Reaching Gen Z - Attracting The Future Workforce To Meaningful Careers In Healthcare

Gen Z members of the Just R team discuss what makes this generation tick, and how the NHS can reach and attract them to meaningful careers in healthcare

Gen Z

By 2025, Gen Z will make up almost a third of the workforce, and never has a generation felt so torn about which path they want to follow in the world of work. They don’t just want a ‘job’, they want meaningful careers. But with the availability of so much choice – how do they choose?

Here are our thoughts on what it means to be part of Gen Z and how the NHS can reach and speak to her generation in a way which will be heard, ensuring health careers are in the picture when this generation are making their all important career decisions.

As part of Gen Z (people born between 1996 and 2012), I have always been told that the world is full of opportunities.

Social media delivers infinite pools of information to our fingertips, where we can see into the lives of millions of people around the world. We know who they are, what they do and where they go, sparking ideas of a million and one different things we could do. 

The tricky part… having such a saturation of choice. 

Finding the thing we love the most, the thing that really ‘speak to us’, that’s the challenge. When considering a career, how do we find something we can see ourselves doing for years to come?

Traditionally, career fulfilment was solely based around salary and title; for Gen Z, it is ways in which a career can enrich the individual both professionally and personally, through growth opportunities, flexibility and a feeling of purpose.

This is where I believe the NHS is missing a trick, proven by recent figures released by UCAS showing that the number of students applying for nursing qualifications for 2023/24 has dropped 16% across England and Scotland, 20% in Northern Ireland and by a staggering 27% in Wales.

Gen Z care about meaningful work, a learning culture and supportive leadership. There are few careers with more purpose than working in healthcare: bettering and saving the lives of literally thousands of people. 

By creating and cultivating a strong Employer Brand and utilising social channels to promote the NHS as the employer of choice is the solution to attracting Gen Z towards fulfilling careers in the NHS.

Currently, the NHS just isn’t reaching Gen Z in the way in which it could, and should.

So, what can be done?

Create a strong, values-based Employer Brand which communicates and cultivates traits like supportive leadership and a learning culture, highlighting the incredible work NHS staff do and the wealth of career opportunities and benefits available within the system. 

Greater Manchester Mental Health Gen Z

Cornwall Proud to Care Gen Z

By implementing a values-based, digital first recruitment approach, Trusts would be able to build a team whose values, passions and interests align; increasing cohesion and healthy working environments, thus impacting retention. 

By inspiring local communities, reaching 70% of the passive market that is untouched by traditional NHS recruitment methods, and by attracting candidates with values at the forefront, the NHS can attract a team of people who find passion in their work and want to stay: future-proofing the workforce in healthcare. 

Leading with values can pique the interest of passive candidates to explore career paths they may never have known were available to them, driving more people to choose a career in healthcare is the solution.

That is the Just R solution, and we have spent years perfecting it.

We support Trusts that are dedicated to making the future of working in healthcare brighter, eradicating over-reliance on temporary agency staffing and building an extensive workforce pipeline of committed, enthusiastic individuals.

Ensuring a strong and sustainable workforce will only reinforce the attractiveness of working in healthcare to candidates and ensure the NHS is the employer of choice long into the future.

There is a lot of damning information in the media and likely in your mind about ‘why’ there are issues with staffing shortages in the NHS, but we have the ‘how’ to solve this.

One of the most important steps is recognising the importance of Gen Z as the workforce of the future, understanding how to appeal to these candidates and learning how best to communicate the opportunities on offer.

Key Points

→ Gen Z are the future workforce:

      • To attract these candidates, we must ensure we are understanding their needs and communicating opportunities where they are going to see it.


→ Gen Z care about meaningful work, a learning culture and supportive leadership:

      • The NHS can easily shape their strategies around reaching and attracting the younger generation.


→ Values-based strategy:

      • By focusing on values, you stand out against the hundreds of opportunities on offer today to the younger generation.


→ Inspire communities:

      • Key to solving the workforce crisis is making the NHS an attractive employer once again, standing out from the competition, and driving values aligned candidates to your door.


→ Recruit sustainably:

      • Whilst Gen Z values meaningful work, values aligned colleagues and supportive leadership is just as important. Building permanent teams of people who share values and beliefs will impact the NHS for years to come.


→ Employer Brand:

      • Developing and cultivating individual Employer Brands will set NHS Trusts and healthcare organisations apart from the competition.
Interested to find out how we could support you?
Chat With Us