The Rise of Generation Z or iGen

iGEN.pngWhere has time gone? Generation Z is now the largest population group in the United States and has the greatest amount of disposable income. They are quickly becoming the new movers and shakers, while many are still focused on figuring out the Millennials.

This new generation is made up of an interesting mix of ideals since some of their parents are Gen Xers and others are Millennials. The first portion of the group (mid 90’s) grew up during the Great Recession with 9/11 driven security issues being a major factor in society. They are also the first group of individuals to be raised in a ubiquitous Internet society with 40% admitting to their smartphone addiction.

This unique positioning of the Internet in their lives has given rise to some calling the generation: iGen. They are also known as Post-Millennial, Homeland Generation, Plurals, The Founders, etc. The names come from published white papers in the advertising and marketing industry. It typically takes several years of observation for the group name to solidify, and since Gen Z started around 1996 and is still being birthed today, the final labels won’t lock in for some time.

Twitter and Instagram are their go to apps with Snapchat and Periscope following close behind. Gen Z does use Facebook, but only because they feel a commitment to community and that’s the place where most people hang out. With that said, it’s important to note that Gen Z enjoys following everyone’s shares, but rarely shares their own information. They prefer to keep things private.

In the U.S., 55% of Gen Z are non-Hispanic Caucasians, 24% are Hispanic, 14% African American, 4% are Asian, and 4% Multiracial or Other. As a group they are very diverse in their acceptance and prefer authenticity to polished imagery. They are opposed to “photoshopped” pictures, preferring real life imperfections.

The most important factor concerning Gen Z is their need for stability, something the millennial generation upset with its ever-changing community views on what’s right and wrong. In an attempt to stabilize their lives, Gen Z has become highly educated through Internet based self-education.

Gen Z is fiscally moderate to conservative. They fear huge college loans and many are jumping directly into the workforce to avoid debt. They seek stable jobs filled with purpose, where they can make a difference in society. They believe in continuing education, but not through the school system.

The workplace is becoming more complex because the things and processes that company’s finally figured out would work for Millennials does not work for Gen Z. Due to Gen X and Millennials parenting styles, leaving much of life for Gen Z to figure out on their own, Gen Z are quickly becoming more entrepreneurial. This trend leads to more start up boutiques that will function globally in order to survive. Gen Z’s Internet savvy will empower small global companies to pop up anywhere.

Bonds will develop between the boutique businesses to act like a large corporation on important projects. Gen Z’s drive for purpose and making a difference will give churches the opportunity to define purpose and help Gen Z’s to apply it in life. But if churches don’t fulfill the need, politicians will step up and gain political leverage by defining purpose.

The oldest of Gen Z turned 21 this year and is ready to make a difference in his or her workplace. They are also poised to impact our communities with a new perspective and purpose. The one thing we can count on is that the formal direction the generation will take will not be in keeping with the Millennials’ dreams or perspective.

© 2017 by CJ Powers

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