You may think you are just beginning to get a handle on Gen Y or the Millennials, but in this fast paced world it’s time to start getting ready for Gen Z.
Cohorts from the world’s youngest generation are entering their formative years and depending on the years used to define the starting point of this generation, the oldest are already preparing to leave school, enter universities and start careers. Their influence is on the rise and you are going to hear a lot more about this generation. Get ready to plan for their integration into your workplace because their influence is on the rise.
A recent study by Goldman Sachs suggests that Gen Z could matter even more than Gen Y. Gen Z is already numerically the same size as Gen Y – previously the largest generation ever – and still growing. This will have big economic implications. This generation is the most diverse of all generations. Already statistics show that by 2020 over half of the kids in America will belong to ethnic minority groups or races. Diversity in the workplace will increasingly be a hot point. This generation is more engrossed and more integrated with the internet than any generation before. More than web based this is the mobile generation.
My two-year old son comes from this generation and the way he has intuitively taken to using my iphone is mind-blowing. Navigating from App to App represents no problem whatsoever. Swiping this way and that across the touch screen to find his Hungry Caterpillar or Cars movie presents no challenge and he finds things on the iPhone we didn’t even know were there. Already he may be more proficient at moving around the digital world than his digital immigrant parents, but I’m not admitting this or telling him, ever! One thing I will remind him of on his 21st birthday in front of all his friends is how he posted my iPhone between the veg trays in our fridge. Hidden here from eyesight, the phone remained “lost” in it’s cold hide-away for the next 6 weeks! Testament to the robustness of the iPhone it rebooted first-time with no problems.
Gen Z are likely to be a lot more financially conservative than Gen Y and Gen X. They are growing up during the period of greatest austerity since the Great Depression. Education costs and inequality is on the rise and the belief that you will be better off than your parents is not something that this generation will be able to take for granted.
Here is the video Goldman Sachs created based on their most recent research.