There is no lack of research, opinions and media coverage of the habits and attitudes of Millennials – otherwise known as Generation Y (typically defined as being born between 1980 and 1994).
Businesses have barely figured out how to market to and manage them. Now, they are confronted with a new generation of young people, Generation Z (typically defined as being born between 1995 and 2009), that are entering the consumer world and, imminently, the workplace.
Digital is in their DNA: These young people have already been labelled as screen addicts with the attention span of a grasshopper that are keen to save the world and fix the environmental mistakes of earlier generations.
But is this who they are and what they want?
We decided to ask them…
In a survey conducted in Spring 2015 with 312 young people between the ages of 11 and 18 years across the world Strategy Dynamics Global SA went out to find out whether the popular stories about the world’s first fully digital generation really make sense. It turns out that perhaps the fiction needs a dose of reality.
Digital may be in their DNA – but talk to them!
Of course Gen Z love their electronic devices and are not really happy to share them. Only 20% of Gen Z would do so, although 83% would gladly share their books and 72% are happy to share toys/games. Surprisingly though, this generation of screen addicts actually prefers to communicate face-to-face (69%) rather than through technology. The old-fashioned notion of picking up a phone to chat is the next best thing with 41% indicating this as a first or second preference for communication.
And don’t use email!
Email is the least preferred communication method by a long way – begging the question, is email dead? Telcos and social media firms also need to recognize that while they may think their respective platforms are very different, Gen Z does not really differentiate between instant messaging and texting. What does this mean for future communications platforms?
Does Gen Z really want to clean up the mess from earlier generations? Well, not really.
It is not that they don’t care; they do care about the world they live in but they are not too keen on doing anything about it, at least not yet. For example, only 34% of Gen Z think it is important to work for a company that is environmentally conscious. It may be an awareness issue but Gen Z is perhaps still a little bit selfish, focusing more on buying things for themselves and saving money for the future versus charity.
Work for a multinational? Perhaps, if it has great people, but we’d rather work for ourselves
Getting a good job is top of mind among Gen Z’s hopes (79%) and fears (71%). This may reflect why a majority of them also see doing well in school as a high priority. But for organizations to succeed in attracting them, it will be important to value, excite and educate Gen Z by offering the opportunity to work with great people in a great workplace – 82% demand this – while over 70% want to be recognized, valued and respected, and to have opportunities to learn and progress in their careers. They worry less about the newness of a company’s technology (25%), perhaps because they assume they will bring their own. Or start their own company – 28% expect to do so, while mid-sized companies are more attractive (to 29%) that multinationals (to 25%).
Jobs may be important, but so are health and healthy relationships
It’s a generation that is built on relationships, networks and constant communication, both virtual and physical. Making good friends is a hope for many (73%), while the health of their family is a big worry for 65% of Gen Z. As concepts of work-life balance give way to an acceptance of the need for work-life integration, health and healthy relationships across all aspects of their lives are likely to characterize Gen Z’s attitudes to life, the universe and everything.
For more detail and insights please click on this link to access the presentation highlighting the survey results.