Who is GenZ? Celebrating the talent of the future.

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You might be familiar with traditionalists or the silent generation of 1925-45, baby boomers of 46-63 or Generation X of 64-78. However, I am sure you are very familiar with the frequently used term, millennial. I myself, have been referred to as a ‘typical millennial’ on various occasions and told that I am ‘too young’ or ‘lack experience’ so, I decided to take it upon myself, to do some research into what a ‘typical millennial’ actually is…

Timeline displaying 4 generations.

Lo and behold, millennials, also known as Generation Y, are born between the years of 1979 and 1995* – bound together by coming of age during a time of severe financial crisis and incredible technological success. This generation are pioneers of change! It should be no surprise that they are working differently, yet they are commonly referred to as eye-rolling, lazy, and compulsive job hoppers?

How do I know this? Not because I have carried out the research, but because I have found myself at the hands of age discrimination, in many multi-generational workplaces. This millennial society is psychoanalysed every day and is constantly belittled, by comments such as ‘kids these days’, ‘entitled to everything’ and ‘only motivated by money’.

The top challenges in managing multi-generational workplaces are:

  • Communication styles
  • Flexible working
  • New idea’s Vs. the Status quo
  • Generational stereotypes
  • Culture clashes

People born after the Second World War, are having to adapt to the working styles of their digitally savvy colleagues. Whilst younger employees, are finding themselves somewhere along a scale – at one end they are friends with the experience and traditional ways of working and at the other, they are the enemy of the status quo.

Surprisingly, from spending time researching the characteristics of different generations, I found out that I don’t fall into the millennial age bracket – being born in 1997 does have its perks. I actually fall into the next generation, widely referred to as Generation Z.

Timeline displaying all five generations.

Gen Z is made up of individuals who are born between the years of 1996 and 2010.

  • By 2020, we will account for 40% of all consumers and we will be the largest generation ever, equalling 30% of the world’s population!
  • We will be the second ‘igeneration’, who have 24hr access to social media and are digital natives.
  • We want to travel and prefer experiences over goods.
  • We are multi-taskers who are honest, authentic and highly competitive and we can easily divide our attention between platforms.
  • We have high expectations and require more freedom and a better work/life balance because 60% of us will want a job that impacts the world.
  • We will demand workplace equality and career growth, over high salaries as 55% of us are more likely to start our own business than our predecessors.
  • 1 in 2 of us will be university educated and want a career away from ‘the 9-5 norm’ doing something we love.

We are no longer searching for pound signs, but for the ability to pursue a passion for a job/role that provides security.

We will work ‘with’ the organisation, not ‘for’ them.

So the next time someone questions my ability, in the workplace, in reference to my age, ‘typical millennial’ traits or any other discriminative stereotype. I will educate them about GenZ (our traits, our motivators, our demands) and gently remind them they are referring to the talent of the future.

*Various versions of the years in which millennials fall into. I have used the most common.

Written by: Lucy Ford – Consultancy Assistant @ Kiki Kirby Coaching + Consultancy Email: lucy@kikikirby.co.uk

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