Just as you were finally figuring out how to manage and motivate the quirky, loveable, talented, ambitious digital natives of Generation Y, it’s time to say hello to the new kids in the office. Move over millennials, and make way for Generation Z! (Actually, millennials aren’t moving over—They’re moving up. These once-new grads and office neophytes aren’t new to the working world anymore… Most of them are approaching their 30s and finding their footing, and if they aren’t climbing the ladder, it’s usually because they’re starting over or making mid-life career transitions.)
But the point remains—millennials aren’t conquering the entry level anymore. They’re about to hand that role over to a wave of TRUE digital natives who are now making their way through high school and college. Here are some of the traits and working styles Generation Z will likely to carry with them into the workplace.
Generation Z studies hard.
Today’s high school and college students are tackling their educations and launching their careers in the wake of one of our countries greatest recessions, and they’re under significant pressure to get ahead—or more accurately, to not fall behind. The threat of financial insecurity looms over them, and today’s high school and college students report unusually high levels of responsibility-related stress. They’re studying harder and fretting more than the rest of us did at their age. The long term effects of this pressure have yet to be determined.
They aren’t sold on the link between college and job prospects.
A college degree once represented an all-access pass to a middle class lifestyle, but this expectation has
been called into question during the past several years. A growing number of students just aren’t sure where a college degree will take them (or how much it may cost over the long term), so they’re opening their minds to other options. Some are foregoing college altogether (hiring managers take note: this group may include the best, brightest, and most ambitious). And some of them are choosing and pursuing majors simply to learn more about the subjects they love, with no expectation that their diplomas will guarantee immediate job offers.
They won’t stay still for long.
When they arrive in the workplace, members of Generation Z are unlikely to glue themselves to their chairs. The average tenure of an entry level employee is now about two years, and it’s falling fast. “Job hopping” no longer carries a stigma, and if employers can’t hold onto them, these young workers will disappear when opportunity knocks.
They will expect flexibility.
Generation Z won’t have much patience with bosses who can’t use email. And they’ll expect their companies to use technology to handle management tasks like scheduling. They’ll want to work remotely when possible, and they may be drawn to companies that can offer modern perks like unlimited PTO days. But keep in mind that they’re self-motivated and driven; the more you give them, the more you’re likely to get back.
For more on how to prepare for, attract, and retain members of Gen Z, reach out to the Little Rock staffing team at CSS.