You’ve heard it before: Generation Z will be different. The generation admires YouTube celebrities who’ve acquired fame and fortune through monetizing their channels and entrepreneurs who’ve made a good living from one big idea. Gen Zers have grown up in a time when technology is a tool instead of a toy and when peers — not elders — are their mentors.
But the Great Recession hit during their childhood, giving them a lived experience of loss and struggle that echoes the Silent Generation more than their recent generational predecessors. Consequently, though Millennials may prioritize personal endeavors over professional ones, Gen Z is likely to value the security of a steady income over the feeling of giving back to the world.
For business leaders, this means hiring Gen Z will require an approach different from any taken before. Because the members of Gen Z aren’t worried about “freedom” so much as financial security, they won’t all want to be CEOs — even though they’re primed to be the most entrepreneurially minded generation yet. Instead, they’ll find value in contributing to the organization through intrapreneurship, or innovation that creates value within the company’s larger structure.
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