Generation Z are beginning to enter the workplace but their needs and desires are much different to millennials and what is expected in the traditional office environment.
While we’ve just about got used to millennials, the next generation of tech-savvy and highly individualistic employees are beginning to filter into the workplace at a speed that is destined to become much quicker.
Born from 1995 and onwards, Generation Z is growing up in a digital world; a complex environment with a knowledge that has led to them becoming more advanced when it comes to the internet, media and technology. With this level of digital intelligence, it is hoped that this generation will allow for customised instruction, the pinpointing of diagnostics and innovations their predecessors could have never imagined.
While many belonging to this generation are still children and teenagers, it’s impossible to fully understand what their adult characteristics will be. However, early indications show that they are goal-orientated, self-aware, self-reliant and innovative.
Unlike millennials, Generation Y and baby boomers, this generation are more likely to attend and graduate from university and turn to the internet to self-educate. Online platforms like YouTube and Pinterest allow Generation Z to watch tutorial videos on subjects ranging from how bake a cake to setting up complex computer systems.
How do they differ to millennials?
According to Anna Fieler, executive vice president of marketing at Popsugar, Generation Z are digital natives and mobile first, making them twice as likely to want to shop on a mobile than millennials. Their attention span is also even less than that of millennials, at just eight seconds. It is believed that this is because Generation Z live in world of constant updates, meaning they process information much quicker than other age groups.
“The newly developing high tech and highly networked world has resulted in an entire generation thinking and acting more entrepreneurially,” explains Gen Z marketing strategist Deep Patel.
As well as being more entrepreneurial, ‘Gen Z’ have higher expectations than today’s millennials. While millennials grew up in the early stages of the internet where dial-up existed and computers were mostly utilised for simple games and emails, Generation Z were born into a world already overrun with technology and innovation.
Marcie Merriman, executive director of growth strategy at Ernst & Young, said: “When it doesn’t get there that fast they think something’s wrong. They expect businesses, brands and retailers to be loyal to them. If they don’t feel appreciated, they’re going to move on. It’s not about them being loyal to the business.”
What are their workplace desires?
When it comes to the workplace, a big proportion of Generation Z want a job that makes a positive impact on the world around them, with many happy to volunteer for roles if it gives them a better chance of securing a job role they are passionate about.
Unlike other generations, they are eco-conscious and are worried about the impact humans are having on the environment. When it comes to technology in the office, Generation Z are hooked to their smartphones and are extremely reactive.
According to Randstad, Generation Z aspire to be leaders, and part of embracing their roles means being open to inspiration from those in higher positions. They want a leader that is communicative and able to share their mission, vision and values.
How the modern office will accommodate their needs
To cater to the needs of Generation Z, traditional offices must adapt. Younger workers are more interested in accumulating rewarding experiences and are less likely to think ahead to later chapters in their careers. This is why an office environment in which workers feel comfortable is crucial to the future workplace.
Modern offices which include creative spaces, break-out areas and flexible working will be a key priority for this generation. In a recent collaborative survey by Randstad, Millennial Branding and Morar Consulting, it was revealed that the industries members of Generation Z are most interested in working in are IT and technology. A workplace that doesn’t adapt to today’s technology will soon become outdated.
When asked about the technologies they would like to see employers incorporating into their organisations, 41 per cent of respondents said that they would favour social media, 27 per cent said wearables, 26 per cent said they would like to see virtual reality and 20 per cent opted for robotics.
“What is more appealing to these workers appears to be things like flexibility,” explains Jim Link, chief human resources officer with Randstad. “The ability to have an adaptive workplace that has high uses of technology and enables that technology either through devices that they bring themselves or through knowledge-sharing systems, collaborative systems at work.”
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