Generation Z, the most diverse generation in the history of the workplace, is coming in hot and will eventually become the future of labor. This emerging generation makes up 20% of the US population and will account for 27% of the workforce in the next two years alone. The flooding entry of Generation Z and the already established millennials in the labor sector is causing a significant change in reshaping previous social contracts established by Gen X and the retiring boomers, especially in the workplace.
To clarify, Gen Z refers to the generation born between 1997-2012, succeeding millennials (also known as Generation Y). Millennials range from the 1980’s to the late 1990’s. These newer generations have different world views than Gen X, born 1965-1980, or Baby boomers, born from 1946-1964.
Raised by screens, Gen Z grew up in a time of technology and convenience. With rapid access to information, they have been impacted by, and have an impact on macro social movements and current issues that help define their values in society and in the workplace. They are goal-oriented and make professional and other decisions based on the influence they have on the world around them. Thus, business leaders must define how and why Gen Z workers are making a useful contribution to society and the workplace.
When it comes to finding a career, Gen Z knows what they want and has the resources at their fingertips to seek out new opportunities. Unlimited internet access also means they are more independent and looking for different ways to get things done. They are more concerned with job security and flexibility than money, but livable wages are obviously still appreciated. Gen X and the Boomers prioritized hard work and company loyalty, while Gen Z prioritizes equality, flexibility, and career growth. Intergenerational dialogue is essential in effectively blending these different generations and keeping the future of the workforce from seeking greener pastures.
The previous generations can learn from the strength and pragmatism of Gen Z, and vice versa. Companies can attract Gen Zers’ by emphasizing the importance of their individual role or contributions to promote self-fulfillment. Adopting a more flexible work program will attract Gen Z, support employee well-being, and may increase overall company productivity. Implementing additional training and skill programs maximizes opportunities for Gen Z to learn and grow and fulfills their desire of job security and career growth. Ready or not, Gen Z is here, and the future of work is dependent on keeping up with these new tendencies and expectations.