The next generation of talent is here. Gen Z, born in 1995 and later, is a cohort of true digital natives. Whereas Millennials came of age at the dawn of the internet and social media age, Generation Z has never experienced a world without it. Accessible technology and information is their norm, they can imagine conducting research project without trekking to their local libraries. Similar to Millennials, this cohort is 47% multiethnic and is expected to reach 2.6 Billion in population by 2020 globally.
Generation Z already wields a purchasing power of over $44 billion annually, per the National Retail Foundation. Expected to reach $3 trillion by 2020, shopping for Gen Z consists of a nearly unlimited choice of products, services, information and entertainment. The result is a consumer base that expects immediate gratification. But teenagers are more about experiences and less about material things. They use Snapchat and YouTube to share their learnings or to keep in touch with what others are taking in.
Gen Z is thoughtful about information that is collected on them, more so than generations before them. They are traditional when it comes to family and education.
According to Adecco's survey of 1,001 U.S. students that are currently in college or recently graduated and within the ages 18-24, Gen Zers are actually more influenced by their parents (42%) than the Millennials (36%).
They place more of a focus on personal connections as is evident in their relationship with their parents. They depend on those personal connections, including the ones with their parents, to help them land jobs, according to the survey. And they do this more than millennials (28% versus 20%.) Millennials tend to use online job boards the most (34% versus Gen Z at 27%.)
Gen Z is also more practical than perhaps you would expect. According to the Levo Institute and Adecco's Work & Happiness Report, Gen Z is also very concerned with finding a job, paying for their education, obtaining personal and financial health, and paying for a place to live on their own after graduation.
The survey found that 32% noted that finding a job was the biggest concern for their generation and 16% of the respondents ranked cost of education as their top concern. They don't want to go into massive debt because of their education like the generation proceeding them.
Gen Z’s aversion to risk runs deep, spontaneity and learning by making mistakes has been replaced by a group of serious-minded realists with palpable anxiety about a changing future. Gen Z was found to be more concerned about the cost of education than their millennial counterparts (21% versus 13%.)
However, Gen Z also very much wants to find their dream job, more so than millennials. They value friendly work environments (10%), flexible schedules (7%) and the highest salary (6%) but millennials care more about finding a job with growth at 41% versus Gen Z at 30%.
Much like millennials, Generation Z really do want to change the world they are growing up in, and it's possible, they will.