Updated: Nov 6
With recent tech-layoffs and Gen-Z receiving less mentorship due to WFH, will Gen-Z become a lost generation?
The future Gen-Z workforce particularly interests me as not only are they already the largest global population group, and the first generation to never have known a world without the internet, but by 2030, along with Millennials, they will constitute 75% of the workforce.
I attended a dinner at the iconic Empire State building in New York where the conversation turned to my favorite topic - Gen-Z. As I shared with the group, I believe that commercial real estate has a golden opportunity to pull top talent to our industry which has struggled to attracted enough brilliant people with technical expertise. However, I do see challenges.
For one thing, how do you keep motivate GenZ? The Gen-Zs in the room were all to kind to share what they desire - and didn’t hold back.
Gen-Z want to work on 'cool sexy projects' - Ai, ML, quantum computing - reflective of the cutting-edge work that they do at university.
Gen-Z see value in their inexperience and naivety. It lets them look at problems in different ways without the filter of ‘been there, done that, didn’t work’, thus opening unconventional perspectives, unencumbered by the ‘tough realities’ we’ve learnt of bringing projects to life (got to love their idealism!).
They’re not afraid to experiment and fail. This works better in the VC/entrepreneurial landscape. This mindset won’t always gel well for our risk-adverse industry.
They expect to have a voice in the room. If they aren’t being heard, they’ll become unmotivated and want to leave.
Low value grunt work is unattractive to them. The dilemma is that this work needs to be done by someone and junior employees are the obvious choice. Grunt work also provides training in soft skills such as attention to detail, deadlines and accuracy - vital as one moves up the corporate ladder. An alternative as I see it would be still to make it their responsibility but task them with finding ways to ‘hack’ the process. Is there perhaps a way that the task can be automated, eliminated or done by ChatGPT?
When thinking about Gen-Z talent and how to attract, retain and inspire them to do the best work, we need to realize that unlike when older generations entered the workforce, they can just Google how to do something, or put ChatGPT to work.
Learning the job through years of experience does not apply in the same way as it once did.
It is imperative that organizations are successful in attracting and retaining Gen-Z talent, or they'll only be able to operate in 'old ways' that are not necessarily the best way, nor right for the increasingly tech-enabled way that society is heading.