Here’s What Gen Z Has To Look Forward To In The Workplace
Known as the iGeneration, Homeland Generation, Post-Millennials, or, more colloquially, as the screen addicts, ADHD generation, job-hopping techies, post-truth generation, and Soylent-obsessed Snapchatters, Gen Z will enter the workforce with the full weight of generational biases and misunderstandings aimed against them. But just as Gen Y inherited a broken economy and obsolete technologies, much of Gen Z’s experiences in the workplace will be a product of what we have given them. From 9/11 to the iPhone, to “business casual” and “team lunches”, Gen Z is already entering a world wholly different from that of their predecessors. Will they be professional meme Tweeters or end up going more traditional routes, like becoming capitalist monsters?
Whichever direction they choose, here’s what Gen Z has to look forward to:
1. Increased emphasis on culture fit
In recent years, “Culture Fit” has taken workplaces by storm. As employees are less and less satisfied with punching in and out for 8 hours a day at a boring 9-5, employers are emphasizing personality fit to ensure longevity. It’s expensive to hire, and employers want to make sure that you will like your new job enough to stay in it. Be sure to put your personality in your application: talk about your hobbies, what makes you interesting, and be sure to have an answer ready when the interviewer asks you about your “communication style”. Pro-tip: don’t link to your artsy Tumblr full of nudes or submit writing samples with salacious content— professionalism still matters!
Not sure how to communicate with older generations? Read these tips for communication between Gen X and Gen Y.
2. More direct channels of communication between leadership and lower-down positions
With Slack, open offices, “flat” organizational structures, and ridiculously young CEOs, we will see that entry-level employees will have more opportunity to learn from their elders (or at least their seniors).
3. Merit-based opportunities for growth
According to Forbes, “Millennial and Gen Z survey respondents cited honesty, communication, approachability, confidence and the willingness to be supportive as the key traits of a good leader. Among Gen Z workers, nearly 84% said they themselves aspired to be leaders, while 79% of Millennials said the same.”
Gen Z-ers don’t want to have to stay at a company for 10+ years to land a leadership position. They want to use their tech-savviness and ambition early on, and will therefore be drawn to companies that offer merit-based opportunities for advancement.
4. Less job security
The generation that will be most affected by the wayward ways of Millennials is Gen Z. Millennials are a notoriously dissatisfied lot, and have consequently become known as chronic job hoppers.
Employers have noted this shift, and are increasingly offering less job security, in exchange for hiring those who have had 10 jobs in half as many years. Gen Z-ers will find that they are able to get jobs based on skills, rather than experience, but that it will be easier and more common to be fired and get laid off.
5. Dogs in the office
Good luck working in SF or any other tech hub if you’re allergic to dogs. Man’s best friend has officially entered the workspace.
6. Gen Z will be ahead of the curve technologically
Accustomed to smartphones, tablets, and other technologies in every area of their lives, Gen Z-ers will be surprised to learn that not all workplaces share their tech savviness. Many companies use their own proprietary systems that are woefully out of touch with today’s technologies. This will be frustrating to our youngest generation: they will have to learn outdated systems and set aside their superior technologies, at least for a while. Eventually, internal systems will catch up to our modern world, but it will take time to overturn these technological behemoths.
7. Gen Z will be more politically aware and involved in identity politics
From gender-neutral bathrooms to PC language, to mental health awareness, Generation Z cares more about respecting minorities and being inclusive than previous generations. This doesn’t just mean equal pay; it means non-violent communication, accepting behaviors, establishing inclusive systems (like gender neutral bathrooms), and generally being “woke”.
8. Increased emphasis on online persona
This generation will be the most easily Googleable, and they know it. Employers will look for candidates who have interesting, yet professional online personas with large followings. Gen Z will consequently have both public and personal online personas, and employers will look for strategic social media profiles.
Are you a Millennial in need of advice? Here’s what a Gen X-er has to say to you.