New Realities As Gen Z Enters The Workforce

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While employers have spent much of the last 10 years focusing on how to engage Millennials, there is an emerging shift to Generation Z, as this next wave of potential employees (those born between 1995 and the mid- 2000's) is just beginning to enter the workforce.

Here are 9 ways Gen Z differs from the generations that came before them:

  • 24/7 Connection: Forty percent of Generation Z said that working Wi-Fi was more important to them than working bathrooms. Millennials were pioneers in the digital age - they lived through the rise of social media, the iPhone, and texting. Generation Z was born into it - they have ubiquitous connectivity, highly curated global information, on-demand video, and 24/7 news cycles.

  • Life Lived in A Newsfeed: Most members of Gen Z don’t remember a time before social media. In fact, nearly 92% of Gen Z has a digital footprint. In a world of Snapchat celebrities and YouTube stars, Gen Z seeks uniqueness in all walks of life primarily through the brands they do business with, future employers, etc.

  • F2F > Digital: Ironically, Gen Z thrives in a world balanced between online and offline job communications. Seventy-four percent of Generation Z prefer to communicate face-to-face with colleagues. Many were raised in a world of one-on-one tutoring, so they expect private meetings to discover their strengths and build plans to improve everything they can track.

  • A Hundred Open Tabs: Gen Z can quickly and efficiently shift between work and play, with multiple distractions going on in the background, working on multiple tasks at once. Talk about multi-multi-tasking. Just think about how this kind of flow might reshape the office.

  • Diversity, Diversity, Diversity: Gen Z is the most racially diverse generation in American history. 81% of Gen Z reports they have one or more friends who are of a different race, compared to 70% of older generations.As far as dating people of a different race, 35% of Gen Zers (who are age 19 at most) said they have; that's more than any other generation besides millennials, 43% of whom said they have.  Gen Z is also more likely to say they have friends of a different sexual orientation (59%, versus 53% of millennials and smaller percentages of the older generations).

  • Ready To Work: Seventy-seven percent of Generation Z expects to work harder than previous generations. Generation Z appears to be much more competitive with their colleagues, focussed on a do-it-yourself mentality at work. They want to work on their own and be judged on their own merits rather than those of their team.

  • Role-hopping Before Job-hopping: Seventy-five percent of Generation Z would be interested in a situation in which they could have multiple roles within one place of employment. Generation Z won't want to miss out on any valuable experience and will want to flex their on-demand learning muscle by trying out various roles or projects (marketing, accounting, human resources, etc.) inside of the organization.

  • Value Security….: While millennials are often seen as more idealistic, and more motivated by purpose than a paycheck, Generation Z may lean more toward security and money. Gen Z were still kids during the Great Recession. Many watched their parents take huge financial hits, and the ensuing struggles likely defined a significant portion of their lives. A significant portion of their lives may have been defined by struggles related to that.

  • ...But Have a Business Plan: Generation Z is 55% more likely to want to start a business than millennials. In fact, a full 72% of Gen Z high school students say that they want to start a business. This can be tied back to many of their traits — especially independence and a desire for financial success. They are highly motivated and willing to work hard to achieve their dreams.

This infographic from the staffing firm Adecco does a great job of visualizing some of the key differences between Gen Z and Millennials when it comes to careers:

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Bob Carlton