What defines Generation Z.

Generation Z: Generations through the ages

Features and characteristics of the generations

Veterans, Baby Boomers, X, Y and Z - each generation has their own name and their own ideas about life, both professionally and personally. No wonder, after all, every generation is shaped by completely different events in the world: World War II, economic miracle, cold war, terrorist attacks, financial crisis, climate change, environmental disasters and much more. However, it should not be overlooked that each person develops their own values ​​and goals. When classifying the different generations, it must also be taken into account that only main features are summarized. When the generations are divided into periods of time, the American and German-language literature differ by a few years. Depending on the definition, Generation Z includes today's teenagers and young adults who were born in 1995 or later.

Generation Z
Birth year 1995 – 2010
developments Digitization of everyday life
particularities Desire for development and self-realization opportunities
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Feel good
  • security
  • Low loyalty to the employer
  • Meaningfulness and fun at work
  • High demands on modern equipment and internet access in the workplace
  • No weekend work
  • Smartphone
  • Clouds and Apps
  • Self-actualization
  • Attractive leisure activities

What are the characteristics and features of Generation Z?

Generation Z - also known as digital natives - is the first generation that grew up with digital technologies from childhood and has a high affinity for mobile devices. In contrast to previous generations, the digital world is not just a part of life, but young people live in it. This means that there is no longer a clear demarcation between the real and the virtual world for them, because Generation Z is online 24 hours a day and makes full use of the possibilities. Classic media such as newspapers and magazines are hardly used by young people any more, as all information is accessed via laptop, tablet or smartphone. Processing the flood of digital messages and using them for themselves is another characteristic of Generation Z. Members of Generation X, for example, had to acquire knowledge with the help of books, while Generation Z, on the other hand, stores it in the cloud and accesses it when necessary . One can speak of true information managers here, who separate the unimportant from the important data and use the relevant information optimally depending on the situation. Digitization has also contributed to the fact that young people prefer to exchange ideas via social networks, WhatsApp, blogs and forums and connect with people from all continents. Generation Z presents their lives on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat: pictures, messages and videos are created and made available to the public. Some people identify themselves through the number of followers on the channels and always try to generate more shares, likes and tweets. However, the focus is always on the need for free development and that you can realize your ideas and ideas about life.

What significance do family and friends have for Generation Z?

Generation Z has completely integrated digitization and all its possibilities into their everyday lives, but in addition to constant online use, they are looking for stability and security with family and friends. According to the McDonald's 2019 training study, "73 percent of those under 25 consider the circle of friends the most important thing in their life, 60 percent the family and 57 percent a happy partnership." Generation X, to which most of the young people's parents belong, is from the Economic crisis and a high divorce rate. The relationship with one's own parents was considered complicated and distant. Parents of the younger generation do not want to pass on these experiences and develop a close bond with their children. Even when they are growing up, the parents attach particular importance to the fact that their offspring develop a healthy self-confidence and have the courage to realize their own dreams and goals. The family supports the young people in all situations and supports them in important decisions. Especially during school time - especially in the last two school years - the Z-lers have to plan further steps, what they want to do after school and which career path they are going to take. The most important source of information here is the parents, with whom they can advise and discuss their future careers. The 2019 McDonalds training study also shows that 89% of young people seek advice from their parents when it comes to career guidance.

What expectations does Generation Z have of the job?

The labor market will change drastically in the next few years, as the majority of baby boomers (at least 55 years old) are leaving and will soon be retiring. They still take on management tasks in companies today and are the key decision-makers who drive our economy forward. Baby boomers are loyal to their employer, value their job, and overtime is no exception for them, unlike the new generation. The generation conflict and demographic change are imminent in the world of work as well. The next generation is very aware that in a few years there will be no more jobs and some jobs will be taken over by robots. Nevertheless, they are relaxed and positive about digitization in everyday working life, which of course already has to do with their everyday use of the technologies. In the professional and private sector, they cannot and do not want to do without the Internet.

The first young people belonging to Generation Z complete their training in the company and start a job as a specialist. Four generations that couldn't be more different. It is the job of companies, and in particular personnel management, to face precisely this challenge. The requirements of Generation Z must be specifically integrated and taken into account in training marketing in order to counteract the shortage of skilled workers. In order to remain competitive in the labor market, new paths have to be found and suitable strategies developed. Different values, properties and characteristics must now be taken into account in order to set up working teams for projects and to ensure a pleasant working atmosphere.

In contrast to the other generations - baby boomers and Generation X - the digital natives bring completely new requirements with them to the world of work: dealing with new technologies, quick knowledge retrieval using the Internet and flexibility. The young people are hyper-networked and there is hardly any demarcation between the real and the virtual world. Generation Y and Z have some things in common when it comes to dealing with digital media and social media, but they also differ significantly. Like the older generations, young people want to set themselves apart from the previous generation and realize their own values ​​and ideas. Generation Z is no longer tied to the company and therefore other incentives have to be created through personnel management. They are looking for a job that matches their skills and inclinations: Interesting projects and changing challenges have a long-term impact on the motivation of the young target group.

In addition, the company's working models such as work-life balance and work-life blending, which are important for Generation Y, are no longer alternatives for Generation Z. They want clear structures and fixed working hours again, so that they can work by 17 O'clock and can then deal with their private interests and hobbies. So it is out of the question for young people to answer emails or make business phone calls after work. Another difference can also be seen in management responsibility. Unlike the previous generations, the younger generation does not strive for a steep career, which tends to be associated with a high position in the company and a high salary. Instead, they want to devote themselves to self-actualization in their free time.

If you want to learn more about Generation Z, we recommend the following literature: