Area Development: Who is Generation Z, the next workforce pool?

As Gen Z makes its mark in the labor force, forward-thinking companies will create workplace strategies to accommodate and support both generations’ work styles and preferences.

  • Brian Corde, Managing Partner, Atlas Insight

Millennials have long been the scapegoat for younger generations’ less desirable characteristics. With not-always-founded perceptions that millennials are unmotivated and self-centered, hiring managers across various fields have had plenty to consider when recruiting young workers. However, the era of the just-out-of-college millennial is over.

Enter Generation Z. With the oldest Gen Zers born in 1997, the first wave of this generation will graduate from college this year and officially enter the workforce. They may share some characteristics with millennials, but they’re in a class all their own. Gen Z currently makes up 20 percent of the U.S. population and they’re rounding out at 32 percent globally.

Generation Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse workforce generation to date, and they spend the most time online of any generation—six to nine hours daily. Gen Zers’ parents’ lives were rocked by the 2008 recession, so these young workers crave financial stability and take fewer risks than millennials. Their parents also avoided “helicopter parenting,” so Gen Zers are also generally more independent than millennials. They are more educated than millennials, too, as high school dropout rates decrease, and college enrollment rates increase. So how will Gen Z fare in the future of work?

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