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10 Things That Describe Gen Z in the Workplace

Gen Z in the Workplace

You probably have members of Gen Z working in your communities. Find out what motivates them and why they won’t read a training manual.

1. Most Diverse Generation.

Gen Z (also known as the iGen) comprises those born 1996 through 2012. Many from this group are entering the workforce for the first time. Gen Z is the most racially diverse generation: Almost half are a race other than non-Hispanic white.

2. Background in Business.

Most have been earning money from entrepreneurial sources long before they formally entered the workplace. According to Harvard Business Review, 70 percent have worked at entrepreneurial jobs — teaching piano, DJ and selling merchandise on eBay. A quarter of them have sold something online, with 16 percent having sold handmade goods on an e-commerce site such as Etsy. Fifty-five percent say their parents pressured them to work during high school.

3. Probably Won’t Open a Training Manual.

Make sure your training program includes YouTube-style videos. That’s what a workforce that grew up on smartphones responds to.

4. Speak Up.

Growing up immersed in mobile technology also means “it’s not natural or comfortable for them necessarily to interact one-on-one. According to an EY campus recruiter, one firm says it had to explain to its interns, “If you’re five seats away from the client and they’re around the corner, go talk to them.”

5. Top Priority: ‘Be Well-Off.’

Financial security appears to be Gen Z’s top goal – 58 percent of teens ages 13 to 17 say they’re already saving money. One in five Gen Zers have started saving for retirement. Two-thirds say they want to own houses and cars, compared to Millennials who prefer to spend money on experiences and other non-material purchases. The percentage of college freshmen nationwide who prioritize becoming “well off” rose to 82 percent a few years ago, according to UCLA.

6. Work Longer.

Gen Z is more interested in making work a central part of their lives and are more willing to work overtime than most Millennials, according to the University of Michigan. Gen Z is significantly more likely than older Americans to say that becoming a success is a result of hard work rather than luck.

7. Going the Extra Mile(s).

According to one report, when studious college students are encouraged to check in with a friend or hit the gym, they say that they can’t afford to take the time because, “they don’t want to fall behind,” says San Diego State psychology professor Jean Twenge, author of “iGen.” Gen Z, she says, is afraid they will not get “the good job that everybody says they need to make it” so they put in extra effort.

8. Recognition AND a Bonus.

Contrary to what some suggest about Millennials, it might be best to let Gen Z work independently. One company says that during a project, Gen Z was more interested in individual recognition and extra pay than teaming up with colleagues.

9. Sex, Alcohol, Driver’s License.

Gen Z is literally sober. Data from the Michigan survey and federal statistics show Gen Z is less likely to have tried alcohol, earned their driver’s licenses, had sex or gone out socially on a regular basis without their parents than teens from the previous two or three generations.

10. Technology ‘Genius’ Pt. II.

Gen Z is even more adept with technology than Millennials. According to agency Sparks & Honey, Gen Z multitasks across five digital screens compared to two used by the average Millennial. An EY campus recruiter in Chicago spoke of one young hire who created a bot to answer questions on the company’s Facebook careers page.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal; Patti Girardi, Valet Living; San Diego State professor Jean Twenge; the University of Michigan teen survey; the UCLA freshman survey; EY college recruiter; Ruby Tuesday; The Chicago Tribune; Harvard Business Review; and Michael Rosenthal, NAA