iGen: who are they?

There’s been a lot of negativity in literature about how Millennials work and communicate as employees. From being disloyal and coddled at home, to expecting to climb the corporate ladder with incredible speed and minimal effort; theories on millennials in the workplace have been well documented and somewhat harsh. While some of these beliefs have proven to be true, the negativity placed on Millennials (roughly born from the early 80’s to mid 90’s) seems to have been largely unfounded. In reality many employers have reported that where workplace flexibility is supported for a new recruit, Millennials can thrive and are willing to work just as hard as any other generation. Nevertheless, just as we are starting to understand how to get the best from Millennials, there is a new generation hitting the work scene that we need to get acquainted with.

Meet Gen Z, or more affectionately “iGen”. This generation are our most recent school leavers. Born between the late 90’s and early 2010’s, there are interestingly some distinct differences between this generation and the Millennials before them.

Jean M. Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University provides an excellent insight into iGen. Below are some of the differences compared to Millennials she points out which will help employers recruit and manage this new workforce more successfully.

  • iGen are more focussed on work. They are more willing to work overtime to get the job done and make work a central part of their lives. Having experienced the recession as children this generation likely realises they are going to have to work hard to make money.
  • They grew up more slowly as teens. They have taken longer to work, drive, and date than previous generations, no doubt due to the influence of the internet and social media. Due to these trends, more young people now arrive in the workplace with less experience and less independent decision-making. Twenge recommends giving iGen careful instructions for tasks and warns they will likely need more guidance than previous generations.
  • iGen have lower self-confidence than Millennials at the same age. While Millennials might have expected to be CEO of the company within 5 years or felt entitled to promotion, iGen are less optimistic about their career prospects and are also less likely to consider entrepreneurship, preferring stability over risk taking.
  • A standout for this generation is that it socialises differently to Gen Y and Gen X before them. They prefer to use their phones instead of getting together in person, and this directly impacts their desire to make friends or be in contact with a lot of people in the workplace. Therefore, employers may find that the social aspects of work such as outings and social clubs will hold less appeal in the coming years.

Understanding the drivers of the newest workforce generation will assist your organisation to recruit and better manage its work and teams. Tapping into the unique talents this generation will bring to the table is a no brainer, as iGen are also our next generation of consumers.

Recruit the right people. For more information on Industryus HR’s recruitment services visit our recruitment page, or call us on 1300 15 10 11.


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