Here Comes Generation Z…

‘Millenial’ is one of my least favourite words, in truth it is just behind Brexit in my top 10. I am not sad in the slightest to learn of its demise, it has been thoroughly overused in recent years.

Millennials are apparently responsible for everything from the decline of the high street, to the wholesale reduction in staff retention levels.

Who will replace this group? What do they stand for? How can your business harness their power? All great questions – get ready to welcome the new kids into the world of work, Generation Z or ‘Gen Z’ as they like to be known.

Gen Z was born between 1995 – 1999, so they are currently between 18-23 years old. Some traits of this group include:

Employers, not employees

A survey from Upfront Analytics in the US said that 72% of Gen Z wanted to start a business one day, with 61% stating that they would like to be an entrepreneur after graduating university. These aspirations are higher than predecessors.

Harder to reach than Millennials

Gen Z is incredibly tech-savvy and has always lived in a world of interconnectivity. Most of Gen Z are connected for more than 10 hours a day. No wonder they are often referred to as the ‘always on’ generation. Unfortunately, gaining and keeping their attention is extremely challenging. Gen Z much prefers Snapchat and Instagram over Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.

Creators, not just consumers

Gen Z wants to contribute, create and be part of something, they are opinionated and feel strongly that their voice should be heard. For this group, Youtube, Vine and Vimeo are two-way communications and research tools.

Similar but stronger opinions than Millennials

A Survey from Deloitte which questioned 1,844 Gen Z attitudes to employers, showed very interesting trends. This demographic is, on average, 33% more motivated than Millennials to see employers, present a reputation for ethical behaviour; allow opportunities to volunteer, and; to be seen promoting diversity and inclusion.

Attention spans are getting shorter

Several commentators have stated that this group have an average attention span of eight seconds or less, even when interested in the subject matter!

Given that all employers are seeking to attract and retain the next generation of talent, what are the key actions business leaders must take? My advice, follow the AIDA model.

Generate awareness of your employment offering in the right places, use online research tools to aid your decision making. Work hard on creating an edgy, relevant and if possible entertaining message that clearly answers the question ‘What’s in it for me?’. Finally, make it easy, I mean really easy, for the individual to find out more.

Justin Rush is a director at Belfast-based Abacus Talent Group. He specialises in advising businesses on research, advice and strategy on talent. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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