The next generation to enter the workforce has been coined as “Generation Z” or “Gen Z.” Gen Z refers to the group of people born after the Millennial generation. There is no agreement on the exact range of birth dates; however, according to Wikipedia, some sources start this generation at the mid- or late-1990s or from the mid-2000s to the present day. Right now, they comprise about 7% of the workforce, but by 2019 it is estimated that 30 million will be employed.
In addition, AdAge.com reports that Gen Z is the most diverse and multicultural of any generation in the U.S. to date: 55% are Caucasian, 24% are Hispanic, 14% are African-American, and 4% are Asian.
This new, young generation is the most digitally connected generation thus far. They have never known a world without the Internet, mobile phones or iTunes. They utilize technology as a tool to engage people, share information, reach wider audiences and acquire customers. In addition, they are confident to serve as our future business leaders. They are open-minded, adaptable and ready to problem-solve at any moment.
Much has been written about the Millennial generation—how much they differ from other generations when it comes to workplace ideals and requirements, and how they are changing the workplace..
But as more information about Gen Z emerges, it’s most interesting how they differ from the Millennials and previous generations, especially when it comes to workplace expectations:
• The majority of Gen Z expects to create and run their own start-up company. They are very entrepreneurial, independent and tend to turn away from working in a business environment that is considered “a jungle.”
• Those who do decide to work for corporations thrive on opportunity. They want to succeed and achieve fast and expect companies to show them how to attain a high level position in a short period of time.
• Gen Z is used to having everything, everywhere and immediately because of technology. They use two screens simultaneously and expect to always have the latest and greatest technology platforms no matter the cost.
• Because they are technology savvy and always connected to the world through social media, Gen Z consider themselves to be global citizens and are well prepared for the global business environment.
• Gen Z professionals need more rewards and recognition programs than any other generation. They are used to receiving trophies and accolades for even minor accomplishments. Companies will need to reward them often and keep changing the rewards program to keep up with their expectations.
• This generation expects mentoring and coaching. They will especially need training in interpersonal skills and communication. They are so accustomed to communicating through the use of technology that most find it difficult to have a face-to-face dialogue or even a conversation over the phone.
• Gen Z is an idealistic generation. They want to change the world, feel that their work is of value to society, and love the idea of volunteer work, which many are already doing.
Move over Millennials: Generation Z is quickly approaching and they’re ready to live and compete in our digital world like no other. This highly educated, technologically savvy and extremely innovative generation feel that they can achieve anything.
Dan Charney is president & CEO of Direct Recruiters Inc. (DRI). As a seasoned search professional with 15 years of experience, his specialty areas include material handling and logistics, packaging, capital equipment and automation systems.