Here at Allied Pixel, we find ourselves increasingly targeting a Gen Z audience in the videos we produce. Generation Z (aka post-millennials) generally comprises those who were born in the 1990s. They came of age during the Sept. 11 attacks and the 2008 financial crisis. In recent years, the first wave of Gen Z workers turned 18 and, in fact, the U.S. Census Bureau says this generation now makes up 25 percent of the population.
Each generation is unique. So what’s different about Gen Z? Every year since 1998, Beloit College has released its Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students about to enter college. Here are a few interesting things about the Class of 2020:
- There has always been a digital swap meet called eBay.
- Vladimir Putin has always been calling the shots at the Kremlin.
- Cloning has always been a mundane laboratory procedure.
- The United States has always been at war.
- They have never had to watch or listen to programs at a scheduled time.
- Each year they’ve been alive the U.S. population has grown by more than one million Latinos.
- If you want to reach them, you’d better send a text — emails are oft ignored.
- Books have always been read to you on Audible.com.
- DreamWorks has always been making animated creatures heroic and loveable.
- Bluetooth has always been keeping us wireless and synchronized.
Ryan Jenkins, a generations expert, has identified eight pivotal differences between millennials and Generation Z that will have an impact on organizational structure, workplace communications, employee training, and more.
- Realistic vs Optimistic. Seventy-seven percent of Generation Z expect to work harder than previous generations.
- Independent vs Collaborative. Seventy-one percent of Generation Z said they believe the phrase “if you want it done right, then do it yourself.”
- Digital Natives vs Digital Pioneers. Forty percent of Generation Z said that working Wi-Fi was more important to them than working bathrooms.
- Private vs Public. Seventy percent of Generation Z would rather share personal information with their pet than with their boss.
- Face-to-Face vs Digital-Only. Seventy-four percent of Generation Z prefer to communicate face-to-face with colleagues.
- On-Demand Learning vs Formally Educated. Seventy-five percent of Generation Z say there are other ways of getting a good education than going to college, according to Sparks & Honey.
- Role-Hopping vs Job-Hopping. Seventy-five percent of Generation Z would be interested in a situation in which they could have multiple roles within one place of employment.
- Global Citizen vs Global Spectator. Fifty-eight percent of adults worldwide ages 35+ agree that “kids today have more in common with their global peers than they do with adults in their own country.”
Gen Z is entering the workforce, and their desires are quite different from those of older cohorts in some key ways. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that by 2021, Gen Z will constitute a fifth of all workers. Here are their expectations for their careers and workplaces, according to MarketWatch.
In their first job, 70 percent said they want stability.
70 percent of respondents noted that finding a stable and secure job is preferred over a job with lots of passion that lacks security and stability.
Generation Z judge companies by their social media.
Having been surrounded by technology their whole lives, Generation Z will be more likely to view a company skeptically if its website is outdated or if its social media presence is lacking.
They are competing with each other — not with millennials.
72% of Generation Z said they were competitive with those doing the same job, as opposed to competing with millennials.
After the Great Recession, they’ve tempered their expectations.
Generation Z “are much more tempered in their expectations for post-college life.” They are inclined to be concerned with what their employer’s politics are and the types of companies they will invest in. Two-thirds cited equal pay and promotion regardless of differences in gender or race as a very important factor when it comes to trusting an employer.
So, what to make of all this? Certainly, Generation Z has some unique sensibilities, stemming from their life experiences and place in time. One notable aspect is their strong desire to be spoken to as individuals. That’s why personalized video is such an effective way to reach them.
Just as we have adjusted our messaging and tone for millennials, we need to tailor them to this group. It’s often helpful to have Gen Z folks review and comment on drafts to make sure we’re on target.
I’d like to thank Ashlie Thornbury at Campus Philly for sharing her research on Gen Z.