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Attitudes toward sustainable development and employer brands: comparing generations X, Y and Z in two countries

Ana Tkalac Verčič (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia)
Dejan Verčič (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 24 April 2024

170

Abstract

Purpose

This study investigates how sustainability influences employer branding across generational cohorts – Generations Z, Y and X – and between two neighboring countries, Slovenia and Croatia, with different economic development levels.

Design/methodology/approach

A comparative cross-generational survey was conducted among respondents from Slovenia and Croatia to assess the impact of sustainability on employer brand perception. The survey explored generational attitudes toward sustainability and its integration into the employer value proposition.

Findings

The study found that all the generational cohorts view sustainability as an important factor in their evaluation of employer brands. Generation X showed the most favorable attitude toward sustainability, followed by Generation Z, highlighting the need for organizations to communicate sustainability efforts effectively to attract these groups. However, there were subtle differences between the countries, with Slovenian respondents indicating a slightly higher preference for sustainable practices. Additionally, while Generation Z may not have the same financial leverage as Generation X, their high valuation of sustainability in employer branding demonstrates their future influence as they enter the workforce.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations include the survey’s conceptual framing, which may be inherently biased toward the more affluent Generation X’s capacity to prioritize sustainability and the focus on USA-based generational definitions, which may not be fully applicable across different cultural settings. Future research could address these limitations by refining the conceptual approach and expanding the sample to include more diverse geographical contexts.

Originality/value

By comparing responses from two economically distinct neighboring countries, the study reveals complex inter-generational dynamics and national contexts affecting sustainability’s role in employer attractiveness.

Keywords

Citation

Tkalac Verčič, A. and Verčič, D. (2024), "Attitudes toward sustainable development and employer brands: comparing generations X, Y and Z in two countries", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-11-2023-0161

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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