Launch season is just around the corner, so the Gen Z expert and Rutgers University adjunct professor Marc Beal thought he would check back in with this generation again, to study how those born from 1997 cope with life after high school and college and survive the rigors of entering the job market, a process what they would call “adulthood”.
Call it “Gen Z is growing up,” even if that’s not the title. “Gen Z Graduates to Adulthood” is based on more than 60 interviews with young people aged 22 to 26, Beal’s third book, after “Decoding Gen Z” (2018) and “Engaging Gen Z” (2020).
Over the past 18 months, no matter what topic we’re wondering about, the most pressing topics marketers want to discuss are the vagaries of employment and the impact of COVID on the consumer psyche. Let’s start with the latter.
While it’s too early to determine for sure what impact the pandemic has had on this group or any group, Beal warned it will be profound. “For many, their milestones — whether graduations, family weddings or funerals — likely took place on a video screen,” Beal said. “It sharpened and accelerated their coping skills and resilience, as they had to learn to do so many things from home, starting with learning.”
So while some employers are trying to reinstate the pre-COVID five-day office workweek, this generation, along with millennials, are pushing back with a vengeance. Turns out the hybrid is that “new normal” everyone’s been looking for for 26 months.
“A lot of Gen Zers tell me, ‘They’re not going to bring me back. [to an office] physically, or I will find another job,” Beal said. “It’s certainly not exclusive to Gen Z, but it’s stronger with them because they feel like it’s already been proven that they can do anything remotely. So this is WFA [work from anywhere] for most of them – or two days a week in the office at most.
As interview subject “Summer D.” explained, “We no longer work in a company that has to be in a physical office. …Gen Z wants work/life balance.
Gen Z is the most demographically diverse yet, so it’s even more imperative than precious balance to work for a company that values diversity and inclusion. More than a third of people surveyed for the book ranked these principles as more important than competitive salary and benefits when choosing an employer. This group has been dubbed the “Goal Generation” and they look for that in potential employers and in the brands they shop for on a regular basis. Around 90% said they would research a brand to find out its purpose before making a purchase.
Generation Z dictionary
Gen Z talks about Mark Beal’s Gen Z Glossary:
bruh: Gender-neutral term used for a friend
Capping/Blocking: Lie. “This person is peaking.”
Cheugy: Lifestyle trends associated with the early 2010s, the opposite of fashion
Drake: feeling emotional, sad
Fire: Anything that looks good, sounds good, is good or really cool
Gloup/Glowup/Glowingup: Someone who has gone through an incredible, more mature transformation. Confident, seductive
No cap: No lie, for real. “No cap, I got 100 on my exam.”
OK Boomer: Meant as an insult to a member of an older generation after making some sort of ignorant ‘offline’ comment
Hot tea: Really big gossip
WFA: Work from anywhere
FMH: Work at home
Another area of growing importance to this segment is that their employers address stress by offering “mental health days” to workers.
“These didn’t exist three or four years ago, but now they’re more common and valued,” said Beal, whose research found that older Gen Zers view mental health as the one of the main career goals, going well beyond physical health, financial well-being and career. development. “For any property or brand looking to engage Gen Z, mental health would be a big area to explore,” Beal said.
You’ve no doubt been told that Millennials are drawn to experience over material possessions, but that’s even more true for Gen Z. For sports properties, that means providing “Instagrammable moments.” exit parking lots.
“They want access and experience, and it doesn’t have to be directly connected to the game,” Beal said. “For a Gen Zer, riding a Zamboni to a hockey game is probably more important than hockey. For them, it’s unique and, of course, a big social media moment.
Top Gen Z brands see the lens as critical to their positioning. The most referenced: Patagonia, Target, lululemonin the same way Stool Sports, Spotifyand Youtube, for everything from DIY videos to movies and music. “You probably had the radio on when you were doing your homework,” one student told Beal. “We have YouTube all day.”
Terry Lefton can be contacted at [email protected]