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How can employers attract, recruit and retain Black Gen Z talent in 2023


Following the release of the #ThisIsBlackGenZ report, which surveyed and interviewed Black Gen Z to reveal their real-life experiences in the UK workplace, the team at TapIn have put together ‘11 Recommendations for Employers to Attract, Recruit, and Retain Black Gen Z talent in 2023’.

The tips come after the annual report has revealed:

  • Code-switching is a reality for many Black Gen Z, with 86% of African Heritage Gen Z professionals changing their names on job applications to enhance the possibility of recruitment success
  • Nearly half (47%) of Black Gen Z, three in five (63%) of LGBTQ Gen Z, and the majority (91%) of transgender Gen Z feel that they are unable to be themselves in the workplace
  • Fully remote working is Gen Z’s least favourite way of working

The main aim of the annual release of the report is not only to highlight these issues but to relay a digestible, yet comprehensive call to action to those who can make a real change within organisations.

Recommendations for employers to attract and retain Black Gen Z talent

Split into three categories; to attract, to recruit, to retain – the tips share easy to implement ways UK businesses can connect with, support and develop Black Gen Z talent.

To attract black Gen Z talent

Bring your values to life in your organisation, before you shout about them. Gen Z are in tune to inauthentic DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) efforts. So take time to review whether your values are a reality throughout the employee life-cycle. If they are not, work with DEIB professionals either internally or externally to identify how these can be brought to life, so employees are not sold a false dream about your culture.

Build a DEIB-specific, multi-channel communications strategy to complement your existing strategy. Share initiatives, stories and progress on DEIB efforts in your organisation. Black Gen Z values diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging over all other values, and they’ll only know about your commitment if you talk about it. Similarly, be transparent about what you haven’t done yet — Gen Z appreciates this honesty.

Prioritise valuable in-person interactions for employees. Whilst Gen Z exists in a digital ecosystem, they still value the importance of in-person interactions for their development and to expand their experience. Fully remote working is their least favourite way to work, so ensure that there are in-person opportunities for them to network, collaborate, and grow.

Re-think your Talent Attraction strategy to improve representation at all levels – not just entry level. Whether it be through the design of your job advertising, the content you share, or influencers and organisations you collaborate with. We know this takes time, but Gen Z candidates will then be able to see that there is space for them to also thrive throughout all levels of your company.

Build partnerships and collaborations with a diverse range of organisations. Gen Z pays attention to where you place your time, attention and investments. By partnering with a diverse range of organisations, you are more likely to build a more holistically inclusive environment. This could be by broadening your horizons to collaborate with influencers at virtual or live events to increase your reach, or building content partnerships so that your name is in places that are already familiar to Gen Z.

To recruit

Pull apart your organisation’s application process. Conduct research to identify what barriers exist at each step of your recruitment process for different identity groups. Work with internal and external stakeholders to challenge the status quo in addressing these barriers. Lastly, take the time to outline the recruitment process in a way that is accessible for applicants. Applicants are more likely to apply if they know what they will be embarking upon.

Embed accessibility into all your ways of working – from the recruitment process, to the day-to-day. There are various adjustments you can make to how information is shared and communicated which make a world of difference for neurodivergent applications and colleagues. Instead of offering accommodations generally, build an understanding of what specific accommodations would look like for your organisation and enact these.

To retain

Build systems of mentorship and sponsorship into your employee lifecycle. Having a senior sponsor in the organisation is one way to build more equitable progression routes. When building mentorship, be intentional about who the mentors are. If you do not currently have a sufficiently diverse workforce who can act as mentors, work with organisations that do, such as Black professional networks.

Develop robust and restorative reporting systems for harassment and discrimination. Your commitment to building an inclusive workforce is only as robust as your response to exclusionary behaviours. Ensure your reporting systems are centring the well-being of the individuals affected. Work with your Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), existing communities and HR to review what processes are in place for discriminatory behaviour.

Invest in, build and grow Employee Resource Groups to foster belonging. Gen Z are eager to join these, so ensure their visions, values and brands appeal to a Gen Z audience. Be aware of the intersections individuals occupy, and provide support to ensure that the ERGs themselves are inclusive of all facets of the community they aim to serve.

Focus on anti-discrimination training, allyship and inclusive leadership training, as opposed to unconscious bias training. Unconscious bias training is unlikely to directly uproot systems of inequality. Instead, build a workforce of brave leaders who are active allies and oppose discrimination through multi-channel educational programmes.

About TapIn

TapIn is a creative social agency that reshapes how employers understand and engage diverse talent. They specialise in developing talent attraction strategies which aid their clients in recruiting diverse talent. TapIn offers a range of services covering various aspects of DEIB research, social media content production and influencer marketing. The company is home to a talented team of diverse researchers, creative strategists, content creators, DEIB experts and influencers in the industry.

TapIn surveyed 2,300 Black Gen Z students and employees between March and July 2023, to understand, ‘What values drive Black Gen Z in the world of work?’, ‘How do Black Gen Z navigate the recruitment journey?’ and ‘How can belonging be cultivated for Black Gen Z?’.

You might also enjoy reading about a diversity and inclusion training programme launched by My Cultural Experience.