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FRESH FRIDAYS: Presenting Generation Z…

by Emma Harrington August 29, 2014

​With the Classes of 2014 embarking on pastures new, there is a new generation nipping at the heels of  Generation Y... the fast approaching  cohort of 'Generation Z'. Coined the 'Gen Zers', this new 'Google generation’ is shedding a different light on the future of the workforce and attitudes to career opportunities.

So who exactly are the Gen Zers?

Their defining feature is that they're born just before the start of the Millennium. A study by American branding agency Sparks and Honey has identified their key characteristics, which show that those falling under the category of Generation Z are shaping up to be pretty different from their predecessors. Most interesting to us here at FreshMinds is how this new generation will shape and fit into the workplace...

What do Gen Zers expect from the world of work?

Sparks and Honey have pulled together a ballpark wish list detailing what this "Silent Generation" wants when it comes to a role and career:

  • There is nothing more fast paced than the digital era which Gen Zers have grown up in. These digital natives are more ready than ever to enter the world of work and are very eager to begin their careers early.

  • They want a certain amount of freedom and professional commitment from their employer, as well as the flexibility and reward to boot.

  • Gen Zers are much more aware of the economic impacts facing society, having grown up during a period of economic uncertainty, as well as experiencing eruptions of  terrorism and political unrest. Therefore, they are thought to shy away from classic professions,  towards more unconventional or entrepreneurial positions where they have the capacity to experiment.

  • They feel strongly about the impact of their actions on themselves  and those around them. Looking back on a childhood where the biggest stories in the headlines were centred around bad decisions and misjudgement; they realise the importance of well-intended, well-meaning, discerned  actions.

What can they bring to the table?

One thing that employers must also realise is that Generation Z is more connected than any generation so far. With most having contacts 10,000 miles away at their fingertips, they grow up much more globally aware and diverse. Living their lives like this, it's hard for them to imagine that anything is impossible, so don't be surprised if most Gen Zers you come across are overly ambitious! As those in the technology sector are aware, they are constantly asking “what’s next?” Therefore, employers must be ready to handle this new wave of dynamic and determined employees.

What does this mean for employers?

This so-called "youth bubble" is deemed to be a smart, ambitious, entrepreneurial and extremely tolerant generation, born into a digital world - with a digital way of doing things. As a result, it’s key for organisations to keep abreast of these individuals' aspirations as they enter the workforce to ensure that they tailor their approach to onboarding. To combat itchy feet, or the risk of losing superstars raised in Gen Z (or soon to be 'Generation Now'!) organisations will need to ensure their roles are clearly defined and structured. This will allow Gen Zers to assimilate and come up to speed quickly - and thus be promoted for their success. If Gen Zers feel their talent is being utilised, and subsequently rewarded, they’ll be more likely to build longer term careers, which is not necessarily the norm in the fast-paced world they thrive in.

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