It may seem like just yesterday when the first wave of Millennials finished their schooling and joined your workplace. Now, members of the Millennial generation are anywhere from their early twenties to their mid-thirties, have spent many years in the workforce (in fact, they now have the largest representation of any generation in the workplace), and are increasingly moving into management positions.
As the Millennial population ages, Generation Z is replacing them as the newest additions to the workplace. Born anywhere from the mid-to-late 1990s to the 2000s, members of Generation Z are entering adulthood and turning to the workforce; to the tune of 17 million new workers.
They’re coming to the workforce, and the insurance industry is no exception. As Generation Z begins to make up a greater percentage of your workplace, it’s important that you understand what new qualities they will bring to your business, and how to best take advantage of the benefits that working with them brings.
What are Gen Z like in the Workforce?
If you look online, you’ll find a lot of stereotypes about what the younger generations are like in the workplace and what kind of expectations that they have. Before making any judgments about this new, younger wave of workers, make sure you’ve done your research.
Recently, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) surveyed members of Generation Z about their preferences in the workplace. Here are some of the key findings:
- 61 percent of surveyed workers stated that they planned on staying with their company for over 10 years;
- 76 percent of surveyed members are willing to start at the very bottom and work their way up the corporate ladder;
- 91 percent stated that technological sophistication would impact their interest in a company, though 84 percent stated that they prefer face-to-face communication over digital;
- 91 percent of Gen-Z members, like Millennials, stated that salary, benefits, and opportunity for advancement were higher on their list of priorities than finding a “meaningful job”;
- 75 percent would like to have multiple roles within a company, and
- 62 percent would prefer to customize their own career path rather than following a predetermined one.
These statistics go along with more general trends collected by the Wall Street Journal; they found that Gen-Z workers above all prioritize financial security and tend to be more socially conservative, reserved, competitive, and pragmatic than their Millennial counterparts.
Think about the time period that Generation Z grew up in and how that might inform their work habits. They grew up in a time period marked by economic recessions, financial crises, and ubiquitous technology and social media. They are anxious about their economic future and well aware of how the world has changed and continues to change.
How Can You Best Work with Members of Generation Z?
One great advantage that Gen-Z brings to the workplace is greater technological capability. Unlike the older members of your workplace (and even some of the oldest Millennials), the members of this generation have grown up with access to technology every step of the way. So while they may not be drawn to a business with outdated technology (as described in the above survey results), they can bring a greater level of technological skill and interest to an older business. They may be what you need to bring your technology into 2018.
In the insurance world, one of the biggest topics of conversation is how to appeal to a younger demographic, particularly the Millennials and Generation Z members who haven’t yet gotten their own coverage. Having this new, young generation in your workforce can bring your company the voice you need. They know their peer groups’ feelings towards the insurance industry and its products, and will be able to provide greater insight into how you can tailor your marketing and product offerings to best appeal to the needs of these growing demographics.
Keep in mind that Generation Z has its differences from the Millennial generation. What has previously worked in attracting younger talent to your business may no longer be effective. While Millennials have been shown to value mission-driven work with high social value, Gen Zers will value a workplace that offers career stability, flexibility, benefits, the opportunity for growth, and individualized roles within your business. Offering these qualities will make your business a more desirable destination for these younger candidates.
The insurance industry lagged behind when it came time to bring Millennials into the workplace. Now, as Gen Z enters, you have the chance to make up for it with this new, fresh group of young talent.
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