female worker part of generation z australia using 3d printing machine
Managing people

A snapshot of Gen Z

Look around your workplace. It's likely you have employees in the age range of 18 and 24 years - Generation Z. Let's take a closer look at this generation. 

Who is Gen Z?

In the realm of ‘generation speak’ this group is referred to as Gen Z. However, there are many ways to describe this generation: 

  • zeds
  • zees
  • iGens
  • the dot.com kids
  • bubble-wrap kids
  • the new millennials
  • post millennials
  • digital integrators
  • screenagers
  • throwback generation

According to McCrindle Research, they are the demographic cohort following the millennials and were born from 1995, with a cutoff in 2009. They are the largest generation ever, comprising around 20% of Australia’s population and almost 30% of the world’s population.

All of their formative years have been lived in this century, and some people believe Gen Z has experienced more change in their lives than any other generation. This large, diverse, and digitally-entrenched generation is fast dethroning the millennials and becoming the trend-drivers.

Research study on Gen Z undertaken by The Center for Generational Kinetics found this new generation is already very different from millennials. 

It’s argued that the most important generation-defining event that separates millennials from Gen Z is the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, in the USA. While 9/11 is the defining moment for millennials, Gen Z doesn’t remember it at all. It’s a history lesson they watched on YouTube or learned about in school. 

Understanding Generation Z characteristics

To understand Gen Z, you need to understand their backstory, their consumer behaviour and culture, and a little about what makes them tick. This will give you insights into how this emerging generation is bringing a new worldview, core values and different expectations as customers, employees, and consumers. You will understand the traits of Gen Z, how to manage and lead them effectively in the workplace.

According to McCrindle, one in two are predicted to obtain a University degree, and by 2025 they will make up 27% of the workforce. In their working life, they are predicted to have 17 jobs and establish five careers.

They are the first generation to be a truly global one, made possible through breakthrough technology and culturally diverse times.

Raised in an age where selfies, Instagram, and Twitter are part of everyday life,  their self-worth is affected by social media more than any other generation. They visit YouTube frequently and love expressing themselves with memes, Snapchat and Instagram.

The rise of technology has enabled things to happen quickly, if not instantly, and information is available to them 24/7. They are visually engaged and seek instant gratification. This list of characteristics means they can be impatient if things don’t happen quickly.

They are seen as digital integrators, having integrated technology seamlessly into their lives. They opt to watch an on-demand video summarising an issue, and prefer messages with images, visuals and sounds over text, and simple, short, and interactive content.

They may have a shorter attention span because they’ve grown up in an age full of distractions. 

Gen Z is rapidly entering the workforce, and while it’s important for employers to understand their characteristics and values, it's equally important they are treated as individuals.  

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