We’ve been talking about Millennials for so long, the next generation has crept up on us: Generation Z. They were born in the 1990s and are just now entering the workforce. The U.S. Census bureau estimates Generation Z comprises about 25 percent of the population, outnumbering both Baby Boomers and Millennials. Entrepreneurs and employers should be aware of what the new wave of talent wants and needs as they start to comprise the hiring pool. Recent research has uncovered the following qualities and characteristics about Gen Z:
Not surprisingly, these young people are even more tech-savvy than the generation that preceded them. Just about every aspect of their lives was influenced by it, and they are extremely proficient. They will be most comfortable in a workplace that reflects the most innovative tools available for the industry.
2. Influenced By Parents and Peers
These young people are more bonded than their predecessors in Generation Y, who are sometimes described as self-absorbed and aloof. The next generation of workers look to their parents and friends for advice regarding education and work decisions. This will be reflected as being fairly grounded and reliable in the workplace.
3. In Touch with Current Events
Generation Z is also more involved with the news and current events of the day than the generation before them. They are more engaged, less disillusioned and more hopeful about the future. They are curious about things they don’t understand and more likely to ask questions and educate themselves about the issues that affect your industry, our country – and the world.
4. Information- and Communication-Driven
Generation Z has had Google at their fingertips since they were able to use a computer, so they are used to having access to answers to just about any question that enters their minds. They also love to talk about what they’ve learned, which has fostered excellent communication skills in many of them. Employers should schedule regular meetings and create teams and breakout groups to foster communication and self-expression.
5. They Are Highly Entrepreneurial
A large number of Generation Z members – well over half – are interested in owning their own businesses. This reflects the current marketplace conditions and technological advances that have made it easier than ever to be a business owner. The reasons cited range from “I want to make a difference in the world” to wanting to be their own boss. Employers should be aware of this entrepreneurial spirit and cultivate a workplace and corporate culture that is friendly to this type of personality. Allowing for self-sufficiency and telecommuting are some examples of how to cater to this characteristic.
6. They Value Work-Life Balance
While Generation Z is hard-working and entrepreneurial, they also value their free time. Employers should be aware of this and build in generous breaks, vacation time and benefits within the workday to honor this preference.
Generation Z is the first truly global generation, with a drive toward self-sufficiency, high achievement, leadership, creativity, and a connection to a cause greater than themselves. Employers who cater to these qualities will be more likely to attract and keep the top Gen Z talent.
“Remember, wealth has nothing to do with money, success has everything to do with failure, and life is as simple as you make it!” – John Dessauer