Generation Z makes up a significant part of the workforce, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is greatly impacting their young lives in more ways than one. Gen Z is a group made up of individuals born between 1997 and 2012, and about one third of them are at the start of their careers. 

Corporate social responsibility is a top priority for many corporations, and the decisions of business owners have drastically changed how consumers and employees interact with their favorite brands. This post will dive into different ways that Gen Z has been affected by corporations’ CSR initiatives and how they are also involved in them.

Gen Z purchasing power 

Consumers nowadays are more conscious of where they spend their dollars, and Gen Z is no different. This generation has huge purchase power potential, which will be seen in the coming years.

Gen Z uses their spending power as an extension of their voices. Like most consumers, they prefer to shop with brands whose values align with their own. An article by Business North Carolina states that Gen Z is more likely than earlier generations to make buying decisions “based upon the perceived integrity or responsibility of companies.”

Having over $29 billion in purchase power, according to Workest by Zenefits, it would be in a company’s best interest to take some time to learn about this generation’s approach to spending. 

What issues does this group care about?

What are their current spending habits?

How can CSR efforts be improved to better reach this demographic?

Once these questions are answered, half of the battle is already won. 

The more companies win over Gen Z consumers with important CSR matters, the more they will be willing to purchase (and re-purchase) from the company. Does your company’s CSR approach need some fine tuning?

Social media and CSR 

Being the generation that was born into social media, you can bet your bottom dollar that Gen Z knows when companies are showing up as their authentic selves on platforms like Instagram and Tiktok.

Gen Z lives in an “increasingly hyper-connected world through social media,” according to a recent article by The Drum. The majority of this group has reached consumer age, and as a result, they are spending more time online. Consequently, the best way that a corporation can reach this young generation would be using the internet.  

Corporations who use social media to help spread awareness about their CSR campaigns will be head and shoulders above the companies who do not use such methods. However, how these companies show up matters. If a company’s brand advocates for one thing, but their social media posts show another, Gen Z will spot the misalignment and quickly withdraw support.

When done correctly, social media can be very beneficial for your business. If your company is looking to win over Gen Z, take a look at your social media marketing strategy and determine if your brand’s CSR efforts are in alignment with the community and its young consumers.

DEI initiatives in the workplace  

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a significant aspect of corporate social responsibility, and Gen Z is paying attention to the initiatives their employers and favorite brands are implementing inside and outside of the workplace. 

In a 2021 study by Quantilope, it was deduced that 60% of consumers “find the topic of diversity and inclusion to be important.” It’s important that corporations, now more than ever,  implement CSR initiatives that positively impact the community and the consumers who buy from them. 

Gen Z gets hit with various forms of DEI initiatives, and a significant portion of that comes from streaming platforms, like Netflix and Hulu. The Quantilope study stated that 80% of this younger generation would be interested in seeing more diverse content showing up on their screens from such platforms, “compared to just 55% of Gen X and 36% of boomers.”

Although it’s a good start for corporations to begin showcasing their commitment to DEI in their CSR approach, it’s not enough to win over the socially-conscious Generation Z. 53% of this group would also like to see more diversity within the company itself, and specifically, in senior leadership roles.

There are numerous ways in which companies can improve their DEI efforts, such as the following: 

  • Offering more spaces within workplaces for open DEI conversations 
  • Aligning internal DEI strategies with external community initiatives
  • Ensuring all employees have equal access to workplace opportunities

As Gen Z becomes more involved in the workforce and consumer buying culture, corporations will have to step up their DEI game in order to attract and retain this cognizant generation. 

CSR is important to GEN Z

One thing is very apparent about Gen Z — they care about CSR. Corporate social responsibility directly impacts their spending habits, social media use, and the way they respond to DEI in the workplace. 

We predict that CSR will continue to grow as more generations like Gen Z make it a non-negotiable for the brands they interact with. If your company is looking to make a positive impact in your community and attract this younger demographic, our Investing in Impact Whitepaper is a great start.