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The attention has been on Millennials for long enough. While Millennials are still an important part of the workforce, employers must not forget that there is another generation fast coming into the workforce – Gen Z (born after 1995).
By 2019, Gen Z will represent more than 20% of the workforce and its high time to understand who they are and how they think.
A new research commissioned by Swiss Education Group, and conducted by Alexandra Broennimann, consumer behaviour specialist, researcher and university lecturer, No Square Design, found that 81% of Gen Z were concerned about how successful they will be in the future.
Furthermore, when compared to Millennials, 70% of Gen Z believed that lots of money are evidence of success compared to 44% of Millennials respondents at the same age.
Speaking of money, 66% revealed that they expect a 9-14% increase in their annual salary each year, otherwise, they might leave the organisation when a better opportunity comes along.
Thankfully, as much as they value success and money, they are willing to work for it. The research also found that seven in 10 of this new generation viewed success as dependent on hard work with little or nothing to do with luck. More than half (68%) also felt they needed to work harder than the previous generations. In fact, more than 80% prefered a perfect job over a perfect relationship.
At the press conference unveiling the study results, Broennimann explained to Human Resources: “There is much more going on, they go for money because money is security for them, if another job offers them more money and more security, they will not hesitate.”
She added that while money is something they look for, they also look for good leadership and connection.
“The money is something they go for, but if you give them something more, if you give them real life connection, if you motivate them, they will stay.”
However, employers should note that Gen Z saw a clear distinction between a “first job” and a “dream job”. 84% felt they should not spend more than three years in their first job and more than one in six (63%) felt they should reach their dream job within 5 to 7 years after starting their professional life.
READ MORE: Why Millennials can’t be job-hoppers
But what do these emerging professionals seek for in their first job and dream job?
The research revealed that when it comes to their first job, the most important factors are: the opportunity for career growth and stability, fulfilling work, and a friendly work environment.
In contrast, when it comes to their dream jobs, the most important factors are: salary, leadership development, clear career path, work culture, work-life balance, and travel opportunities.
At the same time, this generation proved be tough bunch to engage, with both passive and active attention spans being the lowest across generations. When passively engaged, the average attention span of a Gen Z individual is as short as 8 seconds. Even when participating in an activity they enjoy, they were found to lose interest in as little as 12 minutes.
“It can be catastrophic if we continue to hire them and manage them the same way and keep disregarding who they are and how their brain operates,” Broennimann wrote.
The research also pointed out that in contrast with Millennials, who set their sights on changing the world, Gen Z revealed that they were content with making the life of people close to them better. The research found that less that 2% would like to work for a non-profit organisation.
Surprisingly, as the first generation of real “digital natives”, 78% of Gen Z still felt face-to-face communication is the best when it comes to expressing feelings, while 18% were more comfortable with messaging, and 4% preferred calling. Despite that, 70% admitted that they communicate more using technology (mainly texting) out of convenience.
Another interesting point to note is that only 9% of this generation would like to work from home, and only 17% would like an open office. While almost three quarters of Gen Z (74%) preferred to work as part of a team, they want their private zone be it an office or cubicle.
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