Results of the Generation Thinking Study

Generation Z – the Internet generation – differs significantly from its predecessor generations regarding values, desires and priorities. 

The book Generation Z für Personaler und Führungskräfte by Rüdiger Maas, published in 2019 by Hanser Verlag, offers practical help for taking on the challenges of Generation Z.

Rüdiger Maas is a psychologist, a management consultant and a generation researcher. In his book, he presents the results of an extensive study that determined the values and needs of young people between the ages of 16 and 23 concerning jobs and careers.

Some aspects and thoughts about the book

With the study, Maas shows that Generation Z ticks entirely differently than all its predecessor generations – and, therefore, also has completely different demands on employers:

  • Today’s youth are not only digital natives but social media natives.
  • Members of Generation Z are self-confident, conservative, impatient and digitally savvy.
  • For the “Zler”, leisure time, family and self-promotion on social media are essential.
  • Maas says only 10% of companies are prepared for Generation Z and its peculiarities. Often companies need to learn about the peculiarities of this age group.
  • Companies need to consider the characteristics of the “Zler” in recruiting, onboarding and employee retention.
  • The members of Generation Alpha following Generation Z are even more digitally savvy but often helpless when it comes to analogue decisions.

The following insights can be drawn from the book:

  • Never before has a generation been as well educated as Generation Z. Due to demographic change and the resulting shortage of skilled workers, “Zers” can primarily choose their employer.
  • To score points with “Z learners” as an employer, the employer must respond to their values. Work is much less critical for Generation Z than for previous generations. Family, leisure and social contacts are more important to Generation Z than career and money.
  • Generation Z is aware that the world is changing at a breakneck speed. Accordingly, they are looking to the future with uncertainty. 
  • The family as a safety net is essential for Generation Z. Parents act as advisors, coaches and friends. 
  • A world without the internet is unthinkable for Generation Z; complete networking is a matter of course. Everything is always and everywhere available, which in turn means that “Zlers” shy away from commitment and have short attention spans. On the other hand, they are good at quickly filtering out what is essential from large amounts of information.

The book by Rüdiger Maas is primarily aimed at HR managers. It shows in detail how Generation Z “ticks” and how companies can deal with Generation Z and take their demands seriously: From personnel marketing and recruiting through job interviews to onboarding and the retention of Generation Z.

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