Introducing Generation Z: the most entrepreneurially minded, tech-savvy multitaskers the world has ever seen.
At 60 million strong, they will rapidly outnumber Gen Y (also known as Millennials) and Baby Boomers in the workforce.
This shift is happening much more quickly than you might expect. The oldest Gen Zers will soon graduate from college, and statistics show that in the next four years, 30 percent of them will be looking for employment.
Are you prepared for this new generation? Here are 10 key areas where employers and managers should focus their efforts to prepare for this next wave of applicants.
1. Money is important, but isn’t everything.
Gen Z isn’t beyond the influence of a fat paycheck. They watched their parents struggle to navigate the recession and came of age during one of the most economically unstable times since the Great Depression, so they know the value of a solid salary and benefits package.
But, at least for now, Gen Z also puts a high priority on intangible benefits beyond money.
FYI: Seventy percent of Gen Zers say they must have health insurance with their first job. Gen Z also cares deeply about where they work, and will likely take a close look at workplace culture and opportunities for career advancement.
2. They are entrepreneurially minded.
Corporate America should take note: Gen Z may well end up being the entrepreneur generation. Some of them are already launching careers and businesses while still in high school.
A recent study shows that 72 percent of high school students and 64 percent of college students want to start a business someday. More than 60 percent of high school students say they would rather be an entrepreneur than an employee after they graduate college.
Tip: Employers need to learn to engage Gen Z through a culture that invites entrepreneurship as well as values innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.
3. They plan to launch early.
It’s never too early to get a jump on your career, and Gen Z will do whatever it takes to get a leg up. One survey shows that 77 percent of high school students are “extremely interested” in volunteering to gain work experience; similarly, 63 percent of college students are willing to volunteer to gain experience in their career field.
FYI: There is good news for Gen Z students who volunteer in their field: About 45 percent of companies say that high school internships will someday turn into a full-time job.
4. Mentor them and watch them grow.
Gen Z is better at working independently than previous generations, which makes them great self-starters and more entrepreneurially minded.
But they also seek feedback from those above them, and value strong mentorship and coaching from leaders they admire.
Growing up with the internet has made Gen Zers constant learners, but they need guidance to help them determine what is relevant and what’s not in a world that constantly bombards them with information.
Tip: Gen Z doesn’t just want to learn the skills for the job. They also desire a human element and thrive on guidance, direction and support.
5. They want to make a difference.
Gen Z wants to be part of a bigger purpose, and they want to work for a company that supports efforts to making the world a better place.
Engaging Gen Z may mean getting them involved in the company’s philanthropic efforts and helping them contribute to a worthy cause.
Gen Z believes that work should have a point other than making gobs of cash. When asked about their top priorities when seeking a full-time job, “Making a difference or having a positive impact on society” ranked third on Generation Z’s list, according to a Robert Half survey conducted in 2015.
FYI: Thirty percent of those surveyed said they would take a pay cut to work for a company with a mission they cared deeply about.
6. Skip the long email.
Gen Z has never known a world without the internet or social media. They are completely comfortable with technology, and adapt to new tech quickly. But in a world that moves at a fast pace, email can feel cumbersome to them.
Send them a long, rambling email, and chances are they aren’t going to read it. Gen Zers may love technology, but they still prefer face-to-face conversations.
Tip: Consider texting or using social media or Skype, and break your message into short, digestible chunks or bullet points.
7. They multitask better and process information faster.
Growing up in a digital world means that Gen Z is able to process information faster than those who didn’t grow up with a smartphone in one hand and a computer mouse in the other.
They are constantly absorbing and processing information, which also makes them better at multitasking than previous generations.
FYI: Years of communicating via text message, often with emoji, or using social media like Snapchat, may have left some Gen Zers lacking in writing skills.
8. Don’t fill their time with meaningless tasks.
Gen Z is absolutely up for working long hours or doing what it takes to get a major project out the door. They are happy to put in the time and effort to when works calls for it.
But in between the big projects, or when there are down times at work, they don’t want to be stuck doing meaningless tasks or twiddling their thumbs until it’s time to go home.
Tip: Gen Z appreciates flexible work hours with a focus on the quality of work produced, not the number of hours they log behind their desks.
9. They seek customizable careers.
Gen Z plans to forge their own way forward. They want upward mobility, flexibility and the ability to develop a career path that makes the most sense for their particular strengths.
FYI: A recent poll of 13,000 new college grads found that while they don’t care as much about telecommuting, they do value opportunities for growth. The survey data indicate that recent graduates put a priority on career growth over work–life balance, training and development.
10. They are loyal and will earn their place.
Generation Z doesn’t plan to change jobs as frequently as their older counterparts have done.
They expect to work at only a handful of companies over their lifetime – between 4 to 5 companies, according to surveys.
FYI: Gen Zers also believe that they will have to earn their own way, with 77 percent of participants in a 2015 survey saying they believe they will have to work harder than previous generations to have a successful career.