Who is Gen Z? What will They Bring to the Workplace?
It’s not easy to make a definition of “generations”. In order to avoid subjective divisions and generalised traits of each cohort, we must consider base date ranges for generations on common economic, social and political factors which happened during formative years.
Accordingly, world population is classified and categorised so that the generational researchers can analyse the different generations, understand their educational backgrounds, their inclinations and their psyche.
Generational studies show us that a classification is possible starting from the Baby Boomers until today. When drawing the borders between generations, the common shared experience of the people is taken into consideration. Hence the name “Baby Boomers” referring to the increase in population.
In other words, key social and political issues of the period are the elemental factor to give a name to that generation. Baby Boomers are those who are born between 1946 and 1964. Post-war world experienced a population increase and the job market started to grow. Baby Boomers are followed by Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, the smallest generation by population due to lower birth rates.
Generation X is followed by the Millenials. Also sometimes referred to as Generation Y, Millennials are those who are born between 1981 and 1996. Note that Millennials outnumber Baby boomers as of 2019. They are now the largest generational cohort. People born between 1997 and 2012 are whom we call Generation Z. This particular group is sometimes called Zoomers, Post Millennials, or Homelanders. They are considered “digital natives” or “born digital” because ever since they were born, the internet has always been a part of their lives.
They grew up in a world concerned with security (this has a lot to do with September 11 attacks in the United States despite the fact that most of them are too young to remember the events). International terrorism and war have been in their lives and today Generation Z are the most ethnically and racially diverse generational cohort. Those who are born as early as 2010 are the first cohort entirely to be born within the 21st. Century. We call them Generation Alpha. Generation Alpha has the defining shared experience of the coronavirus (COVID-19) during their formative years thus we also refer to them as Generation Covid.
In this article we will talk about Generation Z and their impact on the economy while we entertain other topics related to the members of previous generations.
Gen Z and Their Generic Features
Gen Z are the people who were raised while deeply being connected to technology and grew up in an environment where technology was available to them pretty much from the moment that they became self-aware.
Gen Z characteristics are interesting and specific: gamers and music-goers, they are known for being ever-present messaging, on the internet, on social network platforms, and mobile systems. They are the utmost “Digital-ites”. It’s important to know how the business world will adapt to this new generation of workers in the workplace and it’s in the best interest of companies and leadership to get to know Gen Z. Below are some more traits:
Gen Z are active users of social media and they generally depend on the digital world.
Unlike the members of Gen X and Y (Millennials) who lived their early years with the experience of playing outside and with toys, Gen Z members grew up with digital tablets, game consoles, computer games and other smart devices.
Gen Z are prone to fast consumption which leads to obesity as a result of their addiction to technology. Long hours in front of a computer open the floodgates for obesity.
The Leisure spectrum of Gen Z is quite wide and they are interested in more than one area at the same time and they have multiple hobbies and/or leisure areas.
Gen Z are targeted by e-commerce more because Gen Z members prefer digital shopping to traditional ways. Advertisement companies which aim to sell to Gen Z are more likely to grow faster as a result of shopping preferences of Gen Z.
Gen Z members are known to put a distance between themselves and the traditional social values. It wouldn't be wrong if we said Gen Z refused the acceptance of taboos or customs.
Gen Z members generally adapt to urban life easily and quickly trying to form a bond with the community.
Being competitive is the main characteristic of Gen Z. They aim to finish first whether they are in an exam, a match or a contest.
Gen Z in Digital Age
Having been brought up in the age of information and technology, Gen Z members have a better aptitude for new generation learning methods. New generation learning methods may be problematic for students, teachers and educational staff. Gen Z’ers are different from Millennials in many ways.
They have less validation expectations, they are more independent and more entrepreneurial. They are also more competitive and more communicative. They are motivated by security and driven by financial/career goals. Following are a few reminders to help with the process:
Gen Z students and Gen X or Gen Y teachers often experience miscommunication issues. Classroom management and effective methods for better communication are vital elements to overcome these issues.
Gen Z are curious and willing when it comes to learning. They want to know about the reasons and purposes of the subject being told in the class. They want to know how it emerged and why. Teachers need to go into deeper details when studying the subject with the class.
Research shows that Gen Z expect novelties in learning experience rather than the traditional methods. This means businesses also need to introduce innovative solutions to their workers and working partners.
Gen Z have fewer worries when it comes to social norms or customs dictated by the culture. They tend to have a quick answer for a lot of things. Studies on Gen Z’s social adaptation and/or behaviours at school and work should be carried out to have a better understanding of their attitude.
Being used to being self-sufficient, Gen Z tends to avoid acknowledging that from time to time, they lack certain skills. For instance, in the workplace, one of the team members might be inclined not to attend the training programmes regularly.
Gen Z might have trouble staying in one place for a long time because they are used to hop on and off different digital platforms easily. Thus the class environment and the class duration need to be carefully designed to improve the motivation of the students. To be able to tackle attention deficit disorder, all components should be considered carefully.
Gen Z are known to be adamant about their comfort levels. Location of the workplace as well its design and decor matter quite a lot. When Gen Z do not feel like they belong, they might experience attention deficit and demotivation which present problems for the businesses.
Please check our website and learn from our expert speakers like Evrim Kuran, Noreena Hertz, Hayley Barnard and Keith Coats at Speaker Agency if you want to find more about generational studies and understand the learning behaviour and work life of the new generation.