Tuesday 12th January 2016

Generation Z, a group who live on their mobile phones, are internet savvy and embrace all things digital. Their hunger for being connected is reflected in all aspects of their lives, including their expectations of the workplace. Knowing this, companies should be diving head first into adapting their workspaces, especially as this generation, which makes up 28.6 per cent of the world’s population, approaches working age. A study earlier this year found that 47 per cent of employers do not feel ready to meet Generation Z’s workplace demands. Despite all the stats, companies are doing little to adapt their workplaces to the generation’s needs.

Generation Z is classified as people who were born between the mid-90s and early 2000s. They are the first group brought up on the internet, fully attuned to the smartphone and to a world that is constantly changing around them. Research found a large number young people state that their greatest aspiration is to be in their dream job within 10 years. Salary is low on their list of priorities, with only six per cent saying that this is the most important aspect of their first job. Leading companies must do more to attract and retain the top talent of the future, investing now in a workplace which will improve the day-to-day experience for every employee.

With youth unemployment dropping steadily, companies face the danger of missing out on the top talent of Generation Z if they fail to create a technology-orientated workspace. This also comes at a time when the upcoming retirement of baby boomers is becoming a real concern for companies. A recent study found that 74% of finance directors thought that the retirement of the baby boomers would harm their business over the next two years; while 77% said their departure would have a negative effect on their organisation over the next five years. Generation Z, and the millennials who preceded them, will truly dictate change in the workplace over the years to come.

Enticing this group will take more than just a good salary with benefits. They will excel in companies that understand their abilities and what motivates them; being the first true digital natives, technology will play a key role in how they operate. Generation Z have grown up in a time where most services are provided in an instant, flexibility is embraced, and seamless video streaming rarely falters. Constantly restarting a video call for a meeting, or having no means to work from home, just won’t cut it for this new workforce.

On a positive note, some leading companies are taking action and investing in infrastructures that support the latest workplace technology; doing this will help create an activity-based working space where employees can work flexibly, meet and collaborate. Leading companies must adapt their offices to truly reflect the digitally connected world we live in today. If they fail, the consequences could be significantly detrimental, as they risk missing out on the top talent of Generation Z.

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