It is undeniable that youth is synonymous with change. We live in times of many changes; accelerated, simultaneous, exciting. Some are evolutions, others are true transformations, and of course there are those that open the door to revolutions.
Today’s youth fall into the Generation Z category. And they have come to turn almost everything upside down.
Depending on the period of your life, you can often see decadence in transformations that are, in reality, a leap forward.
I think in an ideal world many people would want to work a little less so they could study more, devote more time to hobbies, family and friends, even to themselves.
But this world asks us, demands from us, more effort, more dedication, more commitment, not less.
We hear more and more: work less, study less, make less effort.
When these times call for working and studying, studying and working, learning, improving, continuing to learn as much as we can.
Effort, discipline, learning and perseverance pay good dividends.
In meetings among people over 40, it is said that young people no longer want to work hard.
And it seems that this is not a perception but a reality.
Many go to their first job interview and the first thing they ask is how much vacation they have. Or they arrive on the first day of work asking about the time of departure.
A retired friend of mine pondered this attitude among young people. You, she told me, see a sign of decline and regression in the fact that Generation Z wants to leave the office early. But it’s wonderful, they’re smarter than we are, she said.
I have been trying for weeks to question my beliefs about the world of work. I was taught that you have to work hard, with constancy, with discipline, being punctual, respecting your elders, giving 100%.
I became a perfectionist, I enjoy my work very much, I am passionate about what I do, and it enriches me to contribute to society from what I do.
Many young people today want something different and that is where I have to put aside my mental absolutisms to try to understand and to understand them.
I find it difficult to assume entrepreneurship without experience, but wanting a life without an employer, but to be their own bosses, does not seem to be a symptom of any regression, but rather the opposite: a sign of progress?
Many are rebellious and nonconformist, but it is also true that they are sometimes interpreted as unaware or disoriented and become risk profiles and can cause vertigo for traditional companies, especially.
Youth, do you know that yours is not the first generation that longs for a life full of beauty and freedom? said the great Albert Einstein.
Data to decode the Z
Some 56% of Generation Z said they would quit their job if it interfered with their personal lives, and nearly half of them said they would not take a job with a company that did not align with their views on social and environmental issues.
It is difficult and wrong to generalize. It seems, talking to them, that there is no fear of failure and no feeling of fear of being wrong.
Failure is accepted as part of growth and is not stigmatized. It is no longer taboo. The value of trying again and again is recognized. Courage, daring, is encouraged.
Failure comes from the Latin ‘fracassare’ which means to break.
For those of my generation (generation X), perhaps what makes us dizzy is that after 3 decades of more or less controlling what we did and how we did it, these Z’s are coming to break everything.
Even to break with ourselves, to be different, freer.
The fact that they are seduced by rupture and innovation should not be frowned upon.
The members of the G Z, come with very clear ideas.
Even if they are very different from our understanding of the world as we know it.
Gen Zers want to stand out, not fit in.
Virtues can become defects, and vice versa, depending on how you look at it.
What role will these determined, enterprising, rebellious and misunderstood young people play in the next decade?
They understand and interpret the world of work differently.
Many prefer to learn by setting up their own company rather than gaining experience as employees of other companies.
Above all, their dreams come before the dreams of others. And the sooner they can make them come true, the better.
They are not willing to wait and put off their dreams. Although sometimes I ask them, what are their dreams? And I don’t get a clear answer.
We should not discourage young people from dreaming big dreams, Lenny Wilken.
By a 5-to-1 margin, Generation Z doesn’t trust companies to act in the best interests of society, and nearly one in four can’t recall a single brand they consider useful, purposeful.
Gen Z has five core values:
– Earning money
– Having fun
– Fulfilling your goals
– Taking care of your health and well-being
– Prioritizing your relationships
These values show that Generation Z wants a healthy work/life balance to ensure they have time for friends and family.
But who wouldn’t?
Emerging purchasing power
AdAge reports that Gen Z currently has $143 billion in direct buying power.
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services are very popular among Generation Z.
The search volume increased considerably by 1000% in 5 years.
Gen Z individuals report that talking to family and friends is the most common way they learn about new brands, companies and products. YouTube ads are a close second.
Calling it? The trend of shopping entirely online is not as popular among Gen Zers. Gen Zers are much more likely to shop in stores.
Many of them are now buying higher quality items than in the past and are almost 30% more likely than other generations to buy second-hand.
Influencing the workplace in ways we never imagined
The oldest members of Generation Z have just entered the full-time workforce for the first time, but by 2025, they will represent 27% of the global workforce.
Right now, they are beginning to lead the charge for several important changes. The first is work/life balance.
Nearly 40% of Generation Z members place a strong emphasis on work-life balance when choosing where to work.
Work culture and growth potential are the top two reasons Generation Z employees will stay with a company.
And they also demand more workplace benefits. They want flexible schedules, fully covered health insurance, free meals and substantial salary increases, just to name a few.
They prefer their employer to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Gym memberships, flexible spending accounts related to healthy activities and sabbaticals are benefits that are all the rage right now.
Employee wellness has become an issue in many organizations.
Forty-eight percent said they would prefer a hybrid work environment. Only 30% wanted to work completely remotely.
Nearly half of Gen Zers said they would like to own their own business. But many would not be able to pay their bills if they did not have that family support or livelihood.
Some of the most popular venues in the informal economy for Generation Z workers are selling custom clothing, selling artwork on Etsy and freelancing on Fiverr.
Searches for “Fiverr” have grown 326% in 5 years. The site is a hit with Gen Zers who hope to earn income through it.
Distrust of government and other organizations
A Pew Research report showed that 70% of Gen Zers believe the government should do more to solve problems.
Many studies suggest that this distrust could continue into the future.
This trend could have a major impact on the upcoming elections.
In 2020, Millennials and Gen Zers made up 37% of the eligible voting population.
By 2024, that number will increase to 44%, with all of the growth coming from members of Generation Z.
Gen Zers’ distrust goes beyond politics.
39% of Generation Z Internet users trust a brand to keep their data safe. They trust brands with their data far less than any other generation.
A Deloitte survey found that 24% of Generation Z does not trust business leaders, 30% do not trust traditional media and 49% do not trust religious leaders.
This trend may continue as members of Generation Z become adults, but some experts suggest that distrust is just part of being a teenager.
Mistrust of institutions has increased in almost all areas, but adolescents experience even more cynicism about institutions depending on their time of life.
They also live tiktoked, selfies, sharing a lot of humor, cynicism and irony, Instagramming and with the screen as their first life. Studies have reported that the average user spends 48 hours a month on TikTok. That’s two days. Twenty-four days a year – almost a month!
Ninety-seven percent say social media is their primary method for researching purchasing options.
Whether they scroll through influencer posts, ads or friends’ content, Gen Z’s storefronts are social first.
Many brands do not know how to approach and be in front of them on social networks.
73% of Generation Z only buys from brands they believe in.
There is a significant difference between older and younger Gen Zers.
Eighty-four percent of 14- to 17-year-olds said they make purchasing decisions based on value alignment; 64% of 18- to 26-year-olds said the same.
Previous generations did not expect private companies to be so involved in society.
Now, not taking a position on social issues is taking a position.
However, be sure to take yours authentically, because people can tell when you’re just doing it for the views.
71% remain loyal to the brands they trust, even if they make a mistake.
Trust is important for customers of all generations, but it is paramount for Generation Z.
Sixty-one percent of Generation Z will pay more for brands they trust, and 71 percent will forgive and even recommend brands they trust that have made mistakes.
What intrigues me is how Generation Z consumers say they care about sustainability, but that concern doesn’t always translate into the way they consume.
It has become fashionable to label oneself as a sustainable consumer, but it is quite another thing to see it reflected in one’s behavior.
In “The Fast Fashion Paradox,” consumers between the ages of 22 and 25 were surveyed to understand why participants continued to buy fast fashion despite their own desires to be more sustainable.
José Ortega y Gasset affirmed that “youth needs to believe itself, a priori, superior. Of course he is wrong, but this is precisely the great right of youth”.
Ten years ago I thought that the meeting of generations would be enriching.
Today I see with some concern that the disconnect between Generation X and Generation Z is growing every day.
Perhaps the generational clash will have an unprecedented impact. And in the world of work, especially.
Or perhaps it is time to open our minds to an era of unprecedented change and try to be more understanding, more tolerant, to assume that what is new is different from what we prefer, not to want to be right but to seek encounters that make the sum of visions and sensibilities enrich our present.
It will not be an easy task, but a tsunami of change is coming and there is nothing better than being prepared to surf the new wave instead of being crushed by it. Because tomorrow is today.