Gen Z workers are more confident, diverse and tech-savvy, and driven by passion and purpose. Currently, Gen Z represents approximately 30% of the total global population, according to data from the World Economic Forum, and by 2025, the generation is predicted to make up 27% of the total workforce. These are passionate individuals born between 1997 and 2012 who strive to change the world by advocating for a more diverse and inclusive workplace. How they go about it, though, is new and exciting. They are digital natives sharing different perspectives on technology, personal growth, and professional aspirations.
Read further to learn how Gen Z is currently transforming the workforce as we know it:
Resourceful and Decisive Job Seekers
Graduating from college is daunting enough, but graduating during a global pandemic can add another level of stress into the mix. Seniors were unsure of their next plan, and they faced internal and external pressures to find a job before they even walk across the stage at graduation. People who don’t attend college face these same pressures too, and it forces them to get creative with the ways they approach their job search.
Online platforms for professional networking have grown in popularity since in-person networking events were few and far between. With a professional social media profile, Zoomers can still make meaningful connections with others during the development of their career path. After determining what their goals are, Gen Z commonly takes the initiative to reach them.
Those in Gen Z have proven to be well at setting boundaries. They are known to stick to their gut when it comes to taking on certain career opportunities. Throughout a job search, they often ask themselves:
- Can I see myself at this company?
- Do my values align with the company's mission?
- Does this feel like the right thing to do for my professional development?
- How do my passions align with this job?
They don’t have trouble saying “no” when it doesn’t feel like the right fit or “yes” when they know it can set them up for success.
This ties into The Great Resignation that the labor market is facing today. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.3 million Americans left their jobs due to pandemic-related stress. Gen Z is entering the job market well-aware of trends and job opportunities. They are keeping their eyes open for jobs that will work with them through whatever comes next. Whether it’s finding a job with better pay or flexible with sick leave, young professionals are not compromising on their personal well-being. A job with flexible working hours can also give people the freedom to explore their own business adventures in the gig economy.
Gig Economy Players
Even though people are searching for traditional 9 to 5 jobs, others still find ways to make a profit from their talents and skills. Photoshop, screen printing, and student-run campus food delivery are examples of how creative Gen Z is getting with their business ventures. Aside from the creator’s originality, the internet is an important factor in the success of these side hustles. Sometimes all it takes is one viral TikTok video to increase traffic to their site. Social media platforms are also great for marketing to specific demographics, especially if their target market is mainly internet users.
Not everyone has the means to flourish on their own, though. The playing field can be very unequal for people looking to start their own business or share their skills. Accelerator programs like Put Me On Gopuff aim to support underrepresented entrepreneurs by giving them a platform to grow. The PeopleFund’s BIPOC Small Business Accelerator takes a similar approach, focusing on areas where the need for support is greater than others. These are meant to encourage and uplift entrepreneurs regardless of their race, gender, or ability.
While we all experienced online and remote work differently, students may have had one of the most difficult adjustments. They’ve had to adapt to virtual learning to complete their degrees and make adjustments in their lives to do so. However, through this difficulty, they learned soft skills to help them become successful, like patience, teamwork, and emotional intelligence. These soft skills paired with hard skills will make them dynamic employees who shape workplace culture.
They are adaptable in other ways, too. Being digital natives means that they practically grew up on the internet. They have been keeping up with news and content for years, and they can easily determine what’s “in” and what’s “out.” Since trends change from day to day, it’s important to be prepared to switch tactics at any moment. Having a player on your team that knows how to switch hits is beneficial for everyone because they’re more likely to knock it out of the park.
In a 2020 poll, 56% of Gen Z consider themselves creative, as opposed to 44% of people aged 24 or above. Their creative skills are important to both their personal and professional lives, and they think outside the box. That’s why we call them “Generation Create.” They’ve started clubs and organizations for the issues they actually care about. Being a “Renaissance worker” will return, meaning someone with various interests who has many talents and is knowledgeable in different areas.
Right now, organizations need to invest in their people, starting with those entering the workforce. How are you aligning your employees’ passions with their job roles and meeting their needs? At work, engaging interests can motivate and keep employees productive. Interests can influence what employees prioritize, and we measure ten Interests including Outdoor, Scientific, Technical, Persuasive, Social Service, Artistic, Literary, Musical, Administrative, and Numerical, helping you connect each of these to job tasks that can increase Gen Z’s success.
New employees mean new ideas and ways of doing things. Gen Z may be young, but they have a lot of fresh skills and talents that will be valuable to the workplace, virtual or otherwise.
To read more about other generations at work, click here to read about gearing your business toward millennials.