The Good Old Ways of the Newest Kid – Meet the Generation Z
Generation Z shares a kinship, Generational DNA with the Silent Generation
There is a saying that “traits skip a generation” and it’s a good phrase to throw around once in a while albeit there are no tall facts supporting it.
And as we are skipping generations the great-grandparents or grandparents of Generation Z will be going “Atta-boy” or “Atta-girl”. Generation Z in their miniature ways get where the Silent Generation is coming from. Yes, we are talking about the five-screens-on-an-average and an 8-seconds-filter laced Gen Z. They share a generational DNA with the Silent Generation aka their grandparents. A fancy way to lay down the fact will be to give the credit to the generational cycle. The Passionate and Woodstock going Boomers were followed by skeptical Generation X and they are followed by practical albeit idealistic millennials. The clock of generations comes full circle with Generation Z.
Generation Z or Generation Hedge, as many call it, do not hit pubs that often. They say no to drugs and are making teenage pregnancy a strange anomaly. They are as grounded as the Silent Generation and are motivated by security. You cannot blame them, they were infants or kids when 9/11 struck the world, their growing years saw the U.S. in a perpetual state of war. And to top it all they saw their parents struggling with jobs or worse, losing jobs as 2008 recession made its humbling entry. The Silent Generation had it worse with World War II and the Great Depression. But, you get that we are talking about hardships and tough to unpleasant times at its base. Growing up in an environment fraught with uncertainty upgrades your value for security, it turns you competitive and independent.
Independent, Hardworking and Practical to the point of Machiavellian
As the oldest of the Generation Z turn 22 and the entire population of this cohort forms 32% of the 7.7 billion people around, millennial values of collaboration and idealism take a back seat. With 77% expecting to work harder than the people before them and 88% feeling confident about their future, they sure have a diligent and sure foot in their professions. They go Jerry Maguire on their prospective employers and want them to “Show me (them) the money” with a mean out of the college salary expectation of USD46,799.
Saves Money and Resourceful – All over Again…
They want to earn more and they want to save more too. The average Gen Hedge browses without buying, they use coupons and wait till discount is available. So, there are not many impulses buying decisions to marketer’s despair. Like their great grandparents, they are resourceful too with more than 22% of 13-21-years-old making money online and 76% saying that they wish their hobbies could bring in some money. Resourceful and pennywise, aren’t they a sight for the sore eyes, great-grandma?
The other side of the coin of being resourceful and independent is that the people from this cohort aspire to be entrepreneurs more than the cohorts before them. 61% of college students today say that they want to be entrepreneurs rather than working under a banner.
You Got Me at Social Media
As the Generation Z goes from a trickle to a majority in the workforce, the old ways of the millennials (yes, they are old news now) might have to take a back seat. If you thought millennials were multitaskers, then meet the Generation Hedge, who toggle between apps and five screens at a much faster rate than the previous cohort. Millennials may go all tech-savvy and look hopelessly dependent on technology, but they grew up in an era of wired telephones, cable TV and letters from the U.S. Mail. Generation Z grew up with five screens at their disposal. They are hopelessly hooked to their screens and social media completes them. For them, their reason for not drinking is that they have got a better friend in social media.
The Modern Family?
They may be individualistic and yes, Generation X and Boomers might think that they are narcissists with a strange screen addiction, but the picture is not complete. Not just yet. This cohort likes to stay close to the family and will not prefer to move across the continent for a promising job. This trait matches their desire to be their own employers. We are again seeing an influx of family people, who play solo for the sake of an intense sense of competition. And the factor that sets them apart from the grounded Silent Generation is their 8-second filter, a compulsive need to toggle and multitask.
It was just yesterday (or even today morning) when you smiled and figured out the millennial equation and now you need to draft a whole new strategy for Generation Z. The silver lining is that you can always refer to the Silent Generation mantras to get your Gen Z game up and running.