Imag­i­neer­ing the Fu­ture Work­Force

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By JAY JABONETA The au­thor is ad­vance­ment ad­viser and con­sul­tant on dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies at De La Salle–College of St. Be­nilde.

How the mo­bile na­tives' gen­er­a­tion will change the fu­ture of work and the work­place. • The Gen­er­a­tion Z (Gen Z) pop­u­la­tion to reach 2.56 bil­lion by 2020 • 96 per­cent of Gen Z’ers own a smart­phone • One third (1/3) of them also watch videos on­line every day

As this new gen­er­a­tion’s college grad­u­ates are start­ing to en­ter the work force, it’s im­por­tant that we ex­plore the dif­fer­ences they have com­pared to older gen­er­a­tions, most es­pe­cially the Mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion.

Mo­bile Na­tives

A new gen­er­a­tion is emerg­ing and they are not just dig­i­tal na­tives but more im­por­tant, they are mo­bile na­tives. There is a cru­cial dif­fer­ence: While Mil­len­ni­als first came to use the In­ter­net us­ing a PC or lap­top, Gen­er­a­tion Z first came to use the In­ter­net us­ing a mo­bile de­vice, ei­ther through a tablet or mo­bile phone. While Mil­len­ni­als com­mu­ni­cate mainly us­ing text or voice, Gen Z’ers com­mu­ni­cate mainly via emo­jis and even by us­ing videos or movies.

Be­cause they grew up with instant and on-de­mand con­tent, they are pretty much aware of what’s hap­pen­ing around the world. This gen­er­a­tion wants to change the world and they are the gen­er­a­tion most ex­posed to tech­nol­ogy, even start­ing from a very early stage. Tech­nol­ogy shapes their lives and their world­view.

Stream­ing and Gam­ing Na­tives

They don’t know a time with­out the in­ter­net—they fa­vor stream­ing con­tent in bites, like those of­fered through Youtube, Vimeo, or Face­book (and even Net­flix, Hulu, Hooq, and iFlix), and con­sume it mostly on their phones and other de­vices. A ma­jor­ity of them are also into mo­bile-based gam­ing, hav- ing grown up with An­gry Birds, Clash of Clans, Candy Crush, and the like. They see play­ing dig­i­tal games as part of their lives.

7 ma­jor dif­fer­ences be­tween Mil­len­ni­als and Gen Z’ers • Gen Z’ers can “truly” multi-task–In

school, they can cre­ate a doc­u­ment on their school com­puter, do re­search on their phone or tablet, while tak­ing notes on a notepad, then fin­ish in front of a TV with a lap­top, while face-tim­ing a friend. You get the pic­ture. In the work­place, this gen­er­a­tion might start work­ing on a doc­u­ment in the af­ter­noon, open it on their phone on the ride home, and pull it up again on their lap­top while watch­ing TV at night. This has ma­jor im­pli­ca­tions, as they will be the largest mem­bers of the work force in the next 10 years.

• Gen Z’ers are true dig­i­tal na­tives while Mil­len­ni­als are dig­i­tal pi­o­neers –

Al­ways-on con­nec­tiv­ity, highly cu­rated global in­for­ma­tion, on-de­mand video, and 24/7 news cy­cles are na­tive to this gen­er­a­tion. Since they’ve been liv­ing in a world of mo­bile phones and free Wi-Fi for as long as they can re­mem­ber, most of them have some sort of dig­i­tal foot­print. They can eas­ily shift be­tween plat­forms and tech­nolo­gies and pick up new soft­ware quickly. The lines be­tween en­ter­tain­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tion are blur­ring as they use more emo­jis, ef­fects, and fil­ters to con­vey what they want to say.

• Gen Z’ers pre­fer In­flu­encers than Mil­len­ni­als do

– For Gen Z’ers, in­flu­encers are more than just en­ter­tain­ers, they are role models, move­ment lead­ers, even ed­u­ca­tors. It’s very com­mon for Gen Z’ers to turn to YouTube or on­line chan­nels when they want to learn some­thing, in­stead of us­ing more con­ven­tional ed­u­ca­tion meth­ods like find­ing a tu­tor or tak­ing in-cam­pus classes.

• Gen Z’ers use more dig­i­tal plat­forms (at the same time) –

Gen Z’ers don’t just have shorter at­ten­tion spans, they can also jug­gle more screens. In the work­place, this might mean they want to ap­ply for a job us­ing a mo­bile de­vice and, for most of them, pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment in the work­force should look like YouTube, not a bin­der. Video is re­ally im­por­tant.

• Gen Z’ers are more Global and So­cial –

Young peo­ple to­day have more in com­mon with their global peers than they do with adults in their own coun­try. This is a highly so­cial gen­er­a­tion. When tex­ting, chat­ting, and us­ing so­cial me­dia, they’re also shar­ing.

• Gen Z’ers ex­plore al­ter­na­tives to for­mal ed­u­ca­tion -

Gen Z’ers be­lieve get­ting a four-year de­gree no longer makes eco­nomic and some­times even pro­fes­sional sense, and hun­dreds of pro­grams, from ap­pren­tice­ships to boot camps, have cropped up to of­fer al­ter­na­tive paths. New types of work are pos­si­ble, too. GenZ’ers are look­ing for ed­u­ca­tion al­ter­na­tives. They will pur­sue on-de­mand or just-in-time learn­ing so­lu­tions, like how to YouTube tu­to­ri­als or Khan Academy, or will seek em­ploy­ers that of­fer strong on-the-job and de­vel­op­ment train­ing.

• Gen Z’ers fo­cus on role-hop­ping in­stead of job-hop­ping –

If Mil­len­ni­als helped usher in an era in which it is nor­mal to go through sev­eral ca­reers and have flex­i­ble sched­ules, Gen Z’ers are find­ing ways to have all those ca­reers at the same time.

In the past, work­ers have been pas­sive play­ers in their ca­reer de­vel­op­ment jour­ney. In the fu­ture, they will be cre­at­ing their own op­por­tu­ni­ties by go­ing on­line to ed­u­cate them­selves about their cho­sen fields and also to learn new skills on their own.

Busi­nesses will have to cre­ate new frame­works and struc­tures around their work­places to en­tice this gen­er­a­tion to stay.

Gen Z’ers be­lieve get­ting a four-year de­gree no longer makes eco­nomic and some­times even pro­fes­sional sense, and hun­dreds of pro­grams, from ap­pren­tice­ships to boot camps, have cropped up to of­fer al­ter­na­tive paths.

POST-MIL­LEN­NI­ALS Most re­searchers and de­mog­ra­phers iden­tify those born in the mid-1990s to the early 2000s as mem­bers of Gen­er­a­tion Z.

MO­BILE NA­TIVES Gen Z'ers have spent the bet­ter part of their for­ma­tive years in front of a mo­bile screen.

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