Most businesses, schools and nonprofits are still adapting to the cultural shift caused by the influx of millennials into the workforce, however there is another shift on its way soon. The next wave of workers, Gen Z, is still young but entering the job market and are expected to account for 20 percent of the workforce by 2020. According to Dan Schawbel, partner and research director at Future Workplace, we need to multiply everything we know about millennials in order to understand the youngest generation of workers.
While there are definitely some differences between millennials and Gen Z workers, there are also some very real similarities. For instance, both millennials and gen Z’ers are ambitious and hard-working. Both groups grew up receiving lots of feedback from parents, teachers and coaches, so they expect immediate and frequent feedback from their bosses as well. Both groups are also highly motivated by a sense of purpose and the desire to make an impact.
Much like the millennials, Gen Z workers have an entrepreneurial bent that manifests in the workplace as a desire for autonomy. However, while millennial workplaces have often been characterised by stock options, free lunches, nap pods and on-site yoga, Gen Z’ers are more likely to seek job security and traditional benefits like health insurance and a competitive salary. Millennial workers have also been known as job hoppers, but their younger counterparts crave job security and stable incomes.
Education seems to be another point of departure for millennial and Gen Z workers. Unlike their millennial counterparts, who probably went into debt to obtain a higher education, Gen Z workers the world over are interested in organisations that offer education to employees without a university degree. However, both generations are curious and likely to seek out opportunities for growth, learning, and development.
As digital natives, the biggest impact on the workplace from Gen Z will be the expectation that their employers have the latest technologies and tools. Indeed, they are likely to use digital collaboration tools, and will be attracted to companies that cultivate a strong employment brand through social media and other online channels.
Seth Matheson, Director of Talent Fusion by Monster noted in a recent report, “Organizational brands will need to be transparent, adaptable, personable and memorable, targeting the brand’s ideal Gen Z employees through tools like social recruiting and talent CRM targeted emails.”
Despite their desire for security, stable income, and traditional benefits, Gen Z workers are not very optimistic about their prospects. According to Forbes contributor Kathryn Dill, these young workers are concerned they won’t find a job that fits well with their skills and personality. Ultimately this means that not only do employers have to be digitally savvy in order to attract young digital native workers, employers need to focus more than ever on developing an employment brand that defines the organisational culture that enables young workers to have a real impact.