For the past few years, a big buzzword for society has been millennials. This generation stemmed many questions when it came to the workforce: How are we going to accommodate this new generation? How will this generation impact the workforce?
Will the future of the workforce be completely altered by this new crop of people who are more technologically advanced than any other generation before them? However, now millennials are in their late 20s and 30s and are no longer new to the workplace. Millennials are now well-seasoned and no longer solely occupy entry-level positions, they are currently in mid-level positions, opening up the entry-level positions to a new generation of employees; Generation Z. Generation Z is comprised of those born between 1995 and 2010, which means that oldest are about 22 and are just entering the workforce. Gen Zers have a lot in common with Millennials, however, it is the differences that will impact your workplace.
Here are 5 ways that Generation Z is going to differ from Millennials in the workplace and how you should prepare for these differences:
Members of Gen Z were still kids during the great recession in 2008 and saw their parents take huge financial hits. Gen Z wants to rise above these financial hits and create a work environment in which they can feel safe and know that they have security in their jobs. Millennials are viewed as more idealistic, while Gen Z’ers are viewed as more realistic. Dan Scawbel, founder of Millennial Branding and author of “Promote Yourself”, states that, “Gen Z has a clear advantage over Gen Y[Millennials] because they appear to be more realistic instead of optimistic, are likely to be more career-minded, and can quickly adapt to new technology to work more effectively. Additionally, since Gen Z has seen how much Gen Y has struggled in the recession, they come to the workplace better prepared, less entitled, and more equipped to succeed.” Gen Z’ers are interested in creating and being a part of a workforce that has been improved upon.
Gen Z’ers can quickly and efficiently shift between work and play, with multiple distractions going on in the background. Generation Z is the first generation to not know what it is like to not have some sort of digital device in their lives. The formative years of a member of Gen Z included computers, smartphones, tablets, and several other smart devices. Since smart devices aren’t a new concept to them, the distraction simply is not there for them. An individual from Gen Z can typically work on their desktop or laptop at work, then go home and have a TV on in the background, phone notifications going off, and still continue their work on their tablet. Kyle Elliot, from Kyle Elliot Consulting, suggests that the multitasking workflow that Gen Z offers will help make the workforce more efficient. “Those who belong to Generation Z, even more so than the millennial generation, appreciate the great value that technology, and subsequently efficiency, bring to the workplace. Those companies that focus their efforts on technology and improving efficiency will continue to attract and engage millennials, recruit top talent, and beat out their competition.” Think of how this sort of workflow might be able to reshape the office.
Millennials are more collaborative and teamwork oriented and want inclusion. However, Gen Z is defined by their competitiveness and would rather work alone and be judged on their own merits rather than those of their team. Gen Zers are willing to work hard, but they expect to be rewarded for it. “Gen Z will ask for ownership stakes, be working on their own inventions, and be interested in a piece of the business pie. This must be taken seriously by HR and Leaders,” states John M. Connor of Career Pro Inc. Gen Z’ers are intensely independent and like to work alone. 64% of Gen Z’ers have considered pursuing higher education versus 74% of their Millennial counterparts. Gen Z’ers would rather avoid the crippling student debt that the generation before them has suffered. Don’t discount a potential employee because of their lack of educational experience, because of the digital age these potential highers have possibly learned the necessary skills elsewhere.
While Millennials grew up in an age that still had dial-up and can remember not having a computer in their household. Gen Z’ers grew up with information in digital form right at their fingertips. With this immediate access to the digital world, it’s no surprise that 92% of Gen-Zers have some sort of digital footprint. Having this strong connection to the digital world makes Gen Z’ers excellent multitaskers, as previously stated; however, with the constant accessibility to every digital facet at all times, this also proves to make this generation less focused than Millennials. Gen Z processes information faster than other generations thanks to apps like Snapchat and Vine. Thus their attention spans may be significantly lower than Millennials.
Gen Z Marketing Strategist, Deep Patel states, “The newly developing high-tech and highly networked world has resulted in an entire generation thinking and acting more entrepreneurially.” Huffington Post proclaims that 72% of teens say they’d like to start a business someday. Again, many factors of Gen Z can be traced back to the recession of 2008. Generation Z’s formative years led them to see their parents struggle because of their reliance on major corporations that took major hits in the recession. The main reason that Gen Z’ers could be such go-getters and entrepreneurs is because they want to be in complete control of their career path and not rely on a corporation to determine their career stability. This entrepreneurial spirit will be an asset that will assist in your company’s growth and success.