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November Spotlight: Traits of Generation Z — Backed by Research by Lindsay Bragg

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 8:45 AM | Angela Dawson

As talent development professionals, we share a desire to make an impact by helping people grow in their careers and at our companies. We are constantly preparing and adapting to what people need to be successful, which is why it is critical that we understand our different audiences.

This month, Lindsay Bragg, a content marketing manager at InsideOut Development was willing to share research with our Utah ATD Chapter about the next generation to hit the workforce: Generation Z.

3 Traits of Generation Z—Backed By Research

Who is classified as Generation Z?

Generation Z—AKA Post-Millennials, AKA Gen Z, AKA the iGeneration, AKA the Digital-Native Generation—typically contains those born between 1996-2010. Gen Z started entering the workforce in 2017, so it’s already past time to start thinking about how to accommodate this new generation.

Why should we be paying attention?

Research shows that Gen Z will make up almost a quarter of the global workforce by 2020, making them the fastest-growing generation in the workforce. The internet, smart phones, September 11th, the Great Recession, and equality movements have all shaped the Gen Z viewpoint. They see and react to the world differently and have developed some unique attributes. Once organizations understand the events that influence Gen Z’s worldview, they are better equipped to empathize with the priorities many members of Gen Z share.

What can your expert research tell us?

We surveyed more than 1,000 members of Generation Z (Gen Z for short) to get their thoughts and expectations for a workplace and researched hundreds of articles to compile an Ultimate Guide to Gen Z in the Workplace.

Here are 3 key traits we discovered about Generation Z:

1.     Gen Z are socially responsible.

Gen Z’s familiarity with diversity and the fight for fairness pressures them to drive society forward, making them one of the most stressed generations yet.

2.     Gen Z are well-educated

It is estimated that by 2020, two-thirds of all U.S. jobs will require education beyond a high school diploma.

We asked Gen Z if they felt a need to gain additional education to combat this trend. We found that nearly 70 percent believe they need at least a bachelor’s degree in order to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Nearly 80 percent fear they won’t be able to get their dream job without at least a bachelor’s degree.

3.     Gen Z are entrepreneurs.

Gen Zers anticipate being just as likely to work for multiple companies throughout their career as Millennials, but they are much more entrepreneurially-minded.

In the Huffington Post, TEDx speaker and organizational development consultant Crystal Kadakia wrote, “72 percent of high school students want to start their own business someday. 61 percent expect to start a business right out of college.” This means that Gen Zers are 55 percent more likely to want to start a business than their Millennial counterparts. Kadakia continued, “little do employers know, but Corporate America is quickly becoming the ‘backup’ option—what do to if all else fails.”

What do you want talent development professionals to take away from your research?

As much as we talk about “generations” and all the ways each new generation will revolutionize the workplace, the changes we need to make to accommodate them don’t really need to be all that drastic. As we analyzed our research, we boiled Gen Z’s workplace needs into 4 places to start—and they aren’t all that shocking.

1.     Gen Zers want feedback and open communication.

2.     Gen Zers want a good relationship with their boss

3.     Gen Zers want a safe place for failure.

4.     Gen Zers want help building confidence.

Adapting your workplace and your managers’ leadership techniques to accommodate these four Gen Z workplace wants will ensure your workplace is ready to recruit, retain, and magnify the talented individuals of Generation Z—and any generation for that matter.

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