By Therese Umerlik | January 16, 2024
Generation Z is the newest emerging demographic in the workforce, presenting membership opportunities for associations seeking to expand their ranks and relevancy.
Members of the so-called “zoomer” generation were born between 1997 and 2012, with the oldest among them celebrating their 27th birthday in 2024.
By 2030, this generation is expected to comprise over 20% of the U.S. workforce, according to Deloitte, and 76% of Gen Zers are poised to join an industry association within the first five years of their career paths.
With this surge fast approaching, your association can prepare for these young professionals by pursuing opportunities that reflect their particular interests and help them customize their career journeys.
Education and Networking
Gen Z is projected to be the most well-educated generation compared with its predecessors, according to Pew Research. They are more likely to complete high school and enroll in a two-year or four-year higher education institution. This drive and ambition reinforces your association’s value in developing continuing education and certification options that are specific to particular industries. Because of Gen Z’s high literacy with technology, your association may want to invest in learning management software to customize the online experience of these young professionals.
Zoomers’ preference to interact online with educational materials was supported in a recent LinkedIn study. It found that Gen Z’s use of LinkedIn has grown in recent years. They spend “50% more hours watching online courses than learners of any other age.”
Your association should promote its online programs not only to nurture zoomers’ career growth but also to encourage networking. Because of Gen Z’s comfort online, your association should also hold virtual events such as gamified learning experiences and webinars where members can connect and converse.
Association publications with their articles from subject matter experts on industry insights, career advice, skill-building resources, and best practices also serve as another resource. Your professional organization can share practical and relevant content with zoomers who can then apply that information to their careers.
Associations should also seek to diversify the formats through which they share content to create a more enriching experience. Video tutorials, infographics, and podcasts can accommodate different preferences and learning styles.
Zoomers also stressed the importance of having a mentor to buttress their professional career aspirations. Over 80% believe in the value of mentorships, but only 38% benefit from the trusted advice of a mentor, according to Springtide Research.
Associations are keenly positioned to respond to this priority through their established mentorship programs. Your organization can match individuals with experienced professionals across multiple generations to help Gen Zers foster authentic connections and discover meaning and purpose at work, allowing them to thrive.
In turn, as they advance and grow in their mentorships, zoomers can share their new skills through case studies, presentations, or webinars. Doing so, your association can contribute to Gen Zers’ sense of accomplishment and peer recognition and encourage their engagement with fellow association members.
Around 90% of Gen Zers connect through social media, according to CivicScience. The top websites they frequent include YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook—online locations where associations should meet zoomers to promote their industries.
Having a robust and reliable social media presence with authentic industry-specific content can help your association gain the attention of Generation Z as they advance further into their careers.
In addition, associations can use social media to promote job opportunities in their industries. More than 75% of zoomers said they are looking for new jobs, according to Kinsey’s American Opportunity Survey. When young professionals see that an association shares open positions, this can present an opening for the association to demonstrate how its members benefit and grow.
To thrive in this evolving professional landscape, associations must engage with Gen Z by meeting them where they are. Your association should be open to various strategies while offering strong educational programs, networking opportunities, relevant content, authentic mentorships, and professional social media postings.
If your association needs help developing and implementing a membership strategy to reach Generation Z, the right partner can help. A collaborative team that knows associations is your best bet toward delivering this strategy in ways that resonate with this growing part of the U.S. workforce.