My life is online.
I communicate with my friends and classmates via social media videos. I read and listen to books on my phone and I type projects on my computer. Everything I do is associated with technology. I have no need to read the newspaper when I can easily know what’s going on by going on any social media platform.
There's more to Gen Z than just our online content consumption though, and these nuances will affect the future workplace.
This phrase started on TikTok and most, if not all, Gen Zs can relate to it:
"We might not ask for extra ketchup but we will make a difference in the world."
For those that aren't Gen Z, this quote is a way to explain that while we may be too self conscious and nervous to ask for extra condiments, we are determined to make our world a better place. And we certainly aren’t afraid to stand up for what’s right. For me, that’s what I resonate most with. We believe in what’s right and supporting the cause.
“ shows that Gen Z -- which has been called the -- deals with far more body image, mental health, and cyberbullying issues than any other age group has in the past. Experts have also called Gen Z despite all of their digital connectivity options,” shares Pamela Bump from Hubspot.
With this being said, what Generation Z lacks in confidence we make up for with passion, knowledge and a technology advantage. We aren’t “lazy” as people stereotype us as. In fact, we are extremely hard workers that want to improve the world for the better. We constantly strive for success in everything we do.
Generation Z are now between the ages of 5-25, which means that if we haven’t entered the workforce already, then we will soon. Generation Z is said to make up 30% of the workforce by 2030.
What will this mean for the workforce, and what should you expect?
1. Technology to reduce mundane, repetitive or strenuous jobs
I believe we can expect smaller tasks to be performed by AI, rather than have us do strenuous or outright boring jobs that could easily be completed by a computer.
Gen Z’s attention span is only 8 seconds, whereas the Millennials’ is 12 seconds.
These few seconds may not seem like a lot but every second counts for us Gen Zs. We find it much easier for us to learn by skimming over sites, and scrolling down on social media. TikTok has earned its success from short, 6-15 second videos and a “For You” page that we can scroll down through.
2. Wisdom of the crowd as the most reliable source of information
Gen Z is already attaining information online or via social media. Crowdsourcing or wisdom of the crowd, through trustworthy and reliable sources, can build innovative techniques or ideas for our industries. The process will also enhance the crowd’s interaction with the company.
As this article explains, “Gen Z isn't just disrupting the workplace. These consumers have very different expectations around how brands sell to them as well. Seventy-three percent of Gen Z said they preferred brands to contact them about new products through Instagram, with Snapchat following as the preferred method at roughly 50%.”
In marketing examples, Oreo, Pepsi and Patagonia have all taken advantage of this technique, and it is growing in popularity. With the “100-day twist challenge” Oreo has had a 110% growth in fan interaction via social media only a few months after the campaign was launched.
Keep in mind, information must flow through a reliable, diverse, and decentralized source. I think this will be widely used in the future. I use this technique regularly to figure out the crowd’s opinion by simply uploading a question story on my Instagram which leads me to get others input and answers on my topic.
3. Technology will be the primary way to interact with our employer
My generation perceives email as spam, and we prefer to interact through applications. Voice commands and video are also popular with us, as opposed to 100% text-based communications. I suspect that technology will be the primary communication channel for all aspects of our work, with less face-to-face interaction.
“Gen Z has a deep understanding of how technology can transform the way we work and live. That’s why 80% said they aspire to work with cutting-edge technology, 91% said technology would influence job choice among similar employment offers, and 80% said they believe technology and automation will create a more equitable work environment,” explains Dell Technologies.
For those of us still in school, the education system is continuing to change as we know it. With most of us schooling online due to COVID-19, we will rely even further on technology. Even though technology was already incorporated with learning at school, this really pushes it even further.
My generation will be more tech savvy entering the workforce than any previous generation.
We’ve grown up with iPhone, Wi-Fi, and social. We’ve never not had access to the internet. We’ve never looked up the conjunction of a word in a dictionary, we’ve simply consulted our dear friend; the internet. We take pride in trying to make a positive impact on the world.
Like every generation, entering the work place will be a different experience than our parents and grandparents. The times are changing and the workforce must change with it. As cliché as this all sounds, the workforce will adapt and learn new ways to interact - and it will change the way of work in general.
Elise is a Generation Z that is currently writing three novels and plans to be a cardiothoracic surgeon - after finishing high school and university.