Gen Z and the pigeonholes

Generation Z, those born shortly before the turn of the millennium, are highly sought after on the job market. In view of the shortage of skilled workers and many unfilled positions, finding and retaining them is a central, if not vital, success factor for companies in the communications and marketing sector as well. Especially in Munich, the offer (and admittedly the competition) for job seekers is great! In the area of digitization and digital transformation, the digital natives of Gen Z seem virtually predestined for the associated tasks. 

Now in their early 20s, Gen Z-ers are at the age when people often apply for their first junior job or next internship, and many companies are vying for their favor. There is a lot of speculation, myths and kitchen-sink psychology about what makes this generation tick, what they think and how they want to work. Much is written, speculated and interpreted about this. One recurring hypothesis is that their values are very different from those of the older generations who currently occupy the executive floors of companies. 

But is this true? Quite apart from the fact that it has always been questionable to lump together the representatives of entire generations. Our employee Michelle (24) explains:

"For us, other values are important today. We are growing up in a time when there are few shortages in our privileged Western world and many doors are open to us. That's why it's even more important that we actively decide what our future should look like."

After all, the blanket statement goes something like this: Gen Z is open-minded, curious and digitally savvy. Of course, the salary and status of a job role are not completely unimportant, but a work environment that allows for self-fulfillment and a life alongside work are more highly valued. Ambitious goals are pursued at work, but at the same time everything should be flexible. Gen Z wants to have everything, but only give a little. The willingness to perform is no longer the same as it used to be. Tobias (23), puts it right:

"We don't lack a willingness to perform, just blind professional obedience is no longer there. We're still willing to give full performance, but no longer to work ourselves up completely to do it."

What's more, this generation is very well informed when it comes to salary levels, working conditions, etc. So it's not so easy to fool them. As employers, we must therefore manage to offer the career-oriented and ambitious Gen Zers a perspective for professional development, while at the same time allowing them enough room for self-fulfillment alongside their jobs. For Gen Z, by the way, this is not a contradiction, just two sides of the same coin. If this succeeds, companies will also be rewarded by this generation with a willingness to perform and a high level of commitment. 

And let's be honest - isn't that what we all wish for? Maybe we just haven't dared to say it, let alone demand it. It's high time.

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