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Ready or Not, Here We Come

A global survey of Gen Zs uncovers insights about how this new generation is going to shake up the way we work, learn, and communicate.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Generation Z has an estimated 57 million members and is larger than Gen Xers by an estimated 9 million people. We are starting to enter the workforce in huge numbers, and organizations need to understand this demographic to be ready for us to enter the workplace –for the next 14 years. Are you ready to recruit and retain Generation Z?

XYZ University surveyed 1,801 Gen Zs globally to uncover insights about how this new generation will shake up our work, learn, and communicate. Here are a few key insights into Gen Z.

Gen Zs are interactive learners.

55% said they prefer to learn new skills by doing. 7% prefer to learn by listening. Professionals across all businesses and industries, take note. From how we educate to how we engage employees or plan events, this is a crucial insight.

Traditional methods of education and onboarding will not work with us. People, especially in education, should think of more effective ways to engage us as students and new employees. Due to the hyperconnected world around us, we acquire knowledge very quickly, and prefer to learn in interactive or visual ways. Remember, YouTube teaches us a lot.

However, 38% of respondents said they prefer to learn online. To appeal to Gen Z, organizations need to understand that the technological aspect of learning needs to be embraced, not rejected.

Download “Ready or Not – Here Comes Z”, XYZ University’s white paper on Generation Z which analyzes workplace shifts likely to occur and tips on what your organization should be doing to prepare for Gen Z's arrival into the workforce.

Gen Z is career-focused.

Millennials are often criticized for their unwillingness to enter the workforce in traditional ways. Gen Z is the opposite. We understand we need to work hard to be successful and that we may have to compete with our peers to work our way up a corporate ladder. We are realistic, and many of us know early on what career we want to pursue. 21% already have a job in their career of interest, and 48% know what career they want to pursue. Only 3% of Gen Z said they haven’t thought about their career yet.

We are also fortunate to have access to more opportunities. We are participating in extracurricular activities based on our career interests (40% of respondents). Organizations like DECA and Junior Achievement allow students to learn more about business in an extracurricular setting. Zers are also taking classes at school focused on their career interest (51%).

The biggest influencers of these career interests are parents and teachers. 55% of Gen Z said their parents were the primary influencer of career decisions, and teachers came in second at 33%.

Generation Z prefers face-to-face communication.

It may seem that Gen Zs might be glued to their laptops and mobile phones, updating their Snapchat streaks or watching the latest YouTube videos. But contrary to popular belief, 43% of Gen Z prefer to be communicated face-to-face. The text comes in second at 24%.

However, there is a fine line. The challenge for managers, teachers, and anyone else who leads meetings and delivers lectures is to create more engaging and valuable content than what we can get on our phones.

Nothing keeps us off our phones as much as an intriguing conversation. We seem to be on our phones so much because their content is often more exciting and valuable than the surrounding environment. However, when we communicate about something that matters, we seek authenticity and honesty. This is best achieved in person.

Knowing these three insights that Gen Z are interactive learners, are career-focused, and prefer face-to-face communication will help shape how organizations recruit and retain this talent pool. Content and interaction need to be engaging and valuable. Specific fields, like education, may require major shifts in thinking. Leaders, bosses, and supervisors better be ready when Gen Z lands at their doorstep to engage and develop Gen Z as they are driven and career-focused.

Get the entire white paper findings in “Ready or Not –Here Comes Z,” which includes workplace shifts likely to occur and tips on what your organization should be doing to prepare for Gen Zs arrival into the workforce.

The author of this post, Josh Miller, was XYZ University’s director of Gen Z Studies at the time of writing this post. 

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