Anyone sucked into TikTok during lockdown will have noticed Generation Z slamming Millennials for our love of Avocado on toast, our overuse of the word "adulting", and our obsession with Harry Potter. Shots fired. To be honest it would be more offensive if the younger generation didn't make fun of us. It's a right of passage (OK Boomer). So what has research shown us about Gen Z and what does the future of the tech industry look like in their hands?
Generation Z is comprised of some of the youngest people in the world today; anyone born between 1997 and 2012. The oldest members are either working or finishing University. These first few years of adolescence bring uncertainty, which has been exponentially compounded for Gen Z, due to Covid-19. Half of Gen Z in the 18 to 23 age bracket, reported that they or someone in their household had lost a job or taken a pay cut because of the outbreak*.
Long gone are the days when little kids want to be fire fighters, police officers or pilots. Recent studies** have shown that children's dreams and aspirations are evolving with the times. The top five responses from over 3,000 children aged between 8 and 12 were:
Having grown up in the era that saw Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Jeff Besos shoot to billionaire status, Gen Z have unsurprisingly been inspired. Job search-engine, Indeed reported that members of Generation Z clicked on job listings for iOS developer roles 3.2 times more often than other job seekers.
In 2019, 19% of Gen Z job applications were for Software Engineer positions. - Indeed.com
This is the first generation in our history to have grown up "technology fluent". Most Millennials had some form of Nokia in their early teens, joined Facebook when they went off to Uni and had a Blackberry in their 20s. In contrast, Gen Z babies were given tablets as soon as they were old enough to use their hands.
This fluency makes filling in office spreadsheets and overcomplicated reports hazardous to Gen Z. In a recent survey, 30% of Gen Z retail workers felt reports they are given are “too long and time-consuming" reports were "too complicated to understand and irrelevant to their jobs"***. Companies need to make sure their processes adapt to this new wave of Ai-literate employees coming through office doors throughout the next decade.
Remote working was becoming ever popular in the tech sector, even prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. As more corporations realise that much of their workforce can successfully perform and collaborate from home, headquarters might become a thing of the past. So what does this mean for the next generation of tech employees? Although working remotely from anywhere in the world may seem like a dream for some, is it the right thing for everyone? Only time will tell.
We're teaching computers be become more and more intelligent so the idea that they could one day produce complex code themselves, isn't particularly far fetched. For now, the developer needs to "teach" the computer, but will there ever be a time where computers program computers and those computers code software and problem solve? Did somebody say, inception? Seeing how much we have accomplished over the last twenty years, it's conceivable that much more will change over the years to come.
Gen Z, the stage is yours...
*pewsocialtrends.org **Lego surveyed 3,000 children between the ages of eight and 12, as well as 326 parents who had children aged between five and 12 ***Forbes.com