Generation Z, those born from the mid-1990s through today, are now starting to emerge from high school and college to enter the workforce.
Over the next few years, we will see their numbers grow and their influence expand. Generation Z comprises more than a quarter of the American population, which is just a percentage or two larger than their predecessors, Generation Y/Millennials.
Digital Mother Tongue
Generation Z is even more digitally in touch and technologically focused than those in the Millennial generation.
Raised with iPhones in hand, Generation Z speaks digital communication natively and tends to prefer images over text. While Millennials are characterized as technologically savvy, Generation Z has a “from birth” relationship with multiple screens, touch screens, and interactive media.
For Generation Z, mobile technology and Internet media drives their communication, organization, connection with others and research.
Building a Personal Brand
Millennials watched social media emerge from the quiet shadows of the Internet and grow mainstream through early college connections on Facebook and career networks on LinkedIn. Their view of social media is through the lens of collaboration and community connections.
On the other hand, Generation Z gains access to social media through Snapchat, Whisper, Instagram and YouTube. The Generation Z perspective on social media is one of personality and anonymity, if they choose. Their peers rise up as online celebrities around them so they recognize the power and gamble of their personal brand. They’ve also been raised in a Snowden and NSA era, so they tend to be judicious in where and how they post.
Cautious in Chaos
Speaking of being careful, Generation Z were raised, and are being raised, in a post 9/11 age: an age of global terrorism, and in the midst of the Great Recession.
While Millennials tend to be optimistic and eager to work toward a more peaceful, prosperous time they remember, Generation Z is cautious and calculating in their decisions, eager to build a future they haven’t yet seen. They tend to be risk-averse and financially-careful, concerned about paying off their education and building a stable future.
Generation Z often seeks to be resourceful, grabbing opportunities as they come along. They realize that their own success may require creativity.
Individuals from Generation Z have seen many succeed in entrepreneurship in their own lifetime, with technology opening global doors for them, and Generation Z reports to be eager to join the entrepreneurial game themselves.
Generation Z is more racially and culturally diverse than its predecessors, with the rise of transracial marriages, transracial adoptions, and general openness to differences in their daily lives. Furthermore, their multiple, mobile screens and connections to social media platforms keep them engaged with news, politics, sports, entertainment, celebrities and everyday life around the world through live streamed events.
Their world is smaller than it’s ever been, making their connections closer and opportunities greater.
Employers should be aware of the unique personality traits of Generation Z employees entering the workforce soon. The more aware and tolerant employers can be, the more successful their multi-generational businesses will be. Just like when Millennials hit the workforce, it’s time for employers to be open to new opportunities that can come of the newest generation joining their teams.