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How Companies Can Engage Gen-Z Employees

In our latest BoF Careers white paper, we break down how fashion companies can better attract, engage and retain Gen-Z talent.
Group of Gen-Z employees.
Group of Gen-Z employees. Getty Images.
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Generation Z, born approximately between 1997 and 2012, account for around 20 percent of the global population and more than 40 percent of fashion’s customer base. Their values and beliefs are shaping modern consumer behaviour, resulting in greater demand for more sustainable products and transparency around operations, growing expectations that brands reflect the values of their customers and take stances on social movements, as well as an increasing expectation that brands deliver experiences as successfully online as they do offline.

As a result, understanding and authentically representing the expectations of younger consumers is crucial to drive business performance — prompting fashion companies to focus on hiring emerging talent.

In our fifth white paper, Crafting an Emerging Talent Strategy, BoF spoke to six global experts and academics to learn how fashion companies can better attract, engage and leverage Gen-Z talent — a cohort increasingly critical to success.

“If you want to access that segment of a consumer population, you’ve got to understand it. The best way to understand it is to have them represented in your organisation, and then be willing to listen to that segment when they are telling you what they want,” says Lance LaVergne, chief diversity officer and SVP of global talent acquisition and associate experience at Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein-owner PVH.

However, attracting and leveraging young talent has become more challenging due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which prompted global hiring freezes and disrupted education systems. In the US, Pew Research Centre found those aged between 18 and 29 were the most affected age group during the pandemic for job losses (32 percent) and pay cuts (45 percent).

BoF Careers is in a unique position to provide fashion employers with constructive guidance and industry-specific advice with unique access to global experts and industry leaders. In this white paper, we share insights from the following contributing academics and industry experts:

Alfred Chang, Co-CEO of PacSun

Chang joined LA-based PacSun in 2006 in the men’s merchandising team, working his way up to chief brand officer in 2017, president a year later before he was named co-CEO in 2021. PacSun counts 80 percent of its corporate workforce as under the age of 30. A survey of 10,000 Gen-Z consumers by Piper Jaffray in 2021 saw PacSun rank third most popular clothing brand and shopping website in the US.

Thomas Delattre, Professor of Consumer Behaviour at IFM

Delattre is a professor of consumer behaviour at the Institut Français de la Mode, the Paris-based fashion school that merged with École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne in 2019. Delattre is also the director of entrepreneurship programmes, IFM Entrepreneurs and IFM Labels, which helps IFM creative graduates make their first foray into working in the industry.

Jennifer Jordan PhD, Professor of Leadership and Organisational Behaviour at IMD

Jordan’s work has appeared in the likes of Harvard Business Review, Business Ethics Quarterly, Psychological Science, and Journal of Applied Social Psychology. She received her doctoral degree and two masters degrees from Yale University.

Lance Lavergne, Chief Diversity Officer and SVP of Global Talent Acquisition and Associate Experience at PVH

LaVergne joined Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein-owner PVH as chief diversity officer last year from financial services firm Wells Fargo. Previously, LaVergne worked in recruitment and diversity at McKinsey & Co. and Goldman Sachs.

Tuhina Mitra, Graduate Futures Consultant at London College of Fashion

With a background in fashion recruitment, Mitra conducts market and industry research, and manages industry relations across fashion, media and creative industry for UAL’s London College of Fashion.

Rani Patel Williams, Business Partner at Livity and Co- Founder of Brand Share the Mic

Patel Williams is a business partner at London-based agency Livity, which connects brands including Nike, Depop, Netflix and Google with the next generation of creatives, activists, entrepreneurs and thought leaders. She also co-founded Brand Share the Mic and is the founder and creative director for non-gendered accessories brand FanGirl, inspired by Black and LGTBQ+ club culture.

Click here to download Crafting an Emerging Talent Strategy

Related Articles:

BoF Careers White Paper: The Truth About Gen-Z and Millennial Fashion Employees

BoF Careers White Paper: How to Create More Inclusive Recruitment Processes

BoF Case Study: Gen-Z Shopping: Separating Myth from Reality

The BoF Podcast: Understanding Gen-Z

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