As the world of technology grows, so does the size of the Millennial workforce in businesses across the world, leading to bosses having to find new ways in which to adapt their systems. Throw into the mix the youngest of workers, Generation Z, who are even more challenging when it comes to different ways of working.
Chances are you’ve read or heard of Millennials – people born between 1981 and 1996. They have been labelled the “me, me, me generation” due to their love of social media and perceived self-absorption. Millennials grew up with technology, giving them an inherent familiarity with it. Because technology plays such a big role in both their work and leisure time, they are seen as the main influencers of it. Currently, there are approximately 12 million millennials in the UK.
Less well-known is Generation Z (also known as Post-Millennials), people born between 1997 and 2010. While Millennials grew up with technology, Generation Z have never known a world without it. More comfortable with YouTube clips than a full-length movie, those belonging to Generation Z have been reported as having short attention spans – although they allegedly multi-task better than their predecessors.
Now, we’re going to look at how Millennials and Generation Z are different when it comes to how they view technology:
A typical Millennial’s childhood may have consisted of Gameboy, Tamagotchi, Barbies, Polly Pocket and Buckaroo, and all will remember a time when the internet wasn’t as dominant in their lives as it is now. The first person to get broadband installed at home was Mark Bush in the year 2000. Prior to that, there was only your parents’ Windows 95/98 desktop computer which had dial-up. (used sparingly, due to blocking ingoing and outgoing calls with an alien-like crackling) Flashback to playing Solitaire, Minesweeper, or inserting the Encarta ’97 CD Encyclopaedia and playing “Mindmaze” for the umpteenth time…oh, what fun.
On the other hand, Generation Zs have grown up as digital “natives”. They are even more tech-savvy than Millennials and can supposedly multitask so well that employers and marketers are struggling to try to keep up with how quickly they process information – as well as their desire to try new things. The average attention span of a Gen Z is said to be just eight seconds, compared to a Millennial’s slightly longer twelve.
Millennials tend to use Facebook more than Gen Zs do, with only 51 percent of the latter having a Facebook account. Zs love Snapchat and Instagram, which were launched 2010 and 2011 respectively – around the time when the era of smartphones boomed.
YouTube is popular amongst Zs whilst Millennials prefer Amazon. This reflects Zs need to be entertained and to be “told a story”, which could be the reason behind the development of stories on Instagram, Snapchat, and now even WhatsApp and Facebook, too.
Since Millennials were the first to have Facebook profiles, it makes sense that they feel strange not sharing their personal experiences via social media statuses. Gen Zs value privacy online more than Millennials it would seem, with 22 percent of 18-24-year olds likely to install ad-blockers.
Gen Z can see right through social media influencers and view most social platforms as older generations would view TV ads – there is now a constant stream of advertising everywhere we look. So, it makes sense that they are warier of what they like and share. Thanks to privacy scandals such as Facebook’s 2018 Cambridge Analytica fiasco, social media companies and tech giants such as Microsoft, Google and Apple are all making sure that their consumers notice requests for third-party cookies and privacy terms updates – to ‘accept,’ or not to ‘accept’?
Yes, you read that right, Gen Zs want phones with actual keypads like the days of old. A Nokia 3310 might seem like an ancient relic now, but some of today’s youth are concerned that smartphones are affecting them in negative ways. As such, low-tech counterparts such as Flip phones and Nokia’s “brick” phones are making a cool comeback – so the thumb movements Gen Zs have perfected using smartphones will no doubt be truly tested on Snake.
Wireless headphones, Alexa, Nests and Fitbits are what Millennials crave, offering new experiences and ways to experience music and gather information. Whereas Gen Zs are relishing the retro aspect of cassette tapes, Polaroid cameras and Gameboys.
Can’t say we blame them!