Generation Z is the first group to be born into a totally digital world. They’re also the first generation to be born into a world overflowing with student debt (a total of $1.2 trillion in the U.S. alone!). Here’s what that means for the working world:
Generation Z may be hesitant to sign up for thousands of debt as I, and many millennials, have. But their digital savviness may prove powerful in terms of self educating. About 33 percent of the generation uses the web for learning. Will those skills replace college and propel the generation right into the world of work? Fifteen percent of those in North America agree that they would be interested in heading straight to work if they’d receive education in the field, 24 percent in Asia, and 20 percent in Europe.
It also means that the demographic will be interested in finding out more about how companies offer education to people without university degrees. Overall, nearly 40 percent of Gen Zers in North America are interested, 76 percent of those in South America, and 67 percent of those in Africa. Instead of pursing expensive college educations, Gen Z may be more interested in alternative (and I’m sure very digital) learning. Education doesn’t have to mean university, because there are plenty of other choices. Instead of receiving a formal education, Generation Z is more interested in employers who teach in the field instead of in the classroom. For many of them, their careers are their classrooms.
If anyone is interested in starting their own companies, it’s Gen Z. Fifty-five percent of them strive to own their own businesses in the future, which is very similar to the thinking of my generation, millennials. The biggest driving force behind these startups? Sixty percent want to be their own boss. Doing good in the world is another reason, as 60 percent of them want their businesses to make a positive impact on their communities.
In terms of career goals, while 40 percent of Generation Z is interested in prioritizing a work-life balance, 54 percent of the millennials who came before them cared most about that. An equal amount (40 percent) of those in Generation Z value job security, versus 44 percent of millennials.
Employer branding teams need to approach Generation Z in a 100-percent digital way. This is a generation who is constantly plugged into five different devices, even more than the previous generation, which uses three on average. They also love social media, making social platforms great tools on which to engage with the demographic. But employers need to forget channels like Facebook and Twitter. Gen Z prefers visual and temporary forms of social communication, such as Snapchat. They move fast and their attention span is as short as eight seconds, meaning that those who wish to catch their eye need to move fast, be smart and keep things interesting.