By some estimates, the class of 2017 represents the first cohort of the generation Z workforce to graduate from university and start their careers. Born between 1995 and 2009, Gen Z currently makes up only 9 percent of the Australian workforce, but within 10 short years, this percentage will skyrocket to a whopping 32 percent of all Australian workers, according to Australian social research organisation McCrindle. And, at 19 percent of the nation’s population, Gen Z is the most connected generation ever.
In 2015, the Australian Communications and Media Authority revealed that 88 percent of Australian teens go online daily—with smartphone ownership by 80 percent of all Australian teens the biggest factor in their increasing time online. Technology that’s debuted during the Gen Z lifetime includes everything from smartphones to Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Tinder.
While important, Gen Z’s connectivity and comfort with apps and devices isn’t the most vital factor when considering what tech the generation Z workforce will look for to help them in their careers—it’s more essential to understand how growing up with these bits and bytes will inform their behaviour and attitudes about tech at work.
Find work anytime, anywhere
The line between work and life continues to blur, as constant streams of photos proliferate on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, illustrating just how sweet #todaysoffice can be. The Gen Z workforce may be the most likely cohort to take advantage of a boundary-less office and become digital nomads.
To support living on a beach, atop a mountain, or in another exotic locale, you still need a paycheque. That said, where there’s demand, supply will follow—so it’s no surprise that a plethora of platforms has been developed to help those with wanderlust find work. Github, Working Nomads, The Remote Working Company, Remote OK, DigitalNomad JobFinder, We Work Remotely, and RemoteBase are just a few examples offering the Gen Z worker a way to locate and land a job no matter where they are.
Apply for jobs via text
All that connectivity is likely taking place on a mobile device. Right now, 80 percent of Gen Z owns a smartphone in Australia. A new survey from Indeed revealed that 76 percent of Australian job candidates would apply for positions on their phone. No wonder 55 percent said their mobile job search is driven by convenience.
A few startups have ventured into this territory to smooth the communication between companies and candidates, such as TextRecruit. Employers need to be on point to grab top talent before it gets away—especially when Gen Zers turned down offers that come in too slowly.
Enhance communication with new collab tools
Amazon Prime Now plays into the demand for immediate delivery and instant gratification. In the workplace, this translates to better scheduling and meeting tech.
Even though more Australians work remotely than ever—either because they’re among the 33 percent of the Australian workforce who, as of September 2016, regularly work from home, or because they elect to become digital nomads—there’s still a need to confer and gather. An array of virtual meeting software has been developed to tackle this demand.
Communication tools, like Slack or Google Hangouts, which have both voice and video call functions, will also become essential for talking with coworkers who don’t work in the cubicle next door. The better a platform can integrate with other apps, the more likely the generation Z workforce will adopt it. One touch to toggle between uploading a GIF, creating a poll, sending a team message, and other functionalities is likely to win over the Gen Z worker.
Book better and deliver faster
Instagram photos reinforce Gen Z’s need to have experiences—and book and document them on the spot. The Gen Z workforce will naturally gravitate to outgrowths of apps, such as OpenTable and Resy to make reservations, travel apps to organise work trips, and scheduling software to book meetings and conferences.
As the generation Z workforce continues to grow, tech companies will continue scrambling to accommodate their specific demands. But the savvy developer will be mindful and not exclude the requirements of the older generations in the workplace. Avoiding shadow IT is all about accommodating the user experience and that means knowing your users and giving them exactly what they want—comfort, ease of use, and convenience, which will boost your employees’ productivity and ability to collaborate.