Generation Z in the Workplace: Part One

Just when it seemed like the workplace had finally adjusted to Millennials, Generation Z has started arriving. Born between 1995 and 2010, the oldest members of Generation Z are 23 years old and beginning to enter the professional workplace. And — surprise, surprise!— they’re just as different from Millennials as Millennials are from previous generations.

Here’s why you should be excited to hire Generation Z:

 

Generation Z is Pragmatic

 

Millennials, as we all know by now, are motivated by a desire to make a difference. They want to be well-compensated, but feeling like their life has purpose is more important to them.

 

This is not the case for Generation Z. These young people were children during the Great Recession, which means that they saw their parents and others take huge financial hits. They grew up hearing and feeling income insecurity and a significant portion of their lives may have been defined by struggles related to that. This is a pragmatic generation—they want to make a difference, sure, but they’re more motivated by feeling economically secure.

 

They’re eager to jump into the job market and begin earning, but they may not be willing to accrue a traditional education along the way. Raised on an endless supply of success stories of college dropouts like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, Generation Z tends to be skeptical of post-secondary education. It’s not that they don’t want to go to college so much as they don’t believe college is a guaranteed path to success. Moreover, they’re wary of taking on the debt that goes with the degree. They’ve seen the adults in their lives have to continually adapt to changing technologies, so they know that a college degree is not the be-all, end-all. They know that, to be successful, they will have to never stop learning and adapting.

 

Like the generations before them, Generation Z is not a monolith but a massive group of individuals, each having their own desires, tendencies, and perspectives. However, a shared set of experiences has led to some characteristics that many members of the generation share. We’ll discuss more of these characteristics in the next post and delve into how you can adapt your organization in order to attract and retain young employees and best use their many skills to help your team.

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