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Looking Forward to Generation Z in The Workplace

 News flash for everyone in business in the year 2021: millennials are old hat; it's now all about generation z and what they can do for the workplace. 

If your business hasn't considered the changes it will need to make to meet future generations, now is the best time to start.

Who Are Generation Z?

Generation Z is the generation that was born roughly between 1995 and 2015, they have grown up in the shadow of the 2008 financial crash, and colloquially they are known as zoomers.

Much like millennials before them, Generation Z has grown up with technology at their fingertips but, unlike the millennials before them, this generation is a lot more tech-savvy, they are a lot more marketing savvy, and they are much more concerned about privacy than millennials ever have been.

Looking Forward to Generation Z in The Workplace

To an outsider, it may seem that millennials and generation Z are very similar, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Millennials grew up in an era of boom and were surprised by the financial crash, they are also seen as much more optimistic yet naive.

Generation Z, or zoomers, are generally more pragmatic, and they are savvier to things that sound too good to be true, especially when it comes to finances and working practices.

What Are Gen Z's Qualifications?

Generation Z puts a lot of value on qualifications. They generally see qualifications as more important than years of experience, and they have the benefit of being managed by millennials who understand the struggles of being seen as incapable in the workplace.

Education is an important topic for zoomers, and more generation Z workers are likely to take advanced degrees such as the MBA business administration masters to further their careers and work towards running or even owning their own businesses.

Due to the fact that zoomers grew up in the shadow of the financial crash, they are generally seen as more hard-working than most generations before them, as they value the time and effort that people put into education and day to day work, knowing that it can be taken away at any time with another crash.

While millennials were more likely to open businesses and be entrepreneurial, generation Z isn't known for the entrepreneurial spirit just yet, preferring to be more reserved and pragmatic with their time and money. They are fairly new to the workplace, though, and there's every possibility that this may change.

Improving the Careers of Gen Z

The zoomer generation puts strong value in careers and working hard, and especially puts strong value in great leadership, which can be demonstrated by anyone of any age.

While some zoomers seem to poke fun at millennials, most zoomers understand the struggles that millennials faced in the workplace when they first entered and voice similar complaints themselves.

Although it is difficult to tell the impact right now, the global health pandemic of 2020 and 2021 is also likely to affect the choices of zoomers in the workplace and how they see their careers going forward. 

It's already been noted that zoomers, on the whole, pride themselves on why they are working over the salary they are getting.

Remote Working

Much like the millennial counterparts before them, zoomers will be much more attracted to roles that can offer remote working and flexibility as part of their bonus packages.

While many of us have discovered the joys of working from home and remote working during the global health crisis, one of the biggest factors affecting the zoomer generation is that of housing prices.

Housing prices in most developed countries continue to rise exponentially and usually not in line with salaries. For zoomers to have any chance of owning their own home in the near future, they're going to need either rich parents or to be able to live somewhere that is not quite as popular or urban.

For example, in the UK, many zoomers will be looking for careers outside of the capital city, London, because the house prices are completely unaffordable for most starting or even mid-range salaries.

For companies hoping to welcome zoomers to their team as soon as possible, it might be worth investing in remote working and offices in more rural locations where house prices are lower.

Working with A Purpose (and a good salary)

Zoomers focus their life on working with authenticity and purpose in mind.

As mentioned above, the zoomer generation is less likely to focus on salary and more likely to focus on purpose. Having grown up with the financial crisis taking its toll, they will understand that life is short, and that money comes and goes much more than any other generation, aside from perhaps the war generation.

This doesn't mean, however, that boomers don't want a good salary. The desire to work with a purpose should never be confused with the desire to work for a much lower salary, and with zoomer generations used to and interested in social media, companies that consistently pay low wages to their workers should be wary of hiring zoomers because they will not take it lightly.

To attain the life goals such as the goals that every generation has of finding a life partner, getting married, having children, owning a home, going on nice holidays, etc., zoomers will need to be earning a good salary; especially as salaries have stagnated now for a good few years.

Business Authenticity

Business authenticity will be another big issue for zoomers going forwards.

With the social justice movements taking over much of the developed and western world, businesses that are transparent and authentic are more likely to be businesses that zoomers wish to be involved with and wish to be associated with.

Zoomers will see their role in companies, not just as a generic worker or a number, but much more as someone who is involved with the business' purpose and its very core values.

For this reason, businesses need to understand the mentality of zoomers and why working with a purpose and being authentic is so important to them.

Unlike any other generation, Zoomers are more likely to take a stand when their company does something that they disagree with; this could be a shock for companies who are used to having a compliant workforce who doesn't generally ask questions.

Flexible Working 

Taking a step back from workplace politics for a moment, one of the other biggest things businesses can do to improve the careers and working lives of generation Z is to offer more flexible working patterns.

Flexible working has been a buzzword in business for many years, and, for many businesses, it is seen as something that may only be offered temporarily to women who are either going on maternity leave or just coming back from maternity leave, but in today's working world offering flexibility in the workplace is good for business.

As globalization quickly takes a toll, and businesses find the need to be open and operative 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, offering flexible working patterns to those who are new to the business and new to the industry could solve a problem.

The issue of offering flexible working patterns to employees who have been with the company for a long time is often one of the employees working the same patterns they always have done because it's easier. 

When you have an influx of new people into your business who aren't used to working a standard 9 to 5, this is the perfect time for your business to invest in new working times and new working directives, and they can be a huge benefit to your business and its ability to operate on a global scale.

All of this can be offered while packaging flexible working as a huge benefit that your company offers the new generation Z workers. In general, this is a win-win for everyone.

Flexible Career Patterning

Besides flexibility in working, generation Z will also be looking for flexibility in their career paths and career patterns.

Becoming a digital nomad was a popular dream for millennials; with more businesses turning towards location independence and remote working, being a truly flexible and free digital nomad could be a standard reality for generation Z.

It's very unlikely that the next generation will have a standard linear career pattern as they emerge into the workforce; what we are likely to see more often is what is known as a portfolio career. Portfolio careers consist of many small job roles that may or may not be as related to each other as previous generations would have done.

This chopping and changing of careers for generation Z will mean that you will hire a very flexible and very well-experienced person who has the ability to see what the business needs from a number of different perspectives. 

This is going to be a huge bonus for businesses moving forward into the new digital age, as they find new ways to engage the generations, including generation Z.

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