Generation Z is coming to work: here's what you need to know
Submitted by Catrin Fox on
If you’ve hired a young apprentice or a university graduate lately, you’re one of a growing number of businesses who are introducing Generation Z to the workplace.
Currently, Millennials account for the largest section of the workforce (by 2025, they will make up around 75% of the global workforce) but already, the next wave of ‘Generation Z’ are heading out of the classroom and into the office.
Oh, and JSYK (because FYI is so last generation), they’re set to shake up your workplace with some pretty groundbreaking ideas.
What’s so significant about Generation Z?
Generation Z was born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, which places the eldest in their early 20’s. Take a moment to consider just how much our world has changed over the past two decades.
If you were born in the 1980s or early 1990s, you’re a Millennial, also known as Generation Y. You remember Walkman cassette players, the Top 40, floppy disks and the Millennium Bug. You may also have hidden behind the sofa after renting A Nightmare on Elm Street from Blockbuster.
Crucially, you remember life before mobile phones and Wi-Fi. Technology was extraordinarily different. You were introduced to the Internet, email and Microsoft Windows at school or college but social media, smartphones and touchscreen apps were non-existent.
Now imagine being born into the late 1990s or early 2000s. This generation has never lived without technology and wireless connectivity is par for the course. They live on-demand. Swiping, tapping and clicking brings instant knowledge and gratification (Gen Z is also known as the iGeneration).
Previous generations grew into technology whereas the new generation were born into it. It’s part of their life fabric.
What does Generation Z expect from the workplace?
A study released in 2015 by Robert Half and Enactus sought to determine how this generation is preparing for the workforce. The results are indicative of shifting attitudes in business and in the workplace:
- 20% would like to be entrepreneurs after five years.
- Almost 30% are willing to take a pay cut to work for a company with a mission they deeply care about.
- 77% of Generation Z expects to work harder than their predecessors, and 54% expect to work until they’re 61-70 years old.
Taking these findings further, a separate study released by Accounting Principals in 2016 found that Generation Z is 55% more likely to want to start a business and hire others, compared to the previous generation. They also typically multitask across at least five screens a day.
How to connect with Gen Z
If you’re feeling a little disconnected from the iGeneration, bear in mind that in many ways we’re actually quite similar. This fascinating collection of characteristics comes from Deep Patel, who is himself a Gen Z-er and an entrepreneurial one at that.
Some of these characteristics may sound familiar:
- They want independence: Often, Gen Z veer towards private space. “Many of them prefer to have office space to themselves, rather than an open, collaborative workspace,” says Patel. Although this goes against the rocketing growth of coworking, demand for private serviced offices in London have continued to accelerate - suggesting a common value across all demographics is choice.
- They’re entrepreneurial: One U.S. study suggests 72% of Gen Z high school students want to start a business. “They are highly motivated and willing to work hard to achieve their dreams,” added Patel. Given the record-breaking numbers of new businesses launching every year, it’s easy to see why the next generation is startup-savvy. But ask yourself, which generation created the startup trend in the first place?
- They prefer face-to-face communication: Many Millennials have allowed email, text, and WhatsApp to take over their lives. Not Generation Z. “53% of Generation Z said they prefer in-person discussion over instant messaging or email,” said Patel. Even so, the high volume of meeting room bookings in Landmark’s business centres suggests business owners continue to value face-to-face communication, and with Gen Z entering the workplace, this trend looks set to accelerate.
Whilst many characteristics are shared across different generations, the constant evolution of technology and the expectations of those born into the Information Age will undoubtedly bring about a step-change in the modern workplace. So, here’s to the future! The arrival of fresh new perspectives into the workplace presents exciting opportunities for positive change, and at Landmark, we can’t wait to be a part of it.