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Generation Z will soon surpass Millennials as the most populous generation on earth, with more than one-third of the world’s population counting themselves as Gen Z’s. In the US, Gen Z constitutes more than a quarter of the population and, by 2030, will be the most diverse generation in the nation’s history.
As Gen Z’s are about to step onto the world stage, the impact of their entry will be swift and profound, its effects rippling through the workplace, retail consumption, technology, politics, and culture. Radically different than Millennials, this generation has an entirely unique perspective on careers and how to define success in life and in the workforce.
To better understand the challenges facing this rising workforce and their impact on employers and the workplace, we worked with the Network of Executive Women (NEW) to explore the key events that helped shape Generation Z; dive into their individual behaviours, attitudes, and preferences; and separate the myths and stereotypes from reality.
Given its experience growing up in the aftermath of the Great Recession, you might think Gen Z has emerged as a pragmatic, risk-averse, non-entrepreneurial group motivated by job security. Instead, a more nuanced picture emerged as we explored their career aspirations, career development, working styles, core values, behaviour and character, education, and stance on diversity.
While salary is the most important factor in deciding on a job, Generation Z values salary less than every other generation: If given the choice of accepting a better-paying but boring job versus work that was more interesting but didn’t pay as well, Gen Z was fairly evenly split over the choice.
To win the hearts of Generation Z, companies and employers will need to highlight their efforts to be good global citizens. And actions speak louder than words: Companies must demonstrate their commitment to a broader set of societal challenges such as sustainability, climate change, and hunger. To attract Gen Z, employers must be ready to adopt a speed of evolution that matches the external environment. That means developing robust training and leadership programs, with a real and tangible focus on diversity.
This generation will stir its own unique needs upon the workplace as they enter the organizations. It is important for the organization to discover what’s important to the Generation Z beforehand to boost attractiveness within and outside the industry in order to establish a corporate culture and workplace to gain a distinctive advantage in the hunt for top talent employees from the Generation Z which in turn will sustain the organizational growth and
remain a winning organization throughout.
Gen Z’s don’t see the point of being locked into a 9-to-5 office environment. Employers who don’t get on board with working remotely will likely fail to attract Gen Z’s. Remember, this is the first generation that was born into a technologically connected world, and they find the requirement to be physically present at work rather quaint. Gen Z is better prepared than any other generation for the global workplace. They will be perfectly poised to work in global organizations and seamlessly able to expatriate when the opportunity presents itself. Social media and mobile are as natural to them as the telephone was to their grandparents. They grew up with technology—digital literacy is just as significant as literacy itself.
But Gen Z seems to have benefited from great economic and cultural timing, affording them the opportunity to truly follow their passions. Older generations have traditionally had to wait until retirement to find work that holds meaning—going back to school for their teaching certification to share their knowledge with students; or opening their own businesses where they can sell their famous secret barbecue sauce or pecan pies—but Gen Z, with its collective drive and ability, doesn’t need to wait.