By Sarah Newton
I recently found this article talking about Gen Z and their entering the workforce. I thought it was interesting on two fronts; one because we are beginning to talk about Gen Z and two, because it appeared to be giving out the wrong information. So I thought I would share my counter thoughts here for you.
If Gen Y is most defined by their approach to social responsibility, then Gen Z is defined by their knowledge and use of technology. They’re the first generation exposed to being connected throughout their lives online.
An obvious one, don’t you think, but hold on. Are they really defined by technology or is it deeper? Is it what technology has done for them, the fact that it has made them creative, innovative and collaborative and has challenged and tipped traditional power structures. When we say they are defined by technology we miss the point; they are defined by what access to technology has allowed them to do and become.
Gen Z is more security conscious than Gen Y. “Gen Zs have been under house arrest by their Gen X parents.” said Dr. Paul Redmond, head of Careers and Employability at the University of Liverpool. “No longer playing outside and always chaperoned, there are concerns about their social, not to mention obesity, issues.”
I totally disagree with this one. They are no more security conscious from what I see, in fact the opposite; they don’t even remember events of 9/11 or July 7th bombings. They feel really safe and they are not under house arrest at all, they are at home because they choose to be so. Many Gen X parents want their kids to go out more, but the kids want to stay in families. Their parents and their traditional values are hugely important to them.
Gen Z will be more switched on about the risks of social media and is unlikely to splash their personal lives on the net in the same way Gen Y so enthusiastically does. Employers will need to closely consider any social media strategies for this generation. However, they will be technological cosmopolitans and expect information quickly online.
Evidence form a lot of different sources is saying that this is not true at all. (Where does the information come from?) Gen Z will share more and for them, sharing will be the norm. Sorry guys, they will not now or ever, I feel, stop splashing their personal lives on the net; this is a trend that will not reverse. You only need to look at their streams and their social media activity to know this is not true. They may get slightly more selective about whom they let into their circle, but they will continue to share, share and share! Expect more videos and much more insight into their lives, not less.
Redmond warned, due to flitting from one technology to another, they’re likely to know little about a lot of topics, but not hold deep knowledge about a smaller number of subjects.
OK, I give you this one, and this is a concern. We may end up with a group of people who don’t really know a lot about anything. It is up to parents, teachers and future employees to step onto this one, I feel, and ensure we give the next generation the staying power they need.
So, if you are a company already thinking about Gen Z and how you will recruit them, be careful what you read.
Gen Z will be welcomed into the workforce. They are steady, traditional, great at building structure and are less likely to cause as many upsets as their Gen Y counterparts. The older employees in particular will find them much easier to manage.
They are more likely to rebel by behaving better, so although you may have a few years yet, get ready to welcome them with open arms.