Generation Z has emerged as a population increasingly worthy of attention, especially now as its older members enter young adulthood. Born after 1995, Generation Z‑ers made up one tenth of the 2020 electorate; and while they share a number of characteristics with Millennials, their formative years have been shaped by a drastically different world, resulting in key differences in attitudes, tendencies and outlook. Statistics compiled by the Pew Research Center paint a clear picture. Here’s what we know:
One of the core characteristics of Generation Z is racial diversity. As America’s demographics continue to shift, Gen Z will be the last generation that is predominantly white. A slight majority of Gen Z‑ers (52%) is white; 25% is Hispanic, 14% is Black and 4% is Asian.
For many Gen Z‑ers, the backdrop of their early years included the country’s first Black president and the legalization of gay marriage. They are more likely to have grown up amid diverse family structures — whether in a single parent household, a multi-racial household, or a household in which gender roles were blurred. As a result, they are less fazed than previous generations by differences in race, sexual orientation or religion.
Millennials vs Generation Z – How Do They Compare & What’s the Difference?
Here is a look at the different generation demographics:
What is Generation Z?
Some who were born before 1997 might share characteristics of Generation Z even though they are technically categorized as Gen Y or even Gen X. It should also be noted that while Gen Z makes up a growing labor force, many of them are just beginning their careers, so less is known about their workplace preferences and habits than previous generations.
Common characteristics of Generation Z
There is a group of common personality traits and behaviors that this generation typically shares. While not every Gen Zer will have these characteristics or values, you might often notice the following when interacting with this demographic:
1. Gen Z expects to work with modern technology
Because of common exposure to different forms of technology in their personal lives, this emerging workforce also expects to use modern technologies in their professional lives. In fact, before “Generation Z” was declared their official title, other competing names were “Selfie Generation” and “iGen.”
2. Gen Z prefers in-person interactions
Gen Zs often value collaboration and want others to bring their unique perspectives to a conversation. An optimal work environment for Gen Z might include team meetings where colleagues can share their weekly wins.
It’s possible that this preference could change due to limited in-person interactions as a result of the spread of COVID-19. For example, the socially distanced workplace could heighten Gen Z’s preference for human interaction or it might give way to more flexibility. Regardless, employers and people managers may still find it useful to prioritize bringing a human connection to their virtual interactions with Gen Z.
3. Gen Z is entrepreneurial
Gen Z grew up witnessing others use technology to create profitable business ventures. As digital natives, they are primed to leverage this knowledge to create opportunities for themselves. They may have also developed business savvy by watching others develop, market and finance ideas through tools like the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.
4. Gen Z is less tolerant of authoritarian environments
Gen Zs have also grown up with the ability to share their thoughts publicly and receive real-time feedback through social media. As a result, this demographic may expect their ideas to be heard and respected in the workplace.
5. Gen Z embraces change
Generation Z’s views have also been shaped by environments that pre-date their impact like climate change, various forms of terrorism and the Great Recession. This may serve as their inspiration to lean into activism. As change agents, Gen Zs often seek jobs that provide the opportunity to contribute, create, lead and learn.
6. Gen Z values flexibility
7. Gen Z is competitive
Common Generation Z jobs
Here are some common jobs that Gen Zs could pursue:
Primary duties: Develops applications for mobile devices using Apple’s iOS operating system. The primary programming skills for this position are Objective-C or Swift.
Primary duties: Design self-running software to automate predictive models. They also take theoretical data science models and help scale them to production-level models that can handle terabytes of real-time data.
Primary duties: Also known as “sound engineers,” these professionals reproduce, mix and manipulate the equalization and electronic effects of sound. They deal specifically with the technical and mechanical aspects of sound and music.
Primary duties: Provide care and education for babies and young children. These professionals teach children, supervise their play and prepare them to succeed in school.
Primary duties: Demonstrating makeup techniques, recommending beauty products to customers/clients and educating them on products and services.
What is the Z generation known for?
- Diversity is their norm. …
- They are our first “digital natives” …
- They are pragmatic and financially-minded. …
- Many factors contribute to their mental health challenges. …
- They are shrewd consumers. …
- They are politically progressive — even those on the right. …
- Continue learning about Generation Z.