A New Generation of Work

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A New Generation of WorkWill Kitson
May 22, 2018

Younger generations are bringing a new approach to the workforce, and organizations wishing to attract the next wave of top talent will need to adapt accordingly, say experts.

A generation of post-Millennials are shaping the world of work. Known as Gen Z or iGen, it is the generation of people born after 1993, and research suggests that it’s already displaying interesting attitudes towards careers that could become the status quo for years to come.

Millennials – those aged between 24 and 38 – were, as of 2017, the largest workforce in the US, making up 38 percent of the working population. Forecasts suggest, however, that the ranking is set to change in the coming years. Gen Z is now the largest population in the US, according to Nielsen data, and as this new generation begins seeking employment, it will overtake Millennials as the biggest workforce.  

As Gen Z’ers become an increasing presence in the workplace, they’re likely to bring their approaches to work with them. As the first generation that grew up with Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat at their fingertips, the impact of social media on them can’t be understated, and may make them more entrepreneurial by nature, according to Arun Sundararajan, a business professor at New York University. “If you’ve grown up managing your personal brand on Instagram,” says Sundararajan, “you’re much better wired to think of yourself as an individual brand instead of a cog in an organisational machine.”

That’s not all. Because Gen Z’ers have grown up during a recession, they tend to be more realistic and driven, according to Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University.

Their natural technological adroitness will not only make Gen Z’ers more adaptable in the workplace, it will also mean that employers will have to adapt if they want to attract top talent. Jason Dorsey, president of the Center for Generational Kinetics, a research firm that studies generational demographics, says that companies that recruit through traditional means could lose out. “We tell employers, if you can’t apply for a job through a mobile device, then you’re not going to get Gen Z to apply.”

Besides being tech-savvy, Gen Z’ers have also been identified to be extremely self-motivated and take calculated risks, making them a generational force to be reckoned with in the workplace. Those that are willing to adapt to the rising tide of technocrats could benefit greatly, and those that resist could find find themselves out of favor with the next generation of workers and the new generation of work.

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