Whilst the arrival of the pandemic was not altogether what Generation Z expected as they started approaching adulthood, we cannot overlook the underlying foundation of power skills they are building as they continue to self-prepare to enter a very different unknown future world of work. Research confirms that this generation now constitutes 32 percent of the global population on Earth, with their numbers surpassing the Millennials and Baby Boomers respectively.

The chances of you meeting them in the workplace, socially or in life generally is pretty high. Without making Gen Z sound alien or boxing and labelling them, they are “wired” differently. Their strength is not just in numbers, but in what you can learn from them. So let’s take a look through their lens and see what characteristics, traits and wisdom they have to offer us.

Gen Z’s are born digital natives and always informed
This generation does not know a world without smartphones, computers and online platforms. Social media and internet triggers their ability to absorb large amounts of information, thus they’ll be first to advise on the next lockdown or forthcoming announcement from the president. Fortunately being IT savvy has assisted them in online schooling with the ability to submit projects and homework all via Google Classroom.
♦️ What’s to learn?
Tech is the future and if you want to stay on top of your game and informed, you need to be connected, but also know when to switch off. This is the biggest challenge across all generations. The best way to get their attention is through voice messages or texting via WhatsApp – don’t think of phoning them.

Purpose driven
Whilst Gen Z acknowledges that the new world at work is going to look very different, they have not allowed the COVID situation to impact on their career aspirations and desired purpose in life. In fact 75% believe that new careers will be created because of the pandemic.
♦️ What’s to learn?
This generation knows what they want and the pandemic has not derailed them from following their career goals. They teach us to remain optimistic and not to lower our expectations of achieving our ambitions in life.

Entrepreneurs in the making
“Hustling” at this age seems to be a given. This can be anything from selling second hand clothing, providing online tutoring lessons, digital media influencer marketing or building/promoting one’s modelling portfolio with photographers or image library providers.
This generation are creators! They have to be living in a world where jobs are limited and creative thinking is necessary to earn. They are well aware that they will be working in freelance jobs than past generations. Whatsmore Gen Z’s aspire to working for themselves and not for someone else.
♦️ What’s to learn?
Together with this research, they acknowledge the fact that the future of work will look very different, with them most likely having to juggle a number of freelance jobs to earn an income.

Generation Z is competitive and only know a world of real time
Focused and impatient, they expect immediate response to their needs. They enjoy instant gratification and enjoy answers only in real time. They are driven to compete, wanting to be the best in whatever they do. They don’t accept failure easily, irrespective of whether it’s within themselves or against their peers.
♦️ What’s to learn?
Change is constant and if we are to remain relevant and competitive, we need to be continuously hungry to learn and grow irrespective of age.

Resourceful and vocal
This generation is independent and resourceful, with the ability to competently find solutions to their problems. Confidence levels are high and they are fearless in reaching out to teachers, tutors, siblings or friends for assistance. The days where this generation were told to “be seen and not heard” is certainly a thing of the past.
♦️ What’s to learn?
Remain connected, networked and never be afraid to ask questions. This is how we learn and become resourceful for ourselves and in assisting others.

Diversity and inclusion is the norm for Gen Z
This age group has an extremely strong calling for unity and condemn any form of discrimination, being completely accepting and interconnected with racial, LGBTQ community, gender, disabled and the like. Millennials and Gen Z’s have a strong sense of social justice and they expect employers to deliver authentically on this as part of their value proposition.
♦️ What’s to learn? An appreciation for valuing humanity and being respectful of every individual who have so much to offer. Inviting diversity and inclusion into our lives allows us to learn and grow.

Making the world a better place – driving change!
They view the danger of climate change and global warning seriously and thus you see  more and more Gen Z activists promoting charitable campaigns i.e. ocean plastic, animal rights and mental health.
♦️ What’s to learn?
Slow down and focus on the world outside, beyond screens. Promote recycling, awareness on carbon footprint etc. Join them in their conquest – you have nothing to learn only to gain.

This new breed of generation is still in the making as they continue to build a strong set of behavioral and power skills (which can consist of anything from adaptability, decision-making, time-management, communication, presentation and negotiation to name a few).

Generation Z is facing different challenges like no other. Our new world of uncertainty is putting them to the test, with them having to demonstrate resilience, perseverance, grit and agility – all of which will stand them in good stead now and into our unknown future.