Let’s start with a riddle, shall we?
What’s invisible, widespread, and has completely changed younger generations’ perspectives on career mobility and the concept of employment as a whole?
Any guesses? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you: it’s COVID-19.
After a global pandemic left countless businesses and organizations with no option but to transition to a fully remote or hybrid working format, younger generations were the first to realize that they could continue to be successful in their careers while enjoying the comfort of their pajamas… as well as an irresistibly close proximity to their refrigerator.
There’s no dispute that COVID-19 changed the game as it relates to job markets and the overall “vibe” of any given work setting. But the pandemic and adjacent rise in technological innovations has also unveiled something different: younger generations are generally picking creative careers that can be fully executed on the internet; and they’re choosing these gigs much more frequently than traditional, structured, hyper-corporate ones.
This is a huge topic, but fear not: this guide will help you begin to understand these rapid changes to the job market and the unique Zillennial career-related tendencies. Do you hate the idea of fully remote work? Do you love the idea of influencers actively making a living by marketing your products to real people? Are you excited to witness the ever-evolving employment trends in the younger generations? Leave a comment below!
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Remote Work is a Priority
To understand why remote work is so important to the younger generations, you must first remember that Gen-Z (specifically) doesn’t necessarily even know any other mode of operation. Gen-Zers largely graduated high school and/or college in the height of the pandemic, entering a workforce that had already largely moved online. For most everyone, routine catalyzes comfort, which means that these initial work formats have automatically instilled in young professionals’ minds that their jobs can be done efficiently from their own homes, for the foreseeable future. And can you blame them? Most Zillennials spend some serious coin on the perfect home office set up and prefer not to ditch their faux-fur desk chair for quiet cubes and awkward small talk.
Why is this important to discuss, anyway? This is significant for all generations because it drastically affects the way businesses hire and retain employees. Ever heard of the Great Resignation? In the past two years, businesses both large and small have experienced significant difficulties in hiring and retaining workers, due to the pandemic, inflation rates, and a general sense of unrest in the workforce.
It’s also important to face the music: with more employers moving toward a collaborative and flexible work environment, Zillennials have ultimately prioritized this same freedom and work-life balance (because they know it exists). The younger generations value this idea so much that they have no problem leaving a company if their needs aren’t being met. That’s the reality: if one employer won’t offer remote work options, there are hundreds of others who gladly will.
“Corporate” can be Cringe
The younger generations are acutely aware of the fact that they are next in line to innovate, lead, and change society as we know it. As such, traditional corporate structures are becoming less attractive to prospective young workers. Zillennials’ changing ideals and aspirations have lobbied companies of all sizes to introduce stronger Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs, allow for lower-level employees to provide input to their superiors, and encourage upward mobility and agency within the workplace.
The emphasis on “professionalism” that has long been valued and taught by preceding generations is now widely viewed as antiquated and unnecessary by younger generations. Take, for example, dressing up every single day for work (even on days where there are no important meetings or events). Younger generations much prefer and embrace comfort along with more casual environments, and because of their emphasis on inclusion and acceptance, rarely take notice of the way their colleagues dress. For some, that might sound improper. For others, it is truly a breath of fresh air.
An interesting concept that has been brought to the surface as a result of this changing job market is the notion that Zillennials are choosing jobs that older generations would never have even dreamt up. I know this sounds absurd, but the reality is that Twitch streamers and user generated content (UGC) creators regularly earn six figure salaries by delivering a product that is entirely consumed online.
You may be asking: What? How are these ventures even bringing in that kind of cash? A simple answer to this question would be that younger generations have accepted the lucrative nature of content creation as a means to grow their wealth. Advertisers are quickly turning to personalities on Twitch, YouTube, Tik Tok, and Instagram as a means to market their products/services to a large audience. After all, “Influencers” are usually just regular people who use products the same way their fans do, making them a reliable and trustworthy source to review or promote various products.
Regardless of the rapid shifts in career paths/work environments that have been highlighted thanks to a global pandemic, one fact remains: Zillennials are hard workers and they are earnestly attempting to reshape the status-quo. Remote work, productivity, inclusivity, and creativity are all priorities for this group, which has caused a large quantity of established corporations to follow suit and make fundamental adjustments to their daily operations.
What’s next? A Zillennial-dominated workforce is on its way, charging employers with the task to reevaluate their hiring practices and overall office culture. For more insight on the ever-evolving trends related to the younger generations, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter, and be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments!