“Gen Y will work for 7 companies in their life. Gen Z will work for 7 companies at the same time.” – Jason Averbook, 2014.

Who are the generations above?

Generation Y, born in the early 1980s a.k.a ‘The Millennials’.
Generation Z, born after the year 1995 a.k.a ‘The iGeneration’.

What are typical characteristics you can expect from each generation?

One of the most popular generalizations about a Gen Y’s work ethic is linked to the term ‘Trophy Kids’. The term is derived from Ronald Alsop’s like-titled book, “THE TROPHY KIDS GROW UP,” in which he explains about the competitive nature of Gen Ys that go hand-in-hand with high expectations of being rewarded although not necessarily worthy (e.g. salary bonus at work after being employed for a short amount of time).

In contrast, Gen Zs are identified as ‘screenagers’ due to growing up in a generation where technological advancements are at its greatest. Screenagers translate to the current teenage generation that is addicted to technology — so much so that it may seem that teenagers have a screen attached to their faces. Gen Z’s work ethics is still unknown as they are only now creeping into the workforce; the eldest of this generation being 19 years of age.

Jason Averbook, a well known speaker in HR consulting estimates that ‘Gen Z will work for 7 companies at the same time.’ This refers to the effortless talent of the younger generation who have the natural ability to work with computers and have in-depth understanding about what information technology and the cloud are; which is predicted to be used more in the near future compared to our current day. With that said, due to the mobility of devices we use each day to work, such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones, Gen Zs could literally conduct all daily work activities from home. Being in a flexible position without being overlooked by a manager would enable Gen Zs to work multiple jobs at once.

Technological advancements continue to simplify the way we work and it is a tremendous wonder on how it will affect the work ethics of Gen Zs along with the future generations to come. Will they be anti-social? Will they be a team player in the working space? Only time will tell…

Why should this concern you?

As a recruiter or hiring manager, a cover letter & résumé will only contribute to the external aspects of your candidate. Meaning, paper can only tell how well they did at school, what awards they received, their previous work experience, why they are applying for your role but not how they actually work on a daily basis.

By knowing the characteristics of each generation, recruiters are able to predict work ethics of potential candidates. Of course, every individual is unique so you can’t completely stereoptype a generation, but a characteristic could simply be a part of that person’s generational upbringing. Being equipped with the right knowledge may allow you to adjust your expectations from candidates — meaning you can correctly screen talented candidates from the pack.

As we progress into the information technology era, recruitment agencies and corporate businesses that source and place candidates into tech companies would have field days as Gen Zs grow older.This in turn, will save time and effort. With that said, as the years roll on, there may even be a threat of the market being over saturated with the same candidates. Only time will tell if we there will be a technological shift great enough that could generate jobs for each and every Gen Z.

Have you encountered generational differences in the workplace? How did you address these differences? Have you ruled out candidates due to generational differences?

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