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Are You Prepared for Gen Z Tech Workers?

These days we’re all used to hearing about the alphabet. By that I mean Generations X, Y, and Z. Why didn’t sociologists start with A, B, and C? Perhaps that’s a matter for a different publication. What Tom Kaneshige is interested in is the very last letter (those between ages 16 – 20) and how they are functioning in the workplace.

The Secrets of Z

In an article for CIO, Kaneshige reveals all sorts of surprises about the cryptic cohort, Z. For instance, those of Gen Z actually prefer face time with their bosses as opposed to email, and are not as fond of text messaging and Facebook as we are led to believe. Also, short-term pay is not as motivating for those in Gen Z as it is for the age 21 – 32 Gen Y.

Like Gen Xers who watched their parents get laid off or forced into early retirement despite decades of service, the younger generations don't put much stock in company loyalty. Gen Yers expect to work for five companies in their lifetime, while Gen Zers plan to work for four, the study shows. Even having a “good boss” doesn't matter much in terms of preventing younger-generation employees from jumping ship.

For hiring and managing a mix of these age groups, it pays to know that the majority of Gens Y and Z both prefer to work in corporate office environments, but that not as many in Gen Z desire co-working spaces as is typically assumed. To manage the workers of Gen Z, the number one trait that employers need is honesty because, as Kaneshige states, Gen Z are more interested in having their ideas heard in the workplace and are not as eager to work independently as Gen Y.

Reality Bytes

Like their Gen X elders, those of Gen Z tend to be quite entrepreneurial. This should not be surprising, since Gen Zers are the children of Gen Xers. They differ from Gen Y in their lack of idealism in exchange for their parent’s realism. They tend to be less money-driven and are more prepared for work challenges as a possible consequence of the recession.  

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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