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  • Anna Shulakova

Are Higher Education Institutions ready for Gen Z?

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

In recent years, there has been a dramatic change in the proportion of school graduates entering higher education institutions. We can say that higher education has become widespread. In general, the university receives not only people who intend to continue to go into those areas of activity that were previously directly related to higher education – science, medicine, etc. Many people today want to work in the service sector, but in senior positions. Representatives of my generation show a craving for management, where hard decisions have to be made, and for work related to customer service. Compared to previous generations, generation Z, were born in the world, where the Internet, social networks and mobile technologies had always existed. The world, as we know it, was saturated with financial, economic and environmental shocks, and my generation also wants to change something in it.We can be praised or scolded, but we are like these. Generation Z has already begun to influence the labor market, and employers are already trying to make adjustments to work processes. So why do institutes and universities (which first of all have to think) not think about the influence of generation Z on higher education?

It is necessary to rethink how institutions and universities interact with students. Heads of universities, who understand the connection between the presence of the university in the virtual space and studying at it and will make appropriate changes in the work of the educational institution, will benefit. The new generation has completely different expectations. The basis of successful work with students of the new generation is joint creation. Simply stated, it is necessary to attract the students themselves to update the services provided in order to satisfy their needs.

The basis of successful work with students of the new generation is joint creation.

Unfortunately, representatives of generation Z are not at all inclined to loyalty, which is usually disliked by employers, who struggle with employee turnover. Young people today are looking for work rather cynically, wanting to get a flexible job that allows them to travel (move around the city, around the country, around the world), but at the same time, ambitions aim them to look for a prestigious and well-paid position. Theoretically, an organization should provide additional or flexible vacations, have a flexible remuneration system, offer flexible working time, and ideally – remote work or freelancing, offering a salary that allows you to travel.

Two hotel institute Montreux students at Young Hoteliers Summit

In my opinion, institutes and universities should be in the student’s smartphones. Like our school does. Our Hospitality school in Switzerland Hotel Institute Montreux provides Ipads to the students, where we have every time access to our lectures and where we can communicate with our teachers. At the same time we should remember that it is not only about digital developments. The ubiquity of online communications means that using printed brochures can have a greater impact than ever before.

In my opinion, institutes and universities should be in the student’s smartphones.

Students need constant feedback and response to their actions. As in social networks – each post is accompanied by comments, reposts and likes. They expect the same from work.

One may complain and lament, but this generation does not like paper books, it is not inclined to read complex texts of more than 5-6 pages. That is why our Hospitality school in Switzerland tries to make every class interesting by using Ipads, screens, videos to keep us being focusing into the process. It thinks in discrete images from comics, in an extremely pragmatic way. It is prone to hedonism and tends to an interesting life. And we must often remember that universities, professors and researchers exist for students, and not vice versa. And this new generation of students wants the higher education, knowledge they gained at the university to help them better adapt to the changing demands of the labor market. That’s why also from the beginning of our studies we have to work in groups, try to solve the problem together, listen to each other, because when we will start working in the companies, being in team is the most important thing. Only working all together you can achieve high goals.

Business expects young employees to be confident in new technologies, able to work in a team, quickly adapt to changes, and have the ability to work in crisis situations, and, of course, have good professional knowledge and skills. In my hospitality school in Switzerland students have a great opportunity to do internships. Like this we already get the experience of working in the industry, to see what it is, to work in hospitality. To be sure that it is really what we want to do in our future.

Another thing is more important: by acquiring the skills to learn, to think critically, to participate in team design work, students ensure that they can successfully fulfil themselves in various areas.

It is known that the most successful careers in the world were usually made “in a zigzag”: people changed jobs, often professions, on average, every 7-9 years. A good higher education gives knowledge and skills for learning throughout life, gives the drive and the desire to search for their new, active place in a changing world, to find it and to succeed as a bright personality, whose talent and knowledge are always in demand by society.

If you have to add something, do not be hesitate. Write your comments below and we can add more information about higher education.

Author: Ms Anna Shulakova, Hospitality Bachelor Student at Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM), from Russia.

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