Just when you thought Millennials were the next Big Thing, here comes Generation Z. Categorized as those born roughly between 1996 and 2010, they are the next step in the modern workforce. Besides the fact that they have already surpassed the Millennial population by a million—the Millennial generation consists of around 60 million—there are other aspects of Gen Z that individualize them so they don’t get lost in the shadow of Millennials. The three main categories where they differ are technology preferences, privacy habits, and pragmatism.
A short, simple description for this category could be: “seconds count.” Managing partner of Millennial Branding Dan Schwabel says, “We tell our advertising partners if they don’t communicate in five words and a big picture, they will not reach this generation.” These so-called digital natives, born in a post-internet world, “take in information instantaneously, and lose interest just as fast,” says Hannah Payne, an 18-year-old U.C.L.A student and lifestyle blogger.
Unlike Millennials who patronized social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Generation Z is less interested in reporting their personal lives to the public, and prefer sites such as Snapchat or Secret; the former leaves no record of your activity past a 24-hour period, and the latter keeps your identity anonymous. A trend consultant for Sparks & Honey, Dan Gould claims that Gen Z “are more aware of their personal brand, and have seen older gen Y-ers screw up by posting too openly.” This is solidified by a Mashable article that featured New York teenager Ruby Karp explaining this phenomenon. Here is a snippet of her writing:
“Let’s say I get invited to a party and there’s underage drinking. I’m not drinking, but someone pulls out a camera. Even if I’m not carrying a red Solo cup, I could be photographed behind girls doing shots.”
This level of self-awareness is less common among Millennials who, because this ability to share publicly freshly fascinated them, tended to overshare with reckless abandon.
Because they’ve grown up in an uncertain world, and have been raised by Gen X-ers who also had few prospects in their days, Gen Z is drawn to safety and certainty. While Millennials are more of a “follow your dreams at all costs” generation, Gen Z has replaced their optimism with pragmatism. Goldman Sachs’ research found that 60 percent of Generation Z believes that a lot of money equals success, while only 44 percent of Millennials agree with that belief.
So, what does all of this mean for employers? Despite their differences from Millennials, they still share the same desire for social impact through their work. With that said, incorporating technology into social, mobile, and interactive roles is an ideal way to attract Generation Z. With the constant increase in and demand for tech-related jobs, forming those opportunities for Gen Z workers is easily possible.