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Workplace Diversity

What You Need to Know About Generation Z


By Josh Young Mar 23, 2017

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It's 2017, and the rise of Generation Z has just begun.

While there is no "official" age range for Generation Z, general consensus identifies anyone who was born between the mid-90s and the early 2000s as one of its members. So those 21-year-olds that your business just hired are probably part of Generation Z, and if they don't qualify, most of your entry-level hires for the next several years will.

As it stands, Generation Z makes up about 25 percent of the American population, outnumbering both the Millenial and Baby Boomer generations. And by 2020, members of Generation Z will comprise roughly 40 percent of all U.S. consumers.

Are you bringing members of Generation Z on staff? Read: 5 Compliance Trainings You Need for Onboarding Employees

To gain greater insight into this generational cohort, Universum conducted a study of more than 49,000 high school graduates spread across 47 countries. While a majority of Generation Z is still in high school, a healthy percentage has already moved on to the next stage of their lives with:

  • 15 percent pursuing bachelor's degrees
  • 3 percent pursuing master's degrees
  • 10 percent engaged in vocational education
  • 3 percent already in the workforce

Since members of this generation are already entering the workforce -- and will only continue to do so, your company needs to be prepared.

What Your Business Needs to Know

New priorities

The two most cited career goals for Generation Z cited in the Universum study are a healthy "work-life balance" and "to be secure or stable in my job" -- each goal representing the primary concern of roughly 40 percent of respondents. By contrast, Millennials ranked work-life balance much higher and were also more interested in continually being challenged and serving a "greater good."

Diversity matters

According to research conducted by Goldman Sachs, Generation Z will be the first majority non-white generation in the United States. But this generation is not only more diverse, it also views diversity -- of race, gender, sexual orientation -- in a more positive light than previous cohorts.

As your business grows more multi-racial and multi-generational in the upcoming years, creating an open, inclusive workplace will become more of a priority. You can build up the cultural competence of your staff with diversity and inclusion training to help avoid any future problems or misunderstandings.

Ready to grow

Members of Generation Z are eager to advance professionally. According to one survey of current college students, 36 percent of respondents identified "career growth" -- the most commonly cited answer -- as their primary concern when considering their first job post-graduation. By contrast, the job with the highest salary interested only 6 percent of students.

These future workers are also more willing to embrace internships and on-the-job learning experiences than their predecessors. To secure top talent among this generation, your business will need to clearly identify available growth and training opportunities to hiring candidates.

Multi-channel communication

Given that nearly half of its members spend more than ten hours online each day, Generation Z is very comfortable with online communication. However, they also place a high value on face-to-face discussions.

One study found that 53 percent of this cohort prefer in-person discussions with supervisors rather than through email (16 percent) or instant messaging (11 percent). They also prefer higher levels of management feedback.

Conclusion

Even if your business hasn't already done so, hiring members of Generation Z is an inevitability. By appealing to this group's desire to learn and grow, your company will be able to successfully attract and retain this next generation of talent, building renewed strength and longevity into your organization.

If you would like learn about how Workplace Answers can help your company create an open, inclusive environment for your current and future employees, request a demo of our courses. Our team would love to work with you to find the training that best matches your organization's needs.

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