Generation Z vs Millennials – How is the workplace set to change?
Just when you thought you were starting to get a handle on what millennials want and need, a new generation of worker is coming to the fore. Introducing Generation Z. Described by some as “millennials on steroids”, members of Gen Z are actually quite similar to millennials – especially when it comes to their opinions and beliefs – they just express the defining characteristics of millennials to a greater extent.
“In many ways, generational change is like the seasons,” says Michael Wood, a principal at boutique research firm, 747 Insights, which recently released the findings of a study titled Generation Nation. “The changes are very gradual, and if we’re looking at society as a whole, it’s this millennial mindset that has influenced Gen X and the older generations, but also definitely has had a strong influence on Gen Z.”
So what do business leaders need to know about Gen Z?
Members of Gen Z were born between 1998 and 2016, which means that the oldest members of this generation are just 19-years-old. While they may have grown up with technology – and they fully embrace it in most areas of their lives – Generation Z is also far more discerning about their use of, and subscription to, digital services and technologies.
And with all of this access comes an ability to multitask – driven by a fear of missing out, Gen Z aren’t unfamiliar with absorbing media via multiple screens. And by that we mean five screens, not two. They approach the world around them with a more critical mindset, this is particularly relevant when it comes to politics, education and work.
So if millennials and Gen Z are so similar, what separates them? We’ve put together a few comparisons below.
- Competitiveness: Where millennials are more collaborative and focused on teamwork, Gen Z is described as being highly competitive. These individuals prefer to work on their own and want to be judged on their own merits and not the achievements of their team. While Gen Z is generally willing to work hard, they do generally expect to be properly rewarded for their efforts.
- Independence: In line with the point above, what we see with Gen Z is that they generally enjoy working alone. Where millennials prefer open plan, collaborative workspaces, Gen Z want their own space and they’re keen to manage their own projects. That said, this doesn’t mean that they don’t want to collaborate with others. In fact, Generation Z prefer an in-person discussion over an instant message or an email.
- Multi-tasking: If you thought millennials were easily distracted, wait until you meet Gen Z. Having always lived in a connected world, they are used to constant updates from various different apps and they are constantly switching between tasks; making them perfect for a workplace where they need to be able to successfully divide their attention.
- Entrepreneurial: Generation Z are 55% more likely to want to start a business than millennials. But this doesn’t mean that these budding business owners won’t make great employees. Their desire to understand how the business world works means that they are more likely to soak up as much knowledge as they can and take on different challenges so that they are better equipped to start their own venture one day.
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