Generation Z (Gen Z) is a demographic group born after 1995. The oldest members of Gen Z are turning 21 this year, which means that some have already graduated from University. Gen Z is a much smaller demographic cohort than Gen Y (also known as millennials).
It would be easy to assume that Gen Z are just an exaggerated version of the generation that came before them, spending even more of their lives on social media, doing even more of their shopping online, and demonstrating an ever-greater collaborative nature. But Gen Z grew up in a starkly different historical context than millennials, which has given them a distinct outlook on the world.
Millennials invented Facebook, shopped from their smartphones, and moved from satellite TV to Netflix. Gen Z, meanwhile, doesn't remember life without these basics of 21st century life. Millennials came of age during a time of economic expansion and were shocked to find a diminished, difficult job market after university; whereas Gen Z sees a tough job market as the norm. They are a generation that has been shaped by the recession and are prepared to fight hard to create a stable future for themselves.
Market research has shown that compared to any generation before them, Gen Z is less trusting of brands. They have grown up in an era where information is always available via the internet, social media, etc. They can research products and brands and see other users' reviews of them online.
Gen Z are financially cautious. They grew up hearing horror stories about how many millennials ended up living at home after university, sitting on a mountain of debt, so they tend to save more and spend less than millennials. In a recent study, 89% said they remain optimistic about their futures, which is higher than any other generation on record.
So what should you be aware of when you are thinking about hiring Gen Z employees? Gen Z wants to do work that makes a difference and has a positive impact on the world. But they’re also more concerned about job security than the generation just before them.
They were at a very impressionable age during the financial crisis. This implies Gen Z would rather develop a career in one place than hop from employer to employer.