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Generation Z: Finding and retaining digital talents

April 8, 2022

On March 28, 2022, the City of Vienna Competence Team for the Digitalization of Communication of FHWien der WKW provided insights into Generation Z’s expectations of the working environment at a joint event with the Austrian Marketing Association (MCÖ).

The City of Vienna Competence Team for the Digitalization of Communication, headed by Georg Feldmann, has been working for three years on the changes in communication through “digital” and their influence on academic education as well as the working environment. On the topic of trends in the communication professions, the team, which has been in place since April 2019 and has now ended its work as part of the City of Vienna’s “Call-24” at the end of March, shed light on the demands of young Generation Z on futur employers at a joint event with the Austrian Marketing Association (MCÖ) and explained access and retention strategies that call for a rethink.

It all has to make sense!

Well-trained young professionals in the digital sector are known to be in high demand. But what does it take for them to choose a particular employer? In any case, the employer must match the mindset of young people: they want to change the world for the better. Whereas in the past the choice of job was often based on the motto “The main thing is lots of money,” Gen Z is looking for a meaningful activity. What makes a company attractive to young employees therefore consists of several facets. First, this generation wants the opportunity to express themselves freely on a regular basis. Second, a good work-life balance and flexibility in work (“new work”) are also in demand. Third, flat hierarchies and the opportunity for self-fulfillment are high on the agenda as well. Gen Z thinks and lives closely networked with their peer group. They want to work with people who think alike, who want to create great things together. Therefore, truly lived corporate values come to the fore. Employers must live their efforts authentically; they must be “good global citizens.” They must demonstrate their commitment to a wide range of social challenges such as sustainability and climate change. In this context, the corporate image both externally and internally in the sense of “proper” employer branding is playing an increasingly important role.

Virtues of classical leadership still in demand?

A rethink is also required when it comes to leadership models. For Gen Z, a partnership at eye level with the executive is mandatory. In times of remote management, the issue of control is also reaching its limits with home offices etc. This includes flat hierarchies, opportunities for development and maximum creative freedom. Classically dominant leadership styles are “out,” and the focus is increasingly on “lateral leadership”. This calls for managers with knowledge of human nature and sensitivity who can slip into a wide variety of roles depending on the situation: from motivator to mentor to coordinator, but please no inspector! A new approach in the sense of “leadership for all” is holocracy. Here, overall responsibility is distributed among all employees, everyone should and must make decisions, and thus becomes an entrepreneur themselves. However, the future will teach us whether this will work in the long term!


Looking for digital talents? Our graduates in Communication Management and Marketing & Sales Management are ready for a job in the digital media and communications world. Convince yourselves of our students’ know-how at the Digital Impact Night on May 16, 2022. More Information about the event here.

By the way, at our Career Center you can publish job ads for free or create a company profile. For internship offers in communication, marketing or sales please contact Martina Zöbl (!