Forget Millennials. Get Ready for Generation Z
Demographers disagree about exactly when “Generation Z” begins and ends, but most define it as those born between the mid-1990s and the late 2000s. The older members of this generation are starting to graduate college and look for jobs. Some researchers estimate that by 2020, Generation Z will make up about 20 percent of the workforce.
Here are some Generation Z traits that organizations should take into consideration as they prepare for this new generation of employees:
Generation Z values structure
Growing up during the Great Recession, Generation Z watched their parents struggle with debt and their millennial older siblings have to move back home after college. Because of this, members of Generation Z tend to be more practical and cautious than previous generations. According to a survey conducted by Robert Half, 77 percent of Gen Z-ers think they’ll have to work harder than previous generations to have a satisfying and fulfilling career. But they also want to be paid well for their hard work. Respondents said they expect to make an average of about $47,000 at their first job out of college.
Members of Generation Z are looking for job security, good health insurance and a structured work environment. This means it’s more important than ever for companies to clearly communicate what benefits they can offer employees and to make sure office policies foster a predictable, stable work environment.
They want career growth opportunities
More than half of those surveyed by Robert Half said that five years out of school, they would either be supervising other employees or working their way up the corporate ladder. Sixty-four percent named career opportunities as their top priority in considering a full-time job. However, leadership opportunities aren’t everything: 40 percent also said it was important for their work to have a positive impact on society.
To attract this generation, companies need to show the big picture of how the organization benefits the world. They also need to show the opportunities for career growth and leadership training. Organizations should consider implementing a mentorship program to provide Generation Z employees with personalized feedback.
They’re good with technology, but may need training in soft skills
Generation Z doesn’t remember a time before smartphones and social media. In a study by Monster, 57 percent of Generation Z respondents said technology allows them to be more productive. However, Generation Z employees may need more thorough training in some “soft skills” such as email etiquette, face-to-face social skills and taking initiative on projects.
To prepare for Generation Z employees, companies need to revisit their policies on the use of technology in the workplace. They should incorporate video technology into training programs, use digital collaboration tools and clearly communicate expectations for using smartphones and personal social media at work.
Members of Generation Z have the potential to be great employees. They’re ambitious, practical and willing to work hard. As companies plan for the future, they should start adjusting their recruiting and training to work well with this next generation.