Why is Gen Z being mistaken for millennials

More tolerance and flexibility - this is how Generation Z will shape the labor market

Last year we “warned” that the millennial age was drawing to a close. The members of this generation are now adults and mostly integrated into the labor market. Instead, companies now have to prepare for their successors: Generation Z. As reported, they have different demands on their employers and are bursting with new potential. As always, the generations flow into each other and Generation Z begins, depending on the source, with a year of birth between 1997 and 1999. The following points show you exactly how the Gen Zers want to turn the world of work upside down. But first of all a word of reassurance: You will not be dealing with a spoiled “loser generation”, even if some people like to give you this reputation.

"Millennials on Steroids"

Gen Z has already received this name from various authors. But despite some overlap with the characteristics of millennials, the new generation is different from its predecessors. In addition to being impulsive, Gen Zers are primarily driven by a thirst for adventure and the desire for development. They want to enjoy their life to the fullest. After all, the picture of the future that was painted for them is rather dystopian: hardly any chances of retirement, global warming, global trouble spots and Donald Trump. Accordingly, they expect open-ended contracts from the world of work, which, however, leave room for flexibility, a good work-life balance, opportunities for home office and office sharing as well as companies that are digitally up to date. The following points in particular will change for the future labor market:

1. Cross-generational work

With the entry of the Gen Zers into the working world, four generations are now working together at the same time: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and the newcomers. This inevitably leads to conflicts, as there are people in every group who have prejudices against the others. Generation Z, for example, prefers bosses from the millennial era because they are more like them and are more able to understand their values. Conversely, some in the two older generations consider the newcomers to be a troop of losers or unworldly children. Values, beliefs and views collide and bosses have to take preventive action against them. Open communication plays a crucial role in this.

2. Focus on work-life balance

Millennials already wanted a balance between work and leisure. Gen Z will push this idea even further. Flexibility is very important - of course without letting the work drag. Many employers are already demonstrating openness and testing new work models such as the 25-hour week. After all, nobody works hard for eight hours. So far, these have mostly been startups and younger employers. However, even the conservative ones will have to follow suit soon in order to be able to convince new talent. This is demonstrated by a video by the Junge Herz agency:

3. Increasing range of further training

But not only the Gen Z changes the job market, but also technological progress. Skills that were indispensable in the past are now often out of date. It is therefore important that all employees, old and young, are trained accordingly. A lot will change, especially when it comes to dealing with AI, which is why bosses should regularly offer further training to ensure a smooth workflow with the new technology. But the associated preparation for upcoming jobs is also important to Gen Z, because hardly anyone stays in the same company until retirement.

4. Diversity is becoming part of everyday life

Both Gen Zers and studies say that cultural diversity in the workplace promotes creative processes and leads to faster problem solving. So it's no wonder that Gen Z wants exactly that from an employer. In addition, the members of the generation grew up with the fact that all people are worth the same (at least that should be the claim) and that everyone has the right to be themselves. Xenophobia or homophobia are not tolerated by the newcomers under any circumstances. And in addition to cultural diversity, tolerance is also expected for members of the LGBTQ + community. Regardless of whether employees of different ethnicities, fully tattooed people with colorful hair and piercings or trans men and women - the working world is definitely getting more colorful and employers have to be open to it.

This is how employers prepare for Gen Z.

In order to get in touch with the new generation, companies have to dare to use their communication channels: YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram can help make the company look good. In addition, modern application processes are necessary, which can also be carried out via smartphone. There is no getting around an appealing internet and social media presence. It is also necessary to address the needs and changes mentioned above. This is how the Junge Herz agency writes:

For representatives of Generation X it is unthinkable and it seems presumptuous to them when young people ask for an early evening, good development opportunities and flexible consideration for their private life when applying for an apprenticeship position. But this is what Generation Z is like: They know their possibilities, they know their value and they confidently demand the right framework conditions and an exciting area of ​​responsibility.

However, this should not create the image of young people who completely overestimate themselves. Or make unimaginable demands. After all, it has been the case for several years now that companies have to actively recruit talent. Applicants have a lot more options and - depending on the industry - often have more leverage. It will stay that way with Generation Z, too. In any case, it is worthwhile to recruit the new talent and not to stamp it. Fears of the future make them want to change something in the world. Even if it's only small steps. They are also digital natives, but at the same time want to encourage human contact at work. And so with Gen Z comes a generation that longs for flexible working models - which should not be confused with laziness! - and which is ideally characterized by tolerance. Companies will also benefit from their creative ideas and solutions.