You may have already been told this, but by 2020 millennials and Gen Z will make up 59% of the global workforce. That’s having a profound impact on the way businesses are having to change and adopt workplace policies.
I recently read a fantastic blog highlighting some insight around the demographic, published by Work180. Check it out here. It reaffirmed many of the themes Jack and I have explored on the podcast recently. Fundamentally this is a group that care less about their pay-packet than those before them. But, and there is a but, I think it’s misleading to talk about these two groups as one larger whole.
I am a millennial, but as Jack delights in reminding me, I’m way older than him. Gen Z’ers are born post-1996. My brother-in-law was born in 1995, even he doesn’t quite make the cut. However I was at his birthday last year and my wife had to lead me away from the young, shiny people because I kept telling the same story about Jarvis Cocker. I was nonplussed when they looked blankly at me, Hayley was simply embarrassed for the both of us. I have completely different motivations than Harvey Nash’s most recent youthful hires. To put us in the same category is flattering to me, but a little offensive to them!
Earlier this week I sat down with Jay Richards, founder of DivInc. They help businesses connect with the Gen Z’ers via a brilliant incubator programme. He clearly articulated that millennials want to build, but Z’ers are more socially aware. The environment matters to them. That’s not to say that I don’t care, I do… but I’m the move fast and break things generation. They’re more likely to be attuned to responsible leadership (such as the kind Doteveryone are encouraging). Whilst of course there is overlap I think we should be aware of the areas where the two generations stand apart.
Businesses should be aware of the differences and embrace social concerns. Work180’s blog mentions Zendesk. They have implemented unlimited volunteer days with the strong belief that employee volunteering leads to happier customers. That’s the kind of progressive thinking that I can see attracting Gen Z’ers in numbers.
Maybe the narrative grouping the two demographs together is the fault of aging, grey haired (or balding) millennials like me trying to cling onto the autumn of our youth!? I simply don’t think it is honest. Millennials are in management roles now, and we need to recognise that companies don’t have to adapt to us… we need to adapt to the new kids in town.
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