By all accounts, the business landscape is evolving at breakneck speed, and young people are helping to fuel that rapid change. Generation Z, in particular, is poised to change the business world in a number of ways. For starters, young people are drawn to gig work, with more than half of Gen Zers reporting that they would choose full-time gigs over a traditional job.
For Gen Z, gig work is appealing for various reasons, including schedule flexibility and the opportunity to be their own boss. The gig economy also negates the need for in-person interviews, which may be awkward for introverts or those whose gender identity is fluid or otherwise complex. Yet, according to Forbes, Gen Zers are among the most extroverted generation, and are also considered “creative, passionate, market-savvy, media focused, and entrepreneurial.” And these are among the traits that Gen Z is bringing to the business world in 2020 and beyond.
The most significant factor among Gen Zers, however, is their diversification. In fact, the New York Times calls Generation Z “the most diverse generation in American history.” They are racially diverse, where one in four is Hispanic, and 14% African-American. Further, their overall views about identity are decidedly untraditional. Clearly, intolerance is more than frowned upon among Generation Z, who are bringing the concept of workplace inclusivity into the mainstream.
Gen Z and Workplace Diversity
A full 48% of Generation Zers aged 6 to 21 are from communities of color and are more likely to finish high school than previous generations. From there, 59% chose to enroll in college after receiving their high school diploma. No matter if young people immediately enter the workforce or want to pursue a degree first, fostering inclusivity in every environment is of paramount importance.
Of course, Gen Zers are an innovative bunch, and 41% of today’s young people dream of starting their own business, where diversity is both emphasized and celebrated. In the future, the nation is likely to see more and more small business owners with diverse backgrounds, including immigrants and their descendants. Those small businesses are vital to the economy, and the workforce employed by Gen Z business owners will come from all walks of life.
But the Gen Z workforce is more than just racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse — they’re also technologically savvy. Communication is a vital component of life for young people, many of whom even prefer the convenience of remote communication, such as texting, over in-person conversations. The business landscape of the future will likely further integrate remote communication channels into various workplaces, but that disconnection isn’t always a positive thing.
A Lifetime of Connectivity
For most members of Generation Z, the internet has been a near constant presence in their life. Considered “digital natives,” Gen Z was largely raised with computers and the internet. Thus, more than 60% of young people find it difficult to take tech brakes, where they go analog for a while in a world of constant connectivity.
The irony of constant connectivity is that it can make us feel more isolated from our peers, often fueling loneliness and social isolation. And studies show that Generation Z is the loneliest generation, data that doesn’t seem to mesh with claims of Gen Z’s inherent extroversion.
Social isolation is a glaring issue among Generation Z, and it’s important that the phenomenon doesn’t carry over into the business world. Businesses of the future will have plenty of opportunities for communication, chatting, and brainstorming via online platforms such as Skype, Slack, and others.
As Generation Z continues to infiltrate the modern workforce, we’ll begin to see an even bigger expansion and acceptance of the digital world. Gen Z may help bring further attention to the digitization of everything from social justice to cryptocurrency. Digital currency such as Bitcoin is an enticing (and exciting) concept to innovative small business owners looking to stand out from the competition. Gen Z-led small businesses are likely to embrace Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency, further harnessing digitization and connectivity within the business world.
How Businesses Can Recruit Young People
As Gen Z is largely tech-savvy and forward-thinking, businesses in virtually every industry are looking to attract and recruit young people. To do so, those businesses must ensure that their values align with that of young people, and that job security is part of the employment package.
The Gen Z workforce highly values a steady paycheck, generous benefits, and overall job security. Many young people watched their parents or loved ones struggle through the financial crisis of 2008, and have no desire to experience a similar fate. Further, they’re more likely to work for a company wherein workers are seen as valuable, rather than expendable.
The world is changing at a rapid pace, and Generation Z is at the forefront of that change. In the realm of business, dynamic young people are ready to lead the charge towards technological advancement, workplace inclusivity, and employment security.