Myths about Gen Z
Updated: Mar 26
We have arrived at a time when the first generation of digital natives are entering the workplace. Generation Z are graduating from university, and entering the workplace. I was tasked with writing a blog post about how they are different from older generations. Well, I believe that Gen Z will definitely succeed in the workplace, and to prove that, throughout this blog there are several misconceptions about generation Z that I am going to prove wrong!
Those same misconceptions that form negative impressions about them to you recruiters. I believe the perfect word to describe those misconceptions will be “myths” which is suitable since in the dictionary, the meaning of myth is: “a widely held but false belief or idea.”
Flexibiliy matters much more than cool offices!
The first of those is that Gen Z are looking for modern, trendy, and new offices that will look cool. Offices they can take pictures in, and post on social media to show off to their friends. In reality, Gen Z are not concerned with their offices at all! As part of Gen Z, I believe we are only looking for a comfortable, flexible environment that will push us to be more productive, and make us more efficient. Both of which will certainly be one of our tasks or goals that are required by our employers. Most of us that are looking for even more flexibility, become entrepreneurs, open their own companies or offices, and set up their own rules. Nothing wrong about that at all. In fact, nowadays the challenge is who can come up with a million first! It’s all over the news, 21-year-old millionaires, people who open startups at 16 years old and become hugely successful. The other day I read about a kid that got into the resale business, at just 17 years old. Now he is supplying footwear to the biggest celebrities and football players, while making huge money in the process. People took this spirit, ambition, drive, and motivation to become successful by being different; and transformed it into one completely wrong sentence that states we are looking for new, trendy offices to work in which is considered abnormal.
We can simply say we are Gen Z and we are different. Not being the same is being unique, I understand this can be intimidating to those from early generations. Soon enough, the dust will clear up, and the truth will come out. The new age of digital intelligence is coming. Learning all the sciences, math, and arts is going to become obsolete. Now machines run the world, it might be scary, but it is true. Why learn math if you can program a machine to do our calculations for us. Why learn history if all we have to do to find a piece of information is to “google” it. Those online terms have been used so much in our daily lives that we have transformed them into verbs. The funny part is, this is just the beginning!
Being immature and young is normal!
Onto the second myth, “Gen Z are too young and immature for the workplace”. I understand all those misconceptions, it is the fear of getting replaced talking not the people. Gen Z is going from being 15-20 years old now to 20-25. Soon enough all minor positions will be occupied by Gen Z people; and I am 100% sure that Gen Z will definitely succeed in the workplace! A few years after that we will be occupying even higher positions. Being immature and young is normal! It is included in the sentence, to be specific in the keyword “YOUNG”. I have to admit, this one is true; because we are indeed YOUNG. However, time is the only constant in life. Time does not stop, it keeps moving whatever we do.
As baby-boomer, baby-busters, millennials, and all the other generations did; we will learn with time. That is one of the only things that we have. Time. Us young people are already starting business, becoming influencers on social media platforms such as Instagram, or becoming vloggers on YouTube. We now live in the digital age, and there is no one that knows it better than us. Research from the National Retail Federation (nrf.com) has found that 24% of Gen Z are currently working part-time, 22% are making money online, and 16% are already working for themselves. These numbers are only going to increase, exponentially. I bet that within the next 5 years, on Forbes’ list of the most influential people, more than 50% of them will be part of Gen Z. How’s that for young and immature.
Face to face communication is highly preferred.
Remember when I only said time is the only constant in life? Well, I lied, there is also change. If people don’t adapt to change, they will be left behind, and that is a fact. The third misconception is Gen Z cannot communicate face to face, “they are addicted to their screens” is the line I hear often. What employers have to take into consideration is the fact that we were born into the world with technology already a part of it. Technology is a part of us actually, it is in our blood. I repeat we are Gen Z and we are different, being familiar with technology is one of those different ways in which we were raised. We don’t know the world that existed before technology. We only read about it, and listen to old stories that are supposed to be nostalgic which just do not hit us. We need a different approach to reach us, an approach we know, a technological approach!
Recruiters might think that focusing on our “screens” will distract us from doing our actual job, influence our productivity, and make us not worth the money. However, it has been proven that 50% of Gen Z prefer face to face communication. If you ask me, I am part of that 50%, I find too much technology distracting. If you ask my peers and teachers, they will inform you that I am a very active person that likes to talk a lot. That might sound a bit negative, however, I believe that this is my best trait. In this world that is covered in tech, people still trust in the human touch, and would much rather have contact with a person than a machine. Nowadays, being a good communicator is one of the most sought-after traits in candidates. People who know how to talk to guests/clients and “sell” their product/service. I could go for the usual “sell me this pen” stunt, and sell you the pen! Instead, I would like to remain humble and let your imagination figure out my “techniques”. That, creativity, is another specialty of Gen Z. In addition to critical thinking, they form the perfect candidate profile for any kind of job.
Tell us how to improve
The fourth myth is “Gen Z cannot take criticism”. This sentence is misguiding. Criticism has different types, we certainly don’t appreciate dishonesty or time-wasting. We prefer honesty and being straightforward from the beginning. As specified in the past myth, we prefer face to face interactions; hence, criticism that is spoken face to face will certainly be accepted. It is not failure, it is a chance to become better and improve.
So, to you recruiters, if you are ever going to reject candidates, we also appreciate details; this will enable us to point out our weak spots and solve them. Get more prepared for our next opportunity, and then nail it.
Passion and Career are the same
The final myth of this blog is that Gen Z emphasize on their passion and forget all about developing their career. However, put yourselves in our shoes, you will see that focusing on our passions is in fact developing our careers! All the mistakes done by previous generations will not be repeated by us. I believe we are very lucky to have technology with all the information in the world. Biggest opportunity for us to learn! You will not find a Gen Z member that is unhappy in the future. We are all going for the jobs that we like. As I said earlier, we are Gen Z, we are different, and we will Gen Z will definitely succeed in the workplace! The world has turned into a small village thanks to the internet. All the doors in the world are wide open for us.
I am a Jordanian student studying in Switzerland, that is looking for internship opportunities in North America. 20 years ago, this would have been impossible.
Therefore, I advise all the recruiters, and those discouraged to hire Gen Z people, those who think we are distracted by our “screens” and those who believe that we are incapable of doing our job efficiently to do the exact opposite. If your gut feeling tells you that one of us is the wrong person for the job, I advise you to ignore it and go ahead with that candidate. Usually people advise to go with your gut feeling, but to be honest, your gut feeling is incapable of understanding what we are capable of, and neither do you, or even us. No one is aware of what we can achieve; because right now I would say the sky is the limit, but that too now is invalid. We are limitless, and our abilities are much more than the human minds understands. To eradicate all those myths and conclude this blog post, I am going to leave you with one reality; WE ARE UNSTOPPABLE! If you liked this blog, please like and let me know what’s your opinion about this topic in the comment section below!
Author: Mr Tawfiq Irshaidat, Hospitality Bachelor Student at Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM), from Jordan