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Bespoke Careers

31 May 2019

31 May 2019

Gen Z: Redefining authority in the workplace

Bespoke Careers London office recently hosted an event with the Flamingo Group's Louise Healey and Bronwen Morgan as they presented their latest research on Generation Z in the workplace.

As a strategic insight consultancy that harnesses culture to drive change, Flamingo collaborated with global research partners to explore the context of shifting authority in their regions. Speaking to experts in authority and Gen Z influencers that are actively involved in creating new forms of authority - Flamingo has combined qualitative insight, semiotics and futures analysis to understand what authority looks, sounds and feels like for Gen Z.

We were delighted that so many of our clients from the architecture and design world turned out for what was a truly insightful evening hosted by our Founder and Director, Lindsay Urquhart. 

What makes Gen Z different?

As the first generation of true digital natives, Generation Z individuals were born between the mid-1990s to mid-2000s and the oldest of them was 12 when the iphone was launched.

"They’ve spent their entire lives online, and as a result, have been more intimately exposed to the failings of the powers-that- be to tackle world issues than any generation preceding them: from political scandals, to #MeToo to climate change; all have contributed to a breakdown in trust towards traditional political and civic institutions that has shaken many people’s sense of structure and place. Authority isn’t in crisis, but it’s being questioned, reshaped and reformed. But Gen Z have also grown up more empowered by media and technology than any other generation; their connectedness has allowed them to critique, debate, and question power,and to organise online to share ideas and solutions. Their simultaneous exposure to hierarchical frailty and ability to question it makes them a fascinating lens through which to understand how the world is changing. With traditional authority in question, Gen Z are effectively redefining it – both the way it’s expressed and the way it’s experienced." Gen Z: Redefining Authority report.

Key takeaways on Gen Z:
  • The way we work is changing. The way we make money, get paid and pay others is shifting.
  • The millennial dream of being a digital nomad and travelling the world seems unrealistic to many students now. This generation wants to be prepared for life's obstacles.
  • Graduates want opportunities for growth and learning, not just a salary package.
  • The future of AI means reskilling for all.  Analogue skills, creativity, critical thinking – are all needed, necessary and highly valued in industry alongside digital or hard skills.
  • Employers need to consider the advantage of innovation sabbaticals, whereby employees are given time off from their regular jobs to develop other projects. Free from their daily constraints, independent-minded Gen Z’ers can generate out-of-the-box innovations, fuelling their own desire to innovate and, perhaps, enhancing corporate performance.
  • Companies are increasingly offering well-being programmes at work and that employees increasingly expect this.
  • Gen Z’ers are extremely good at independently solving whatever it is that managers need them to solve; they’ve been doing this with their smartphones since they were kids. What they’re really interested in is a collaborative relationship with their managers, where they can have an exchange of ideas and dialogue.
  • Lives, experience and careers are not linear anymore. Multi-skilled candidates from all backgrounds and zig-zagging trajectories will not fit the positions described by many recruiters – the linear, siloed strengths of study in one area then progression and skill building in one specific industry is not how future generations will work – Gen Z'ers won’t accept that.

Want to read the full report? Visit Flamingo group here.


Author: Jennifer McKenzie, Bespoke Careers

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