Many Gen Z's are still in the “I wanna be a spaceman/princess!” stage of professional development, but those of high school and college age provided some insight into what the future may hold for job seekers and hiring managers.

Share story

Some in the media are calling them “post-millennials,” “the iGeneration” or “Gen Tech.” But most of us who were born in the 20th century still call them “kids” — and for good reason.

Just when we thought we were getting used to the millennials, aka Generation Y (those born between 1980 and the mid-1990s), demanding attention in the workplace, along comes — brace yourselves — Generation Z. Following the logic of generational progression, Gen Z would represent the 21 million people born between the mid-1990s to, well, those still in diapers.

A recent “Gen Y and Gen Z Global Workplace Expectations Study,” by consulting firm Millennial Branding and staffing company Randstad US, surveyed more than 2,000 people in these demographic ranges from 10 different countries, asking them about their future job prospects.

Many Gen Z’s are still in the “I wanna be a spaceman/princess!” stage of professional development, but those of high school and college age provided some insight into what the future may hold for job seekers and hiring managers.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

I want it my way. One trait that both Y’s and Z’s share is the desire to be their own boss, whenever possible. But the entrepreneurial urge is even more prevalent in Gen Z (17 percent who wanted to start a business) than in Gen Y (11 percent). If this group of enthusiastic workers can’t quite be their own bosses, they certainly want to have their ideas heard and a stake in their company’s future.

The return of face time? Although post-millennials have been marinating in digital technology since they were born, there seems to be a refreshing backlash growing against social media. More than half said they prefer in-person communication over emails, texts and IM chats.

Life in the not-so-fast lane. About two-thirds of millennials said they enjoyed multitasking at work, compared to just over half of the post-millennials. Fewer people in Gen Z said they preferred a “fast pace” at work (59 percent) as opposed to today’s hyperkinetic Gen Y (68 percent), suggesting a need for employers to offer jobs in which workers can focus on fewer tasks.

Ladder climbing. Neither group expects to stay at one company for life, of course. But when asked about what motivates them professionally, the post-millennials said they were driven mostly by opportunities for advancement within the company (34 percent), followed by better pay (27 percent) and doing meaningful work (23 percent). Corporations, take note.

Randy Woods is a writer and editor in the Puget Sound business publishing arena and a veteran of the local job-search scene. Email him at randywoods67@gmail.com.