen Z’s lack of enthusiasm for brand names extends into their professional lives. In addition to being known for their frugal and pragmatic nature, Gen Z is known to be an individualistic generation. They value products, services, or experiences that can enhance their own identity rather than defining it. Their overwhelming preference for professional development – and not company prestige – shows that they want career opportunities that can help them grow as individuals, rather than having their credibility defined by listing a company name on their resume.
So to the big-name companies hoping to steal the show at campus career fairs: proceed with caution. Name recognition might bring some Gen Z’ers to your booth, but it’s the opportunities for professional development and great company culture that will get them excited about potentially working with you.
Want more information on what will attract Generation Z to your company? Download our comprehensive report on 'What Gen Z Wants at Work' below.