Make Room for Generation Z

January 3, 2018
Amanda Carrozza

Amanda Carrozza is a freelance writer and editor in New Jersey.

For the first time, members of Generation Z are entering the workforce.

An insurmountable amount of content has been created about millennials in the workplace depicting this generation’s contributions and limitations. Are they hardworking enough? How do you retain them? But for the first time, members of Generation Z (people born between 1995 and 2010) are entering the workforce.

This means your veterinary staff could be comprised of four generations — baby boomers, Generation X, millennials and Gen Z — who all have their own needs and goals.

It’s likely that throughout 2018 more studies will be released on how to navigate the ins and outs of hiring and working with members of Gen Z, just as was done with their millennial predecessors. But perhaps one of the most surprising and notable attributions of this new group is the value they place on experience and education.

According to Accenture Strategy’s 2017 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study, Gen Z resembles its parent generation, Gen X, more than millennials.

“Upon entering the workforce, a whopping 78 percent of 2017 graduates already will have completed an internship, apprenticeship and/or co-op — showing an appreciation for the need to bring practical skills to the table from day one as they embark on their careers,” the survey reads.

Once they obtain a fulltime position, 84 percent of Gen Z respondents said they expect their first employer to provide formal training, and they also rate communications, problem-solving and management as top skills they hope to develop.

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Other studies and surveys focused on the incoming generation found members of Gen Z to be optimistic. A survey of college seniors conducted by the talent acquisition platform iCIMS found recent graduates expect to earn an average of $53,000 per year in their first jobs. Gen Z also values salary over leadership positions and high-level titles.

While that initial base salary may not be conceivable in every industry, Gen Z has demonstrated the ability to compromise. According to Accenture Strategy’s study, 38 percent will be accepting the first offer they receive and/or commuting farther. If they do not receive an offer, 71 percent said they’d consider taking an unpaid internship after graduating.

As expected, Gen Z is comprised of digital natives who are unfamiliar with a life where smartphones didn’t exist, and who are extremely comfortable navigating social media platforms.

However, members of Gen Z do value face-to-face communication. In fact, 53 percent prefer in-person communication over tools like instant messaging and video conferencing. Still, their inherent familiarity with technology and ability to multitask between apps, emails and programs makes Gen Z a talented work pool.