While Millennials are busy redefining the workforce, there is an entirely new generation about to enter it. Gen Z is defined as those who were born between the mid-1990s and the second decade of this century, with the oldest of the cohort embarking on their early 20s. Millennials, by contrast, are in their mid-to-late 20s and 30s.
While there are similarities between the two generations, research conducted by the Levo Institute and the Adecco Millennial Economy Report, suggests there are some major differences when it comes to career planning.
In the survey of [1,354 people between the ages of 18 and 24], 50 percent of both Millennials and Gen Z cohorts felt optimistic about their job search, but their views on educational preparation differed.
Most Millennials (78%) felt college did not adequately prepare them for career, while the Z Generation (68%) were more likely to be satisfied with higher education and the resources it provided upon graduation.
Even more surprising is the gap between the two generations when it came to their career priorities. Like Millennials, Gen Z cares about finding a meaningful career and a compatible work environment, but they're more pragmatic when it comes to the realities of employment. Consider the findings on Gen Z:
Their top concerns are paying for their education, affording their own place to live (and not going back to live with mom and dad).
“There are 5 generations in the workforce currently — Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Z — and each needs to be managed with an understanding of their specific needs and motivations," says Joyce Russell, President of Adecco.
So what can employers do to effectively recruit and retain both Gen Z and Millennial employees?
"Without realizing it, some employers treat Gen Z and Millennial employees as interchangeable," explains Russell. "However, to have a diverse and high performing team of employees, companies must take the time to understand the differences between these two generations and make efforts to engage each.”
Both of these groups value new experiences and skill-enhancing projects that provide interest and increase their marketability.
Employers need to keep these young employees engaged with new challenges. Both generations respond to encouragement with respect to their strengths, as well as insights about their weaknesses. But employers also need to keep in mind the subtle differences between the two cohorts. For example, Millennials are more likely to favor working independently, while those in the Gen Z demographic are more accustomed to working within a community and crowdsourcing.
Like Millennials, Gen Z expects workplace flexibility. In turn, they are comfortable and proficient at working anywhere and everywhere. Companies also need to be keenly aware that Gen Z are digital natives, and their social media profiles are more ingrained in their lives than generations that came before them. Facebook (64%) and LinkedIn (42%) are the top sites respondents use to research employers.
The report also recommends letting these younger generations lead. Let them bring new technology into the mix or be the manager on a project. They may be new to the workforce, but they already bring to the table some valuable tools and mindsets. What's more, they're the future.
(Images by Ollie Millington/Redferns/Getty)