Gen Z : what you should be prepared for

Generation Z is a code name for under-aged people, born between 1995 and 2005. Z-gen are kids and teenagers, who were born and raised in the hi-tech world with financial and social crisis. Their values and aspirations strongly differ from those of their predecessor. Sociologists say that representatives of Gen Z will become very enterprising, versatile and well-educated workers. The prior to them Generation Y (or “Millennials”) has been the object of the intense research for the last 10 years and yet many questions on recruiting and retention of “Y-people” remain open. Nevertheless, modern companies have to get prepared for the new generation of employees, who are not only different from Millennials, but are completely opposite to them in many ways. This article suggest several facts about Z-men generation and highlights what a recruiter should pay attention to. It will help you to understand core values of young people and prepare your business for future changes.

1. Generation of mavericks

When specialists asked “Z-kids” describe their generation, most of them chose such words as “creative”, “inventive”, “perfectionists”, “ambitious” and “communicative”. And it is true - many of young people are interested in arts, innovations and accept existing ideas to generate their own. Z-gen are perfectionists and neat about work they are doing. However, they are ambitious enough for taking risks and accepting challenging tasks. Unlike to Gen Y, younger specialists are not afraid admit own mistakes and ask questions. Nevertheless, they also have higher expectations then others: if millennials were satisfied with “well-done” job, Gen Z wants to be “the best” in their company or profession. A good skill in performing many tasks simultaneously and ability to collaborate will be a great advantage for representatives of Gen Z. They really appreciate the time, that is why they are used to doing several things, for instanse - texting when listeting to music, read news feed in social media, work over school essay and eat their dinner - all at the same time.

Recruiter’s tip:

Bear in mind that Gen Z is naturally transforms from generation of employees into the generation of entrepreneurs and startup'ers and it will be difficult to find a highly qualified specialist that would work for a company. The financial component would not be a good motivation leverage, so the best way to get Gen Z interested will be involving them into long-term business project or career development. Present your position as a long-term career path with the ability to fulfill the role of the leader with elements of entrepreneurship.

2. Online generation

The principal feature of Generation Z is that the technologies are in their blood. In 2001 the education consultant Marc Prensky introduced a special term “Digital Natives” referred to “the young generation as "native speakers" of the digital language of computers, videos, video games, social media and other sites on the internet”. Moreover, the Generation Z was born and raised in era of globalization and postmodernism, where everything is based on quick and intuitive communications. Also they understand the importance of privacy and data security more than any prior generations. Gen Z would rather choose tools of anonymous communications such as Snap Chat, Secret and Whisper than Facebook or Instagram.

Recruiter’s tip:

Gen Z workers will be very mobile and demanding for the ways of communication which would not conflict with their nomad nature. If you want to recruit the representative of Gen Z, you should be active on the platforms they use, yet not being intrusive. Be honest and open about your suggestions and let them make the choice.

3. “F” for “Freelance”? “F” for “Freedom”!

It is highly likely that Generation Z will also change the idea of working hours significantly. Being always “in touch” and having everything for remote work, they see no point in strict schedules and office presence. In addition, higher education and taking loans for starting own company are also not so important for young specialists - they are living in era of travels and cloud computing.

Recruiter’s tip:

The image of “ideal worker” has changed significantly with the emerge of Millennials and it will change even more when Gen Z will start working actively. You will find that they are ready to work overtime if it will bring visible results and at same time they would refuse to stick to fixed hours. To gain their respect, one should be successful and the success for Gen Z means not the money or status, but quickly developed idea or thriving startup. And if you want to boost your company with the power of freshness and creativeness of young generation, you will need to be able to bring the concept of your new employee to the employer too.

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Comment by Katrina Kibben on October 27, 2015 at 10:02am

These kids will be the forgotten generation.... until they're the generation in control. You make a great point - these kids will be extremely flexible and expect that flexibility from their company.

How do you think companies can prepare for the next wave now? Does it vary drastically from millenials? 

Comment by Justine Thomas on October 28, 2015 at 4:32am

thank you for the comment, Katrina. Well, I have some thoughts on this point and yes, I think Gen Z is very different from Millennials, at least in the motivation and ways of communication. Companies, which will work with young generation, should keep in mind that Gen Z are quick, consumption oriented young people, able to work with huge amount of information and innovative technologies. At the same time, they aspire to "reach the top", yet tend to make decisions based on their impressions, neglecting details. The manager should know that Z-kids are very competitive and sensitive about criticism, especially to the rejection of their own ideas and opinions. That is why the best option for working with young people will be a personal communication via messengers or email, as they expect the leader be honest and give clear instructions. Also (according to Millennial Branding research), Z-people prefer co-a shared working environment and independent activities, so transforming company's workflow could be a good step in preparations.

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