Preparing for the Generational Shift: How Associations Can Cater to the Growing Gen Z Workforce

By Kim Davies • February 28, 2024

The impending generational shift in the workforce, with Gen Z poised to surpass Baby Boomers in early 2024, according to a report from Glassdoor Economic Research, signals a significant transition that associations must acknowledge and prepare for. As the preferences, values, and expectations of the workforce evolve, associations play a vital role in ensuring they cater to the needs of this burgeoning demographic. With a focus on career centers and member engagement, associations have a prime opportunity to adapt their strategies to effectively serve the growing Gen Z audience. 

Understanding the Gen Z Workforce: 

Born into a digital era, Gen Z brings a unique set of characteristics and priorities to the workplace. Associations must recognize that this generation values diversity, inclusivity, and social responsibility. Gen Z also seeks meaningful work, opportunities for advancement, and a healthy work-life balance. By understanding these preferences, associations can tailor their offerings to attract and retain Gen Z members. 

Enhancing Career Centers: 

Career centers are a crucial resource for associations to support members in their professional development journey. To effectively cater to Gen Z, associations should focus on providing relevant and accessible career resources. This includes offering career counseling services, job boards, skill-building workshops, and networking opportunities tailored to the needs and preferences of Gen Z professionals. 

Embracing Digital Engagement: 

Gen Z is the most digitally native generation, with a strong preference for digital communication and engagement. Associations should leverage technology to enhance member engagement and deliver value-added services. This may involve developing mobile-friendly platforms, utilizing social media channels for outreach, and offering virtual events and webinars. By meeting Gen Z members where they are digitally, associations can foster stronger connections and increase participation. 

Personalization and Customization: 

Gen Z values personalized experiences and expects tailored content and services. Associations can leverage data analytics and member feedback to personalize communications, resources, and offerings. By understanding the unique interests and needs of Gen Z members, associations can deliver targeted content and recommendations that resonate with this audience. 

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion: 

Associations must prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives to create welcoming and inclusive environments for Gen Z professionals. This involves promoting diverse representation in leadership positions, fostering cultural competence, and providing resources and support for underrepresented groups. By championing diversity and inclusion, associations can attract and retain Gen Z members who value organizations that align with their values. 

Emphasizing Continuous Learning: 

Gen Z is committed to continuous learning and skill development. Associations can play a central role in supporting lifelong learning by offering educational resources, certification programs, and professional development opportunities. By investing in the ongoing growth and development of Gen Z members, associations can position themselves as indispensable partners in their career journey. 


The rise of Gen Z in the workforce presents both opportunities and challenges for associations. By understanding the unique characteristics and preferences of this generation, associations can adapt their strategies to effectively cater to the growing Gen Z audience. From enhancing career centers to embracing digital engagement and promoting diversity and inclusion, associations have the opportunity to position themselves as valuable resources for Gen Z professionals navigating their careers. By prioritizing the needs of Gen Z, associations can ensure their relevance and impact in an evolving and diverse workforce landscape. 

About The Author

Kim Davies is a Senior Director, Partner Development with Naylor Association Solutions. Reach her at [email protected].