Who hasn’t heard about the big generation debates of Gen Y, Gen X, Baby boomers…they are certainly hot topics over here in Australia. But now Generation Z – born between 1994 and 2010 – is coming on the scene. They are also known as Post-Millennials, Plurals or Homeland Generation. The oldest members of this demographic have or are about to finish university. Most likely they are the young kids in their first jobs serving you at the local fast food store or coffee shop. By 2020 they are expected to make up 20% of the global workforce.
So what makes Generation Z tick and what do I have to know as their future leader? They have a native attachment to technology as they grew up with the internet pretty much all their live. But it is not just about tech tools. Generation Z values collaboration, career direction and adding value just as much.
A study from Society of Human Resource Management (2016) states that 77% expect to work harder than previous generation. As a generation that grew up during the global financial crisis (2007-2008) they have seen parents and neighbours loosing their jobs and perhaps even all their belongings. Such events are life forming and lead to a strong work ethic.
The above mentioned study also states that 55% are interested in starting their own business. In Africa, Central Europe and Eastern Europe this number is close to 75%. It is refreshing to see so much independence and self-starter spirit.
Interestingly despite all the technology hype 74% of Gen Z workers prefer to communicate in person with colleagues. It is good to know that after all they are not that much different to other generations.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Generation Z is cautious with money and wants to make the world a better place. They have role models like Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani education activist, who survived after being shot by the Taliban. She became the world’s youngest ever Nobel Prize recipient.
I am quite excited about Generation Z arriving. To learn more about them I have just signed up for a mentoring program with my local university QUT. The program is aimed at undergraduate students and the idea is to match them with experienced professionals to help guide them into the workforce. There is also some benefits for the mentors. Besides getting to know Generation Z (which unless you have a family member, you normally would not form close relationship with), it is also a good way to keep up to date on what is happening in university today and topics that are being discussed. I am certainly excited about Generation Z arriving on the scene.
What is your experience been with Generation Z?