Adapt to invest - Why Gen Z is the future
Updated: Mar 26, 2021
Gen Z - we are the generation that was born and raised in the most technologically advanced environment to date, and are now entering higher education and the workforce. Sometimes described as “millennials on steroids”, we have been stereotyped to be lazy, dependant on technology and mostly self-involved (Guide to Gen Z: Debunking the Myths of Our Youngest Generation). It is vital that older generations understand this is not the case - here is why Gen Z is the generation best suited for the future and why recruiters and higher education leaders should adapt as an investment, much like Hotel Institute Montreux has done.
As discussed in the article Gen Z- Tech junkies or change makers?, Gen Zs have had the opportunity to grow up in the technological revolution. We have not only been able to adapt to change around us, but have also become masters of the technological and virtual advances that our modern world heavily relies on today. Creating a post, sharing information with our peers and making virtual content in social media has become second nature to us. It has even been stated by Wellman and Haythornthwaite that the Internet has become so embedded within our daily lives that it has reached a “second age”, which means it is an irreplaceable part of our modern routine. This digital fluency ecnompasses many of the skills that are necessary for future businesses and brands in the Digital Age. Our generation is already equipped with the expertise of communicating with the world - a quality that employers should be taking advantage of.
Our generation is already equipped with the expertise of communicating with the world - a quality that employers should be taking advantage of.
Being surrounded by the constant supply of information and the latest news that becomes old news the next day, Gen Zs have developed the ability to filter what is important to them and what is not. With vast amounts of information available at the tips of our fingers, we have developed a curiosity; a need to self-evolve, develop and learn about ourselves and the world around us. Millenials and the generations before them did not have this opportunity so readily - learning about oneself and one’s dreams often came slowly with trial and error. Nowadays, with so many learning opportunities available to us so easily, we are the generation that knows what we want to be and (just as importantly), what we don’t want to be. Through the access to the internet, we have had the ability to witness countless experts work in their fields, to explore multitudes of different lifestyles that individuals lead and to determine where our own morals and ideas stand in this rapidly changing world. This has helped shape us to be the most self-aware generation, one which has been lucky enough to have been able to observe the achievements and mistakes of those before us. Our ambition and determination is a byproduct of this fast-paced information exchange that we have been forced to filter as we grew up.
Internet has helped shape us to be the most self-aware generation, one which has been lucky enough to have been able to observe the achievements and mistakes of those before us
With increased globalised competition in the job market, we have to find more creative and attractive ways to appeal to employers and recruiters. We have grown up learning, both consciously and subconsciously, how to develop and apply our virtual networking skills and online presence through social media. In a way, we have adapted to our own environment and have become specialists in doing so. However, as Gen Z grows older, the consumer market is changing and this is why it is important and undeniably instrumental that the way businesses approach both their consumers and their workforce changes as well. It is up to both higher education and recruiters to invest in us by preparing Gen Z to be the best workforce for the future, while fostering and nurturing our own inherent talents.
Being a business and hospitality student myself, I have witnessed how the adaptation to Gen Z is possible within higher education. Hotel Institute Montreux has implemented small, but significant changes into the way curriculum is delivered to students. For example, iPads are provided to students to be used as learning tools across all classes. Not only does this provide everyone from all backgrounds with an equitable learning environment, but it also modernises the teaching method, allowing the students to study with tools that are familiar and relevant to them. Multiple classes also have unconventional ways of conveying the curriculum to the students, such as leading the lessons through the app Instagram. This combines a familiar element that is already known to us with new information, making studies more engaging.
Hotel Institute Montreux not only adapts to Gen Z through its teaching methods, but it also prioritises our generation’s interests and applicable needs in the business and hospitality world. For example, hosting the Head of Sustainable Development from WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) to deliver an informative talk or teaching students about the importance of social media presence and awareness when organising their banquets while also highlighting the value of banquet promotion through face to face activities or skits. Hotel Institute Montreux has adapted to Gen Z by teaching core theory such as the interplay of high touch and high tech in the ever modernising hospitality industry, while also acknowledging the overall passions of Gen Z.
This combination of more forward teaching approaches and an interaction with experienced mentors from previous generations is shaping Gen Z students to be the workforce best suited for the future of the Digital Age. You should think of this adaptation to Gen Z as an investment, because one way or another, we are the future. The world is always changing and evolving, and we are not only keeping up with it, but we are the drive behind the change itself. That is why you must adapt as an investment. By taking the skills and abilities we already have into account, while simultaneously expanding our knowledge about our dream industry, higher education leaders will be creating a well rounded, prepared and ambitious workforce - crushing those stereotypes that have been ascribed to us!
Make sure to leave a comment below with your thoughts on the matter and share with your fellow recruiters and professionals - do they agree?
Author: Mr Adrian Johansson, Hospitality Bachelor Student at Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM) from Norway