MLR

Next up in the workplace: Generation Z

Categories:

If you’re just starting to learn how to work best with members of the Millennial Generation, brace yourself. A whole new generation is starting to enter the workforce, and within five years they will hold 20 percent of the jobs.

young employees

Generation Z, a placeholder name given to young people born after the mid-1990s, has a whole different set of expectations and workplace behaviors than the generations that came before.

The first generation that has always had the Internet – one of the words batted around as a name for the generation is igen, after ipods and iphones – the new youngest generation of workers grew up watching their parents and grandparents struggle financially through the recession.

So, not surprisingly, money and security mean a lot to Generation Z, more than they do to the Millennial Generation before them, according to a study of 770 college students by Robert Half International and Enactus, a nonprofit group that focuses on entrepreneurship.

While Millennials have the reputation of valuing work/life balance more than a big salary, Generation Z graduates place a higher priority on salary – and managers should expect to pay more in the years ahead to attract the best young talent.

The mean salary the college students interviewed expect on their first job after college is $46,799, according to the study. But they plan to give employers their money’s worth. Three-fourths of the Gen Z respondents say they anticipate working harder than the generations before them.

Perhaps surprisingly, since the generation grew up with texting, emailing and social media, members of Generation Z much prefer face-to-face communication on the job. They want genuine connections that go beyond technology, and they want authentic and frequent feedback. They are looking for upfront input from their superiors before they start a project, and they want their supervisors to touch base with them often.

Like the Millennial Generation before them, young Gen Z workers are used to getting career-related input from their parents, the research report said, so don’t be surprised if they share their parent’s opinion on a project with you.

Members of Generation Z on the cusp of starting their careers expect to progress quickly, so the challenge may be to retain them. Lifetime learners, Gen Z employees may look for employment elsewhere if they feel they aren’t being challenged enough. They want rigorous training and mentoring. They are also innovative and entrepreneurial and will bring fresh ideas to the work place.

One-third of the Gen Z age students interviewed expect to be managing or supervising employees in a corporate environment five years after graduation. One quarter expect to climb the corporate ladder, and 20 percent want to start their own businesses.

They want to know that their ideas are valued. The biggest concern of the college students surveyed is working in a multigenerational work force in which Baby Boomers may not take their ideas seriously and view them as “kids,” the study found.

While 79 percent believe it will be easy or somewhat easy to work with Millennials, 45 percent think it will be difficult or somewhat difficult to work with Baby Boomers. The study’s developers said it is important for management to ensure that members of each generation treat the ideas and work product of other generations with respect.