Move Over Millennials. Generation Z Is Here. And They’re Hungry

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A massive horde lurches toward adulthood, carrying with them a bevy of devices and a lifetime of tech immersion.

You can’t beat them. You’re going to have to join them.

Or, rather, invite them to join you. 

The generation of people born between 1996 and 2012 makes up nearly a quarter of the US population. Twenty million of those stand ready to enter the workforce.

We can’t believe it either.

But they’re here. And they’re coming for you.

What Do They Want?!!

Jobs. Good paying jobs. The good news for anyone hiring Gen Z candidates? A survey from Monster shows they’re more willing to work nights and weekends than either Gen Y or Gen X.

Like their millennial predecessors, they also want their jobs to mean something. Nearly three-quarters of Generation Z (74%) ranked the purpose of their work above salary in the Monster survey.

Of course they also want screens. Lots of them. The first true digital natives, Gen Z may be “the most digitally savvy generation yet.” 

So it’s hardly a surprise that more Gen Zers said texting, smartphones, and laptops will be essential to their work careers than any other generation.

Prejudge this reliance on tech at your own risk, though.

They’ve Got Plenty Of Brains, Thanks

A recent New York Times essay neatly illustrates how biased thinking about young people and tech can trip up otherwise well-intentioned folks.

Here's the story. A company that creates software to help high-school students narrow down their college choices invites a real live student to a board meeting to give input.

Smart move – the plucky young upstart’s a ringer for their demographic and the coauthor of a book about his generationGenZ at Work Book Cover 2-1.png

Then they almost blow it.

The teenager uses his phone throughout the first half of the meeting – gasp! Board members give him feedback. “If you can hold out on texting friends or checking your Twitter feed until the breaks, that would be great.”

Ouch. The guest feels embarrassed. And the company almost misses an opportunity to observe their target in action.

Luckily, it all turns out well. The young man explains he’s been taking notes. Turns out, that phone’s a computer! 

They all learn a valuable lesson: When it comes to people different from you, don’t make assumptions or marginalize.

And checking your Twitter feed? lol.

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Kim Moutsos

Kim Moutsos


Editor in chief of the GoodHire blog The Works, Kim Moutsos seeks out the latest advice on hiring, compliance, background checks, and the future of work. When she’s not reading, writing, or wrangling other writers, she’s likely on one of her daily runs (over 777 consecutive and counting).

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