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.
Ready or not, here we come.
We are Generation Z. And we are about to shake up the way the world works in almost every way imaginable.
Generation Z, according to the U.S. Department of Education, 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 is going to shake up the way we 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 key insight. Traditional methods of education and onboarding will not work with us. People, especially in education, should be thinking 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. In order to appeal to Gen Z, organizations need to understand that the technological aspect of learning is something that needs to be embraced, not rejected.
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 very realistic and many of us know from an early age 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 interest (40% of respondents). Organizations like DECA and Junior Achievement give students the opportunity to learn more about business in an extracurricular setting. Zers are also taking classes at school focused on our 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.
Yes, it may seem that Gen Zs might be glued to their laptops and mobile phones, updating our Snapchat streaks or watching the latest YouTube videos. But contrary to popular belief, 43% of Gen Z prefers to be communicated with face-to-face. 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 content more engaging and more valuable than what we can get on our phones. Nothing keeps us off our phones as much as an intriguing conversation. The reason we seem to be on our phone so much is that the content on it is often more exciting and valuable than the surrounding environment. However, when we communicate about something that matters to us, 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 needs to be engaging and valuable. For certain fields, like education, this 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 also includes workplace shifts likely to occur and tips on what your organization should be doing to prepare for Gen Zs arrival into the workforce.
Miller is XYZ University’s director of Gen Z Studies. Tune into his The Gen Z Podcast launching in February.