Gen Z: world wise, digital natives, changemakers.

Gen Z: world wise, digital natives, changemakers.

We spend a lot of time talking and thinking about millennials…but there’s another generation already leaving high school and finding their way in the world.

Born between 1995 – 2009, Generation Z make up about 20% of Australia’s population, and almost 30% of the global population.

These highly individual, entrepreneurial, globally connected, digital natives, have high expectations of the world they’re stepping into – and of themselves. Here’s the basics on what you need to know about Gen Z:

$$$ smart + career ready

Growing up in a decade marked by a financial recession, Gen Z are more cautious and pragmatic than their Gen Y predecessors with a greater sense of responsibility. Contrary to ideas that they’re just banking on their parents to carry them (potentially driven by perceptions of the ‘unprepared, selfie taking’ Gen Y) Gen Z are self-starters, already thinking about what they need to do now to succeed in future. Having watched Gen Y struggle to gain financial independence in a tough housing market, burdened by student debt, 64% of Gen Z have already started saving for the future.

Aware of the challenges that lie ahead in the changing world of work, Gen Z are ahead of the game when it comes to preparing for their careers and 17% of Gen Zers want to start their own business and employ others. While some may enjoy the idea of working for themselves, most are “risk-averse, practical, and pragmatic“. Fast Company said it best, “Their supposed entrepreneurialism is actually more of a survival mechanism than an idealist reach for status or riches.”

Digital natives, creating not consuming

More than any other generation, Gen Z are plugged into digital technology in a big way – and they’re savvy to all of its nuances, tricks and opportunities. Having grown up in a world that’s always had internet, mobile phones and Apple – Gen Z doesn’t remember life without tech – in fact 82% of Gen Z Australians get the bulk of their info through social media/online more than any other medium.

Active and aware online, Gen Z aren’t just using social for selfies and food-art. They are creating, manipulating and rebelling via social media and digital means more and more. More and more young people are using online means as a way of expressing themselves or ideas and taking action on issues they believe are important.

Changing the world

Just think about all the huge social shifts in the last couple of decades. From marriage equality to embracing refugees and calling out systematic discrimination on a broader scale – Gen Z have experienced perhaps the most rapid, dramatic shifts of societal standards than any other generation. This means young people today are both more accepting of diversity and less tolerant of poor-attitudes toward negative social behaviors like bullying and discrimination. Gen Zers are 50% more likely to care about making an impact on the world than Gen Y were at the same age. These kids ain’t wasting any time by waiting to grow up.

Driven by causes and their values, they possess a strong sense of purpose. Faced with the question of purpose or profit, they are willing to trade dollars for passion when it comes to work.

The big take away here? Don’t take Gen Z for fools. These up-and-comers aren’t selfie-taking narcissists – they care, take action and are ready for anything.

For more information on who Gen Z are, read our report here.

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