Employer branding for GenZ and Millennials

Around 45.5 million people are employed in Germany (Destatis). The labour market is still dominated by Baby Boomers (born 1956-1965), GenX (1966-1980) and Millennials (also called GenY, 1981-1995). Due to demographic developments, however, the baby boomers will retire within the next decade and increase the shortage of skilled workers. The majority of the workforce will then be recruited from the Millennials and the GenZ (born between 1996 and 2009). Employers should therefore consider the needs of these two generations in their employer branding strategy in order to be perceived as attractive in the long term. Here we tell you which values are particularly well received in employer branding.

The GenZ makes up about 13.9 percent of the population in Germany (11.6 million), the Millennials about 19 percent (15.9 million). Since the GenZ is not as high-birth-rate as the cohorts before it and is freshly entering the labour market, it is a particularly interesting and hotly contested target group for employers. But Millennials are also a worthwhile target for recruiting, as this generation makes up around one fifth of Germans and has a significant impact on society and the world of work. What are the characteristics of both generations?

Fact check: Millennials

Millennials are between 28 and 42 years old and on the verge of becoming the largest labour group in the German labour market. According to the microcensus, they comprise almost 40% of the working population. They have consciously experienced the further development of the internet, computers and mobile devices and, as "digital natives", are the first generation ever to have grown up with digital information technologies. The resulting networking makes the world grow together for them. Their teenage or childhood years were around the turn of the millennium, which is why they are often called Millennials. Since they grew up in a time characterised by constant change and increasing complexity, they are said to be in a permanent search for meaning, which is reflected in the alternative term Generation Y (= why). Millennials are no strangers to crises. They were shaken by the fall of the World Trade Center, experienced the collapse of the Soviet Union, climate crisis, terrorism, oil and energy crisis, Fukushima, financial crisis, pension reform, Hartz IV - all these led to fundamental social upheavals and changes. Millennials became aware that prosperity despite work could no longer be guaranteed at the level it was for their parents' generation. This in turn affected the work ethic.

Millennials' expectations of employers

Millennials have a comparatively high level of education and are open to other cultures. They have a higher awareness of languages, discrimination and hierarchies compared to previous generations and a heightened awareness of environmental and animal welfare.

Millennials expect from their employer:

  • Security
  • A meaningful job
  • A say and a say in shaping the company
  • Supervisors at eye level and flat hierarchies
  • Opportunities for further training and promotion
  • Mental health awareness
  • Work-life balance
  • Flexibility in terms of working hours and location
  • Collegial working atmosphere, appreciation and empathy
  • Commitment to climate protection and sustainability
  • Inclusion and diversity

For Millennials, family and private life are important. However, they also strive for self-fulfilment at work. Therefore, they are willing to merge work and private life (work-life blend). However, this desire often clashes with the old familiar full-time permanent job. Employers who want to appeal to Millennials should offer sensible home office arrangements, part-time models and flexible working hours. In this way, they support millennials in organising their working lives in a self-determined way in order to achieve the best results.

Fact check: GenZ

Members of Generation Z are between 14 and 29 years old. According to Focus online, they will be responsible for 30 percent of Germany's gross income in a few years. They already generate 4 percent of all German spending. Millennials may be called "digital natives", but GenZ is considered "permanently online". The young generation, also called the "Zoome" or "iGeneration", moves quite naturally in the digital world. They see it as an extension of reality and not only inform themselves there, but also entertain and maintain social contacts in this way. Self-realisation and the expression of individual personality are important for the GenZ, which is also reflected in the use of social media channels. Salary and career are not as crucial as freedom and fun in life - perhaps also because this generation felt the full brunt of the Corona restrictions. Accordingly, the future professionals do not think much of overtime. They want to strictly separate work and leisure (work-life cut).

What the GenZ expect from their employer

The GenZ is flexible and more willing to change jobs than the generations before them. Because of the shortage of skilled workers, 65 percent are not worried about the future. They know that they are in demand in the world of work and thus have the longer leverage. If the new workers are dissatisfied with their range of work, the professional working conditions or the salary, they quit, even without a new job in sight. They are firmly convinced that they can quickly find another job.

From their employer, the GenZ expects:

  • A good employer image
  • A good working atmosphere and fun at work
  • No overtime - it is a no-go, as is too much pressure to perform.
  • Flexible working arrangements: Four-day week with full pay compensation, home office, mobile working, workation option (combination of work and leave)
  • Possibility of compensation or option of sabbaticals
  • Varied, meaningful work
  • Appropriate remuneration
  • Supervisors as career coaches who support further development
  • Communication at eye level


Consequences for employer branding

A successful employer branding strategy takes into account the needs and values of Millennials and GenZ alike. While there are some differences, there are also many similarities. What is clear is that the two youngest generations on the labour market are not afraid to keep their career options open and to change employers if their expectations are not met. Therefore, your employer brand should constantly evolve in order to remain contemporary.

Our top 10 recommendations for your employer branding strategy:

  • Authenticity and honesty have top priority. A nice facade can perhaps be maintained during recruiting, but at the latest during onboarding and within the first 90 days, it becomes clear what the company is really like. If the image conveyed does not match the reality experienced, you not only lose the new talents, but also your credibility. Because both Millennials and GenZ inform themselves about employers and pass on their experiences on rating portals and among acquaintances.
  • Be visible as an employer. Use your own career website as a platform to present your EVP and your corporate culture. Use relevant social media channels according to your employer branding strategy and ensure that the image conveyed is consistent across all channels. While Millennials (LinkedIn, Xing, Facebook, Twitter) and GenZ (Instagram, YouTube, TikTok) may focus on different social media platforms, both generations can no longer do without social media.
  • Use testimonials and corporate influencers who fill your company's everyday life and your job descriptions with life. This will make you more tangible as an employer and give you greater reach and awareness. Learn more about personal branding as part of your employer branding strategy on LinkedIn.
  • A pleasant working atmosphere is important to both generations. Check the atmosphere in your company through regular employee surveys. This will help you to identify problems at an early stage and take appropriate action.
  • For both Millennials and GenZ, work is not the first priority in their lives. Their acceptance of overtime is significantly lower than that of previous generations. A positive work-life balance is crucial. However, the interpretation differs. While around 70 percent of Millennials work full-time, only 35 percent of GenZ do, according to Statista. The introduction of the 4-day week is therefore an exciting topic as well as the upgrading of part-time positions or the possibility of sabbaticals.
  • Flexible working has become a matter of course for both generations. Private appointments (doctor, visits to the authorities, tradesmen, deliveries, etc.) must be compatible with work and not cost a day's holiday every time. While Millennials also like to be in the office in the meantime and accept presence days, the GenZ would not accept a job where a home office is not possible and digital meetings (except for professions that do not work without presence).
  • Dissatisfaction with the manager is a common reason for resignations. Supervisors should therefore receive regular training and exemplify the spirit of their corporate culture themselves. Millennials expect supervisors with good leadership qualities (clear requirements) and continuous feedback on their work. They want to work independently in a team and appreciate having a say. The GenZ sees their superiors more as career coaches who support them in their further development. Both generations do not think much of traditional corporate hierarchies.
  • Further training and development are equally relevant for Millennials and the GenZ. How about appropriate employee programmes? While Millennials tend to be more ambitious and want to realise themselves in their work, the GenZ appreciates varied tasks that do not bore them. In both cases, your talents should feel that they are being promoted in your company.
  • Benefits say a lot about you as an employer. Both Millennials and GenZ can score points with programmes for preventive health and general well-being. The field is wide and ranges from mental health awareness with counselling offers, to happiness managers, internal sports programmes and JobRad offers.
  • The image of the employer is relevant for both generations. Diversity and inclusion as well as, increasingly, the idea of sustainability and social commitment are good prerequisites for recruiting Millennials and GenZ.


As a communications agency with many years of experience in employer branding, we are happy to support you in the future-oriented alignment of your employer branding strategy. We offer full service from a single source, from the analysis of the current state, the consideration of the competitive market, to the strategy development and implementation of internal as well as external employer branding measures.

Your contact:

Katrin Jetter
Senior Consultant
0711/ 925388-10
[email protected]

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