Generation Z - will they kill our wealth?

Let's clear up some prejudices!
There have been hefty discussions on LinkedIn and in some newspapers about the 'lazy' Generation Z that would endanger our wealth because they don't want to invest themselves into their work.

I don’t agree with this view, and even if I did, there is little we can do about demographic change. Therefore, as a manager and leader, you have to face the challenge of attracting and retaining young workers and designing your products and services in such a way that young consumers will also buy them.

This is a challenge that needs to be addressed now: Generation Z - those born between 1995 and 2010 - have been in the labour market for about 5 to 7 years and represent, depending on the country, about 15% of the working population - with a strong upward trend. At the same time, the purchasing power of Generation Z is constantly increasing, which also makes them increasingly important as consumers.

For a better understanding, let’s take a look at an overview of all active generations:

Generational Overview

Members of generation Z are true digital natives: from birth or almost, they have been digitally connected in almost every area of their lives. This has created a ‘hypercognitive’ generationwith many positive characteristics: ambition without greed, social and ecological awareness, intellectual curiosity, concern for work-life balance and a global perspective.

Generation Z have clear expectations, which they uphold both as workers and as consumers. The fight against climate change is a very important issue. Sustainabilityis therefore at the top of the list. Moreover, a significant part of Generation Z does not own a car and relies on public transport and shared mobility. Therefore, members of generation Z expect their organisation to think and act in an environmentally friendly way and to provide corresponding incentives for employees and consumers.

Social justice, gender equality, inclusion and diversityare other major concerns of Generation Z. They are also the first to take on the responsibility of the environment as a cohort. They are also the first to equate mental health with physical health and are not shy about addressing this issue openly in the workplace.

Although society has changed considerably over the last ten years, different generations have different views on the importance and practical interpretation of all these topics. This can create tensions and have a negative impact on the emotional bond between Generation Z and the company. Unlike previous generations, this does not lead to a reduction of involvement to the bare minimum, but to resignation.

Traditional management and organisational approaches reach their limits when it comes to integrating Generation Z into the team. The same is true on the consumer side.

So companies need to make sure they are relevant to this new generation, both internally and externally. I think this is a strategic topic and intergenerational collaboration will become one of the top priorities in the world of work today and tomorrow.

Hand on heart: do you think your company is attractive to the young generation, both as an employer and as a supplier of products or provider of services? If yes, congratulations and you don't have to do anything. But if you have the slightest doubt, then we should talk: At AGILIS, we have worked extensively on the topic of Generation Z and have helped many clients to better understand this generation and to grasp the opportunities it presents. Click on this text to book a no-obligation video call!
Christophe Berger
Christophe is founder and CEO of AGILIS. Besides his work as consultant and manager, he is always observing the business word and adores commenting on subject that seem relevant to him.