Oh, Millennials. Their need for outlandish experiences, remote work options and avocado toast made a real impact on our work culture and society as a whole. It feels like we’ve finally figured them out, right? I hate to tell you this, but a new wave of young professionals are about to hit your office. Generation Z, the generation following Millennials, will soon be entering the workforce. The oldest of the demographic will be turning 23 this year and graduating from college. Like a proverbial wave to the job market, there are more than 61 million Gen Z individuals in the U.S., who will be making up one-fifth of the workforce by 2021.
Generation Z – who are they?
Born between 1996 and 2010, this is the first group to not remember a time before internet and cell phones. Despite these modern-day luxuries, they watched the U.S. economy, and likely their family, struggle during the Great Recession. They are technologically savvy, as well as hard working. Though they are in some ways similar to Millennials, they hold their own values and belief systems and are eager to show it to the world.
What to expect from them in the workplace
- Importance of job security – Growing up in the recession, they likely saw their parents struggle with finances and possibly even job loss. Whereas Millennials may be known for their drive for a purpose or experiences, Generation Z are driven by a stable paycheck and job security. Additionally, one survey found that 35% of the Gen Z participants have already started saving for retirement. Providing great benefits, healthy company culture and a clear path for career development within the company will help this generation feel more secure.
- True digital nomads. Generation Z’s can seamlessly switch to different digital screens without pause. Going from smartphone, to tablet, to laptop; they can multitask and quickly adapt when needed. This innate skill will make them an asset as technology advances and processes are in flux.
- More competitive and independent. Gen Z’s like to stand out for their own accomplishments and merits. They value working hard, and enjoy the reward that comes from it. They’ll quickly be looking for opportunities to manage their own projects and teams, and seek out ways to continue learning and honing their skills.
How Generation Z may affect business travel
- Expects to be catered to. Though they can be thought of as the “me me me” generation, it’s for a pretty understandable reason. We live in an age when we can research, watch, and buy essentially anything with the swipe of a finger. It will be interesting to see how this generation customizes their air travel or hotel experiences to their accustomed preferences. They’re willing to put in the extra effort to get the perks they know they enjoy.
- Prefers communicating face-to-face. Somewhat surprisingly, 53% of Gen Z would rather discuss matters in person, over technology like instant messaging or email. This may impact the amount of additional business travel required in the near future to cater to Gen Z employees or Gen Z partners.
- Will expect more out of your technology. Instant connectivity is a given for Gen Z’s. They are accustomed to instant messages and chat boxes to resolve issues. From a traveler standpoint, they will expect these types of features to resolve their travel problems. From a company point of view, now is the time to reflect on your internal communication and technology systems. Are they intuitive and mobile friendly to your future workforce? Thinking proactively about ways to increase connectivity may help avoid some inevitable hurdles in the next few years.
Overall, Generation Z is excited to get to work and get things done. Providing a work environment with efficient technology and policies focused on their goals is the best way to start off on the right foot.