Much is being written and observed about Gen Z in terms of life and entrepreneurship. Some articles talk about the lack of face-to-face communication skills. Others, lack of focus. Other articles and studies mention the high level of mental anxiety and stress that seems to be associated with this generation. Is all hope lost for this generation? Not too fast. All this “noise” seems to remind this author of another generation who were told they would never amount to much, that their long hair and questioning of authority and rules would lead to a wasted life. Well, this generation of people, let’s call them young baby boomers (teenagers from the 60s and 70s), did well. So let’s take a deeper look at Generation Z, its current shortcomings and potential.
According to Pew Research, Designing Generations Report, what is unique about Generation Z is that technology has been a part of their lives since the beginning. The iPhone was launched in 2007, when the oldest Gen Zers were 10 years old. By the time they were teenagers, the primary means by which young Americans connected to the web was through mobile devices, WIFI, and high-bandwidth cellular service. Social media, constant connectivity, and on-demand entertainment and communication are simply taken for granted by Generation Z. What we don’t understand are the implications of growing up in an “always on” technology environment over time. We know they are very tech savvy.
When it comes to Gen Z’s communication skills, especially face-to-face communication, the abundance of articles on the subject, including this one from LinkedIn, agree on one thing. That Gen Z struggles with basic communication skills. The common link in the articles seems to be early exposure to technology, social media, and now the pandemic that has isolated and hindered Gen Z’s communication abilities. And college may not have prepared Gen Z for to the ‘soft skills’ needed early in your career, such as how to negotiate, public speaking, networking and how to resolve conflicts through communication skills. This means they will need to learn these skills on the job or employers will recognize that Gen Z are talented through hard skills, but need training in soft skills to grow in their careers.
So we have a generation Z population growing up before our eyes who are tech savvy, face high levels of stress and anxiety and need to improve their communication skills. Could this generation be one of the greatest entrepreneurial generations ever? How?
Here are several ideas for why Gen Z will be purposefully disruptive and potentially very entrepreneurial.
Ambitious and purposeful. Early in life, Gen Z has expressed concerns about a variety of things, including the planet, food and energy. They seem genuinely concerned and want to make a difference. This concern will help them form their purposes and eventually they will form a strong resolve about what they believe in and will not be swayed easily. Although they dwell a lot on life and its fears, purpose is their North Star.
Restless and disturbing. The restlessness they feel is directly related to their uncertainty about their future, be it their job, career, purpose, planet, Alas, etc.; they care a lot They also question many things. Now they’ve experienced the great resignation, the remote work and the great regret as the tech companies are adjusting the rights. It’s becoming clear to them that working for a big company won’t bring them the kind of satisfaction or life purpose they crave.
Collection of expertise. Generation Z is working. They are gathering even more work experience and knowledge. They’re getting smarter about what work is and isn’t. As they gain knowledge, they are less afraid. In addition to the technology they already know, they are now learning how SasS, Ai and other next generation technologies can be used to improve/disrupt things. In fact, the proposed technological disruption could be their future weapon.
Maturity but not faithful. Talk to several Gen Z adults between the ages of 25 and 30 and ask them about their current company loyalty. They may love what they’re doing, but if a company’s goals don’t align with theirs, they’re simply biding their time, earning income, traveling, and waiting for the next one. If they work for a company for more than three years, it will be amazing. On the other hand, they are getting a little older, developing more maturity, gaining confidence and actively seeking to live a good life.
disturbing All of the above leads this author to believe that Gen Z will be disruptive on purpose and use their life purposes to create the kind of companies they want to see in the future. Once they overcome their fears, gain more work experience and confidence, then they could easily create disruptive companies because they will discover that they can do it. And once they achieve early success, they will create even more companies to the point where they could become the most entrepreneurial generation in history.
As Gen Z-ers become the newest members of the adult workforce, they are making their presence known in the entrepreneurial world. Today’s youth have a unique understanding of how to harness the power of Millennial’s movements, such as sustainability and environmental conservation, LGBTQ rights, digital media accessibility and much more. Three key factors are driving Gen Z-ers to become passionate entrepreneurs – fear, anxiety and purpose. And when combined, these make them arguably the best entrepreneurial generation ever.
The fear of not having enough saved up for retirement or the fear of not having a job 12 months down the line are sufficient motivators for Gen Z-ers to forge their own paths. This fear of the unknown can drive them to push forward and create a safety net for themselves. The millennial movement towards financial independence has also made an impression on Gen Z-ers, and those next in line are eager to take advantage of its offerings.
Anxiety is also a powerful emotional driver for many Gen Z-ers. Driven by factors such as the desire to escape simple, yet isolating tasks that come with traditional jobs, Gen Z-ers are equipped and ready to take on the self-employment arena. Anxieties associated with traditional corporate structures, such as office politics, strict regulations, and lack of autonomy make entrepreneurship an attractive alternative.
Finally, purpose or the search for meaning and fulfillment fail most of those who are seeking simply a paycheck. It is well noted that the younger generations place emphasis on meaningful work and experiences, where they can make a real difference in their community or the world. By creating their own spaces, they are able to reach a level of power and creative control that many only dream of.
At Ikaroa, we fully support these ambitious entrepreneurs and we strive to provide them with the necessary programs and resources to reach their goals. We believe in fostering a culture of collaboration and learning, where everyone is invited to benefit from the collective knowledge of Gen Z-ers. We are committed to helping the next wave of entrepreneurs to make the most of their potential and create a successful business.