I was sitting in my office, hacking away at my computer when I came across a C.V of a graduated student applying for an internship position. What caught my attention weren’t his various academic accolades or his exemplary grades, it was the fact that he was born in 1995!!!! He met the various criteria for selection and he was called in, when I met him he was even more bright-eyed and bushy tailed than I imagined.
And if that’s how I saw him, how did he see me?
‘Generation Y’ more commonly known as millennials are a demographic cohort following ‘Generation X’, they were born between the early 1980’s and mid 1990’s. Conversely, ‘Generation Z’ are the demographic cohort following millennials, they were born between the mid 1990’s and currently there is no consensus as to when this cohort ends.
Over the past 10 years, the fields of Human Resources and Organisational Behavior have been plagued with articles, blogs and ‘how-to’ manuals on millennials in the workplace. These have ranged from how to keep millennials engaged in the workplace to what form of remuneration millennials find meaningful to how millennials interact with other generations. This stemmed from the fact that ‘Generation Y’ were the new kids on the block, thus their integration into the workplace was of key importance. However, the oldest millennials are now in their mid-30’s. They’ve been in the workplace for over a decade, and hold senior positions, some of them own the work place. Meanwhile, ‘Generation Z’ are joining the workforce in entry level positions.
The question to be asked is, what differences can we expect between these 2 generations in the workplace?
Millennials vs Generation Z
|Gen-Z grew up amid global recessions, war and terrorism. They are expected to be more cautious and pragmatic, thus are more likely to take less risks and seek security more than their flexible millennial counterparts.|
|Generation Z have better aptitude for face-to-face interactions because their social media sites [Skype, FaceTime, SnapChat] have features for sight, sound and motion. Conversely, millennials lack the skills of face-to-face interactions as they spent their formative years safely hidden behind a texting platform.|
|Generation Z might be less educated than their Millennial counter-parts as they have been exposed to more and more entrepreneurial and online opportunities than their millennial counterparts who linked success to educational aptitude.|
|Generation Z will be the true digital natives. Think about your 2 year old nephew who can operate a laptop.|
|Generation Z will join the workforce much faster than millennials, as educators emphasize on learning being more practical and less theoretical.|
|Generation Z have shorter attention spans than millennials if that’s even possible! They’ve been bred to digest information faster, think of your Snapchat and 6 second video vines.|
As most Generation Z are still in a classroom, most of this is just speculation. Furthermore, it’s usually not acknowledged that individuals born on the same day may experience life differently due to gender, culture, religious, race, and geographical differences. However is fascinating to recognize that the fad that is the millennial is coming to an end, makes you wonder, what’s next!