Generation Z is proving to be a tough nut to crack for the U.S. Army. Recruiters are racking their minds for ways to convince Americans born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s to sign on the dotted line. The situation is so challenging that they are turning to e-Sports video game tournaments. “It is incredible, the amount of coverage that you get and the amount of the Z Gens that are watching these games,” Gen. Frank Muth, the head of Army Recruiting Command, recently told NPR. The move (coming after the Army fell short of its 76,500 recruitment goal by 6,500 people last fiscal year) is part of a broader strategy requiring recruiters to leverage social media platforms such as Instagram to reach potential troops. “Calling the Z generation on the phone doesn’t work anymore,” Gen. Muth told NPR’s Leila Fadel. “We’re really giving the power back to our recruiters to go on Twitter, to go on Twitch, to go on Instagram, and use that as a venue to start a dialogue with the Z generation.” The media organization noted that a recent e-Sports event featuring an Army recruiter as an announcer netted 2 million views. “Half [the views] were from people aged 17 to 24,” NPR reported. “Here’s what we’re finding different as we’ve shifted from the millennials to the Z Generation. Z Generation, they do want to be part of something bigger,” the officer added. “They do want to give back. They do want to serve, and they want to get out there and be part of something other than just being about themselves.”
A sign of the times… Gone are the days where Army recruiters met you at fairs and campuses. That’s how I was approached back in the day.