Generation Z – The Globals
We’ve been hearing a lot about Millennials since the start of this millennium. But what about the next batch of workers, whose oldest members were born in 1995? Generation Z is already entering college, starting internships, volunteering, and shaking things up on all frontiers. These youngsters embody some of the traits we’ve seen before in the Millennial generation, but they are truly crossing all boundaries to be Globals.
Naming a generation is no easy task, but one defining feature of this generation stands out. They truly grew up in a global world with no boundaries or borders and where any information is readily available at their fingertips. Music, television, news, marketing, and the internet have exposed Globals to cultures from around the world since birth, so no matter where in the world they were raised, they all experienced the same global events. Technology, terrorism, recessions and multicultural acceptance have erased borders to create a one-world mindset that is inherent in Globals.
They will be catalysts in the workplace, bringing diverse groups together to solve complex challenges in an increasingly virtual and limitless world. Globals is really the only word to describe how all-encompassing their environment, decision-making, and knowledge base are.
Parents Emphasize Reality vs. Specialness
Raised primarily by Generation X parents who crave autonomy and independence, Globals are learning how to be self-starters at a young age. Instead of hearing “You can be anything you want to be,” Globals are learning that the reality is that “specialness” can only take you so far and that hard work and savviness can take you even further.
My wife and I recently attended a parent teacher conference for my oldest son who is a Global, and his teacher really captured the essence of this generation, which is that they fend for themselves. When describing my son she said, “He’s not the brightest student, but he is gritty.” This Gen X parent could not have been prouder! Grit indicates the willingness to power through, to learn and accept struggles or defeat by not simply falling back on the comfort of receiving an award for trying. Due to the world in which they are being raised, Globals are rooted in reality in comparison to the hopeful and idealistic Millennial generation.
Proactive vs. Adaptive
Globals are growing up in a world that is telling them they can’t be passive and simply hope that good things will come their way. Schools and companies, like Ernst & Young through their “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” competition, are encouraging Generation Z to be entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs within their own roles. They tailor school projects to be applicable for everyday use, rather than Millennials who exclaimed, “When will I ever use this in the real world?”
Furthermore, the pendulum is swinging from the Millennial helicopter parents, to parents who are trying to do less hand-holding and coddling. Globals are being taught to take ownership and responsibility for the school projects, volunteer commitments, internships, and social commitments, instead of waiting for explicit explanations. While Millennials are very flexible and adaptable to change, Globals are taking the next step in proactively creating the change they want to see.
Smaller is Smarter
Yes, this generation is completely overcommitted and carted by their parents to three sports, two scholastic clubs, and a tutor each night just as the millennial generation, but they feel the pressure to pursue their skill sets over their passions to create a lucrative future. They’ve seen their older siblings and parents get overwhelmed with debt, so they’ll take a pragmatic approach to careers and start saving now to avoid living off huge lines of credit and loans. #BacktoBasics.
With our abundance of technology, Globals are the only generation to grow up with the ability to always have the answers at their fingertips – literally at the age of two, they are using the noise machine on their smartphone to put themselves to sleep. They are accustomed to learning exactly what they want to know with the click of a button. This could pose as a limitation because they acquire a lot of data without the ability to convert that data to skills, and they do not have as much experience improvising a solution when technology fails. #DataOverloadProcessingUnderload.
Work and personal relationships will need to be transparent because this is what Globals have grown up with through YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google, cell phones, and countless sites where they create a virtual persona. However, without these virtual filters, Globals are apt to be reserved and untrusting, because they must rely on intuition and cannot scroll through a person’s history, likes and dislikes, or peer-rated reviews.
Multicultural Acceptance vs. Multicultural Awareness
Members of this generation can name virtual best friends they have never met, from a remote location they have never visited. They truly are Global – un-phased by a person’s cultural traditions, skin color, worldly traumas, school shootings, war, debt, etc., because they have been exposed to these global topics since birth.
Globals will demand transparency and inclusion across all lines since this is what they are accustomed to through technology and their generational role models, such as Katniss Everdeen, Kid President Robby Novak, their parents, and teachers.