Editor’s Desk: Gen Z

The Next Big Thing

These days, you can hardly open a magazine or turn on the news without hearing about millennials.  Articles abound on how they’re impacting politics, changing cultural norms, and disrupting technology.  Well, did you know that some millennials are as old as 38?  That’s right.  Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 is a millennial, which means a large portion of them have been contributing members of society for quite some time.  Yes, they’re the largest generation in the United States labor force, according to the Pew Research Center, but should they necessarily still be the focus of marketing and recruitment efforts?  Perhaps not.  I’d like to introduce you to Generation Z.

         Young people aged 9 to 24, or born between 1995 and 2010, are members of Generation Z.  These youth are smart, and they’ve seen a lot in their short years.  Growing up post-9/11 and the Great Recession has given them a keen awareness, whether they recognize it or not, of what’s needed to succeed in today’s world.  Recently, it was reported that American student loan debt has reached over $1.5 trillion, or close to $40,000 per student.  Whether they witnessed their parents struggling with mortgage debt, or their older siblings trying to make ends meet while paying back mountains of student loans, Generation Z youth are not taking the bait.  They are a group that is questioning the value of traditional education and career paths.

         In contrast to their millennial predecessors, today’s young people are becoming increasingly drawn to a more hands-on, entrepreneurial career within the construction industry.  While this is exciting, be warned that Generation Z individuals are not going to be your typical construction hires that you may be used to.  They have had the luxury of being immersed in cutting-edge technology from a young age, and they know how to use this technology better than anyone.  Furthermore, they expect their workplace to adopt innovative solutions to industry issues using the latest technology, including automation, robots, and even artificial intelligence.  While it’s yet to be seen if Generation Z will be more likely to denounce four-year colleges than their older siblings and parents, it’s safe to say they expect a fully integrated educational experience that connects academic experiences to real-world scenarios.

         Generation Z grew up in a world where Google® always existed, so they know how to do their research to find companies that align with their goals.  That being said, this is where we remind you to have a killer online presence.  This includes a clean, easy-to-read website and a social media presence that is interactive with both customers and the community.  Similarly to millennials, Generation Z places a high importance on a company’s philanthropic efforts.  While you or I would solely judge a business based on their products and performance, Generation Z is also judging a business based on their company culture and connection to the community.

         Don’t wait too long to tailor your marketing and recruitment efforts for Generation Z.  Before you know it, the next generation, Generation Alpha, will be knocking on our office doors.  For now, let’s focus on getting Generation Z in the boots and on the jobsites. 

editor & publisher

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