Our knowledge of demographics and trends has been massively enlarged thanks to the countless studies, research projects, and data collection on millennials (those born approximately 1980 to 1995). As grateful as we are for all that millennial insight, a new wave is rolling onto the demographics landscape. Move over, millennials! Here comes Generation Z (those born in or after 1996).
As with every generation, Generation Z will bring its own unique influence to all aspects of how we live, do business, and function in the exciting future that awaits us. Fascinating insights also arise by comparing Generation Z to its older sibling generation, the millennials. Based on research by the new agency, “sparks & honey,” Erik Oster, writing for Adweek, shares some important insights about Generation Z’s self-perception and how that is affecting goal setting. A childhood lived in the post-9/11 world, changing norms, increased racial diversity, economic recessions, and changing gender roles, have all significantly contributed to this generation’s passion and sense of purpose. Here are some of the very interesting findings about this new generation:
- Generation Z is mature, self-directed, and resourceful.
- Crowdsourcing and a do-it-yourself culture have rendered Generation Z much more open to self-employment.
- 80% of high school students see themselves as more driven than their peers.
- 72% of high school students want to become entrepreneurs.
- 76% hope that their hobbies transform into future employment.
I think that many of these characteristics are totally understandable, given the times in which we live. Generation Z has of course only known these times, and they are adapting their approach to life commensurately.
The 80%-figure on high school students being more driven than their peers smacks of Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon, “where all the children are above average.” It is simultaneously humorous and inspiring. I would rather see a new generation that is driven, passionate, and self-assured rather than one that is aimless, apathetic, and discouraged. Our society’s future depends on them.
Generation Z’s propensity to embrace entrepreneurship is marvelous. If ever there was a time to be an entrepreneur, it is today. Technology has equipped the budding businessperson with every possible tip and tool for success. All we need is the right person with the right idea and the right strategy.
The most exciting aspect for everyone older than Generation Z is that we can all be a positive voice for its success. Keep your eyes open! Chances are you and I will see more than one opportunity to be a potent contributing force into an exciting new generation.