Millennials: the planet’s largest generation, the generation of today’s entrepreneurs and booming workforce. It’s no surprise that this generation is the focus of marketers around the world, but it’s key that the value of Generation Z is also understood.
Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2010, is the generation following the Millennials (1980-1994). Grouping these two generations together as ‘youth’ is an easy trap to fall into, but a few key differences separate them.
Considering that Generation Z is entering the workforce younger than ever and taking on higher-level jobs, this generation will soon have the greatest influence on the world, in addition to the largest buying power of any group. Plus, with the highest expectations for businesses and customer service of any generation, if you’ve pleased Generation Z, you’ve pleased everyone.
To understand Generation Z and how they differ from Millennials, it’s important to look at three aspects that truly set them apart.
1. Dreamers vs Realists
Likely the greatest difference between Generation Z and Millennials is their mentality towards the world.
This naivety was soon destroyed as the economy plunged into a recession, leaving the Millennials behind with few remaining jobs, financial troubles, and a dismissive view of the world and their place in it.
Generation Z, on the other hand, entered the workforce with a renewed sense of determination.
With no blissful ignorance due to technology, their negative Generation X parents, and the now disillusioned Millennials that surrounded them, Generation Z was starkly aware of the world’s realities. This did not translate to negativity, though, as Generation Z-ers are determined to work hard, with entrepreneurial streaks rivalling the Baby Boomers.
It’s important to note that Generation Z-ers are realists, as opposed to dreamers – like the Millennials.
2. Criticizing the World vs Changing It
Disillusioned Millennials often have the tendency to be selfish, with a dismissive attitude to the institutions of our world. Generation Z-ers, on the other hand, are willing to be selfless for the necessary task of changing these ineffective institutions.
For example, Millennials value who they work with most when evaluating a job, while Generation Z-ers value what their work does. Mostly because of their exposure to the internet and the wealth of information that comes with that, Generation Z is also global, diverse, and works to break down pre-existing binaries.
3. Technology – Love or Hate?
Finally, the influence of technology is imperative when looking at these generations. Millennials grew up as technology was simultaneously developed, while Generation Z-ers were born into a technological world.
This presents itself in an interesting way: instead of being more connected with technology, Generation Z-ers are actually more aware of its dangers. As Millennials discovered the faults of social media and the potential scams of the internet, Generation Z-ers watched carefully, and adjusted their behaviour accordingly.
Despite this mistrust of technology, Generation Z-ers are inevitably attuned with it. Their multi-tasking abilities are far more advanced than Millennials, and their ability to use technology is integral, making them highly efficient workers in our fast-paced, technological world.