Whether you like it or not, Generation Z is entering the workforce.
Gen Z, otherwise known as "Post-Millennials" or the "iGeneration," describes the generation of people born between 1995 and 2012 (give or take a few years, depending on whom you ask). Like previous generations, they have a unique way of doing and thinking about things, from the way they consume information to how they carry themselves to what viewpoints and perspectives they bring to the business world.
They also come with different expectations, narratives, and histories. They are digital natives, meaning they grew up with the internet, social media, and smartphones, and are well-versed in the technology Millennials had to learn. Many of them only ever experienced high-speed internet. Not only are they largely unfamiliar with dial-up internet, but they also don't know much about wired internet. (Did you know there was a time before Wi-Fi?)
They also bring a number of generational experiences to the table. While they were young children, infants, or not even born yet when 9/11 happened, they came of age during a period of dozens of school shootings and terrorist attacks and saw the Great Recession impact their parents' and families' finances, careers, and livelihoods. Many of them may have seen their parents lose their jobs as a result of the Recession, which likely continues to influence their own lives and choices.
Combined with many other experiences, these events continue to impact them as high school and college students and workers. And while Millennials may be known as the "optimistic generation," Generation Z is more of the "realistic" or pragmatic generation.
As Baby Boomers start to retire (I said start, Mom and Dad), and Gen Xers and Millennials move into executive, managerial, and other leadership roles (actually, many members of these generations have been firmly in those positions for a while by now), Gen Z is entering the workforce. Many Gen Zers have already graduated high school, and some have even graduated college. Many have been working part time or even full time for several years, while others are just getting their foot in the door. And they have brand-new ideas about how things should be done around these parts.
Wondering how Generation Z will influence your workplace and the working world in general? Here are 18 statistics about the Post-Millennial Generation and what these young people bring to the table.
1. Seventy-seven percent of Generation Z members anticipate working harder than previous generations did. (Robert Half)
3. ...But only forty-two percent say they are happy. Hmm. (Vision Critical/ MARU/VCR&C)
4. On average, they use five screens, switching among them for different purposes: smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop, and tablet. That's compared with the Millennial Generation's three screens. (International Business Times)
5. They have an average "eight-second filter" to gauge whether something is worth their attention. That is not the same thing as a short attention span, though; instead, it's the amount of time they spend on average determining whether to engage with something (an article, a clip, a song, a person...you get the idea). (Fast Company)
6. Seventy-two percent of high school students say they want to start their own business someday. There's that entrepreneurial spirit! (Inc.)
7. And 61 percent of college students would prefer to be entrepreneurs rather than employees. (Inc.)
9. Thirty percent believe science and technology can solve the world's greatest problems. (As a point of comparison 36 percent of members of the Millennial Generation believe the same.) (Vision Critical/ MARU/VCR&C)
11. Sixteen percent of members of the same age group say they work for themselves. (Inc.)
12. Sixty percent say they want their jobs to impact the world. (Marketo)
13. Seventy-six percent wish their hobbies could be full-time jobs. (Marketo)
14. Thirty-eight percent say they believe work-life balance is important. (Vision Critical/ MARU/VCR&C)
15. On average, they spend between six and nine hours per day consuming media. Now that's a lot of media! (Common Sense Media)
16. Ninety-two percent go online every day—and 24 percent say they are online "almost constantly." (Pew Research Center)
17. Seventy-nine percent believe they can find a job within five months. (Now where was that optimism when I needed it after graduating college?) (Adecco)
18. They account for the largest segment of the world's population at 26 percent. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers represent 24 percent, Millennials constitute 22 percent, Generation X accounts for 20 percent, and the Greatest Generation makes up 9 percent. (Nielsen)
What does that mean? In short: you're going to be working with members of the Post-Millennial Generation, so you better make it work. In fact, some Millennials and Gen Xers may have the pleasure of working for members of Generation Z, given their entrepreneurial spirit and aspirations. This younger generation, comprised of digital natives who grew up on smartphones and social media, has new ideas, new talents, and new expectations. And if the workplace doesn't adapt to their needs, well, they may just start a new one.
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