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Are you prepared for Gen Z tech workers?

Tom Kaneshige | Sept. 3, 2014
Think millennials are complicated? It doesn’t get any easier with Gen Zers, who will enter the workforce en masse shortly. The two generations share some similarities but also some stark differences.

Managing the younger generations can get tricky; they value honesty above all other leadership traits. More than 60 percent of Gen Zers have a strong desire for managers to listen to their ideas and value their opinions, compared to 56 percent of Gen Yers. On the other hand, the study shows that 58 percent of Gen Yers have a stronger desire for managers to allow them to work independently, compared to 46 percent of Gen Zers.

The study also busted a few myths about these younger generations and their attachment to technology and open workspaces.

Perhaps the most startling finding in the study, Gen Zers prefer face-to-face communication with managers over technology tools such as email, instant messaging and video conferencing. Although technology can help Gen Zers grow their careers, it can be a major distraction. Slightly more than one-third of Gen Zers ranked instant messaging as the biggest work distraction, followed by Facebook and email.

And then there's the emergence of campus playgrounds full of shared workspaces that are supposed to attract the younger generation.

While there's a lot of hype around co-working spaces, the study has found that fewer than one third of both generations prefer to work in those settings. In fact, Gen Z and Gen Y chose a corporate office space as their top work environment, with 45 percent of Gen Y preferring a traditional office, say, a cubicle, compared to 28 percent of Gen Y. Of course, both generations chose a shared workspace as their second choice — although one that operates independently of the employer, the study says.


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