Generation Z will radically change work methods, team structures and companies in general. They are the real digital natives who grew up during the crisis and they know how to get by better than anyone.
The members of Generation Z are still in school, but there are already some clues about how they will impact the job market. They’re still very young and have much to learn in some aspects of their lives, but could teach the rest of us masters classes in everything related to technology.
Never before have we seen such talent during adolescence – we even have examples of 15 year old entrepreneurs starting solvent companies. We should think of them not only as future employees, but also as future bosses or partners.
According to experts on the topic, this generation is not really concerned with having a permanent job. They’d much rather find a job that fits their personality, and work only in a field they love. They have skills and knowledge that previous generations do not. Not even the millennials.
What is Generation Z like?
Millennials are those born between 1975 and 1995, according to some studies, and between 1980 and 2000 according to others. That’s why some authors say that the next generation, Generation Z, starts with the current millennium and others say it starts in 1995. Give or take a few years, sociologists agree that there are major differences between the two generations. What are they? Are they so dramatic that they really constitute a new generation? The answer is yes. Just look at how much the world has changed in the past three decades.
A generation that grew up during the crisis. Millennials saw the start of a major technological revolution that made them believe that the sky is the limit – if they worked hard like their parents told them, they could become whatever they wanted. Generation Z, on the other hand, grew up during much more uncertain times, when the job market is even more competitive, if that’s possible. They are not yet part of this job market but know that they must have the best possible preparation to get ahead – but not at any cost.
Entrepreneurs, one way or another. Generation Z will be much more entrepreneurial than the millenials – they already are. Their individualism is unprecedented. They have a much stronger desire to fulfill their personal needs than their predecessors, but don’t be mistaken. This doesn’t make them egotistical or hedonists. Their ultimate goal is to work in something they like, while improving the world in which they live - either as entrepreneurs or in companies that have adapted to today’s world.
Face-to-face but online. While millennials grew up with less direct, face-to-face interaction (emails, text messages, etc.), Generation Z has always had face-to-face digital vehicles like Skype, Facetime and Google Hangout. It’s how they see each other, meet up, and for now, there will be no other way to work.
Dependent on technology. Although we could all say we are somewhat dependent on new technologies, Generation Z is even more so. They have no concept of the “analogue” world because they have never been a part of it. For them, a world without Internet connections, social networks and smartphones is simply inconceivable.
Completely globalized. Although the previous generation is the first generation considered “global”, Generation Z is the first to truly fulfill the requirements of a global tribe. Never before in history have children and adolescents from around the world looked so similar. They have more in common than any generation before them.
Extreme multi-tasking. One of the big questions is how Generation Z will impact the job market when the time comes. Without a doubt, things will completely change when the workforce is full of individuals used to quickly changing platforms, tasks and formats, performing several tasks at the same time without a problem. Is this a Generation that will be even more stressed, or will their innate digitization allow them to circumvent this barrier?
Fast information. The only world they know is one where information expires in a matter of minutes, making it impossible to digest the vast amount of data coming from their devices. How will this affect the way companies work? Does a long Power Point presentation or an in-person course lasting several hours make sense for this new generation?
When Generation Z reaches the job market, they will finally force companies to be more flexible and incorporate technology. The changes companies are making today may not be sufficient when they arrive.
Corporations should start to prepare, at least by getting to know the mentality of this generation in order to adapt to what they will demand in just a few years. This challenge will profoundly change the way this are done. Companies will probably have to create more flexible rules and schedules to join the third millennium. The will also have to listen carefully to these young people so that they are the ones telling companies how to improve productivity while also creating a good working environment - something so essential to them.