Generation Z; The New Workforce
new generation has officially entered the workforce. Just when employers thought they figured out Millennials, Generation Z has joined the working world and will likely change the American workforce as we know it. Employers need to be well-informed in preparation for hiring individuals from Generation Z. Here’s what companies should know:
Who is Gen Z? Generation Z consists of those born in 1995 or later. They are sometimes also referred to as the Post-Millennials, the iGeneration (iGen), Generation Wii or the Homeland Generation. They make up the largest percentage of the United States population, almost 26%, which certainly makes them worth paying attention to!
Gen Z’s are the true digital natives. Nearly 92% of Gen Z has a digital footprint. They have never experienced a world without constant connectivity. They have always had a computer in their pocket and will expect technology to be a basic part of the work infrastructure. This generation will lead the way as companies figure out how best to integrate technology in the workplace. To them, tech is a basic part of how the world operates. This will most likely disrupt the traditional sense of corporate hierarchy. For the first time, older generations will no longer be the ones to pave the way.
Gen Z will multitask. They’re used to constant updates from dozens of apps. Switching between different tasks and paying attention to a wide range of topics comes naturally to them. This can be a great fit for a job that involves multitasking. They also don’t have any harsh boundaries when it comes to work and home. They feel comfortable starting a project at the office, then opening it on their laptop or phone to work on later while at home having dinner or watching TV.
Gen Z’s want flexibility. They believe in working smart. Their lives are so technology-driven and fast-paced, they have little patience for wasting time. They have no interest in working 9-to-5 at a desk when it’s unnecessary. Instead of wanting a better work-life balance, they’re seeking work-life integration and the ability to blend the two at their convenience. Generation Z is going to normalize working remotely and will try to remove the negative stigma attached to it. Allowing this flexibility will not only increase morale, it will create a more dynamic and productive group of workers.
Gen Z’s are the ultimate do-it-yourselfers. They will bring their DIY mentality into the workplace. Every answer they’ve ever needed has always been at their fingertips. They will find ways to make processes and procedures more efficient because they think older generations overcomplicate things. If they have the opportunity to learn something themselves through a non-traditional but more efficient way, you can be sure they will. They also won’t need as much training as previous generations because they can fix almost anything by watching a how-to video online.
Gen Z’s are independent and competitive. Most of Gen Z believes that if you want something done right, you do it yourself. They generally like to work alone and would prefer to have their own office space. They want to manage their own projects so their abilities can shine through. They want to be judged for their individual efforts rather than those of their team. They do not want to depend on other people to get their work finished.
Gen Z’s have high aspirations. They have a huge desire for career growth. Their parents likely taught them the importance of working hard. They know that no one will hand them their success. So while they don’t mind working hard, they expect their efforts to be rewarded and their careers to grow. If employers can nurture Gen Z workers and help them get ahead when they have earned it, they will be loyal employees. They just want their potential recognized.
Gen Z’s want mentors. Gen Z believes that in order to advance, they need constant and extensive feedback on how they are doing. They are looking for guidance and mentorship from those higher than them. They consider corporate mentorship programs to be almost as important as healthcare. They want bosses who take both an interest in their careers and the time to listen to their ideas. Surprisingly, face to face is their preferred method of communication with higher-ups; they want actual conversations and connections.
Gen Z’s are loyal. Most of Gen Z is hoping to change jobs only 3 or 4 times over the course of their careers. They believe that staying with a company long-term can help them advance successfully. Generation Z wants to work for a company they are genuinely interested in. If they are passionate about the company, they will be hardworking and loyal.
Gen Z’s want financial security. They grew up in the middle of the recession and may have watched their parents struggle after taking a financial hit. A significant portion of their lives may have been defined by these recession related struggles. It’s likely their parents stressed the importance of fiscal responsibility, making them willing to work hard for their paycheck. Their focus on financial security will be cutthroat when it comes to establishing careers. Like the generation before them, they want to make a difference, but it isn’t their main focus. Money and job security are at the top of their list.
Gen Z’s will have a side hustle. Most of Generation Z wishes their hobby could be their job. Gen Z is extremely entrepreneurial and they tend to pursue income generating hobbies. This is one example of how they will try to create job and financial security on their own. While other generations did some moonlighting, it usually wasn’t a hobby. For Gen Z, having a job and a money-making hobby isn’t an either/or option. They will do both.
Gen Z’s are budding entrepreneurs. They want to soak up as much knowledge as they can. They have watched people their age, even their friends, create successful businesses and they want to do the same. They will take on many different challenges for the sake of experience as they pursue their goal of starting their own business or company in the future.
Generation Z came along in the aftermath of 9/11 and grew up during the recession. These events have shaped their outlook on life. They have a great amount of drive and ambition to bring to the workplace. They are innovative, hardworking, and will be loyal employees. They are determined to make an impact.
The most important thing for employers to know is that Generation Z will be completely different than other generations. Instead of trying to decide if that makes them better or worse than the ones before them, embrace it. Because before we know it, Gen Alpha will be the new Gen Z.
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