What is Gen Z or Generation Z?
Gen Z or Generation Z is the name given to the most diverse generation of individuals in the country’s population, who are the people born between the years 1997 and 2012. While the actual years may vary according to various sources, the general idea is that the Generation Z birth years started from the mid-to-late nineties and ended around the 2010s.
In fact, the Pew Research Center recently defined Gen Z as anyone born after 1997. This generational cohort is also informally called ‘Zoomers’ by combining the ‘boomer’ from the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation, and the ‘Z’ from ‘Gen Z’.
Gen Z has the distinction of being the first and most diverse generation to start using digital technology and the internet with social media and streaming services from a very young age, developing formative experiences like opening savings accounts online.
Hence, they are often called ‘digital natives’. Since the teenage years of Generation Z spend more time online and using electronic devices as young adults, they are found to have shorter attention spans, reduced vocabulary, and lowered academic performance.
This gen prefers companies that are offering sustainable solutions, which makes it clear that they think more about the planet when compared to the earlier generational cohorts.
1. What is a Generation?
We often associate a ‘generation’ or ‘gen’ with the family definition of a generation, in which people are divided based on their relationship with each other and different age ranges. For example, daughter, mother, and grandmother are 3 generations of individuals of the same family. However, in this context, we are referring to the classification of society based on the birth year of a group of young people.
In the context of society, generations are set based on their collective characteristics. For example, the ‘Greatest’ generation was named because of the multiple sacrifices they had to make due to World War 2. Similarly, the millennial generation or the ‘Millennials’ were named since the oldest members of their generation witnessed the turn of the century.
In fact, many Millennials were between 12 and 27 years of age when the 2008 election was conducted. The force of the youth vote became a vital part of the political conversation and helped elect the first black president in American history. Thus, a generation refers to a community of similar-aged individuals, who will become the ‘society’ and bring about changes in the world, which is evident in this example of the United States history.
2. What are the Generation Z Birth Year & Age Range?
Generation Z is usually considered to be individuals between the ages of 26 and 11 since their generation’s birth years are usually considered to be between 1997 and 2012. Since there is no fixed year range or any scientific process for identifying the generation called Gen Z, they are usually assumed to be the same age individuals born around the late 1990s and early 2010s.
In the year 2019, Gen Z became the largest generation on Earth by growing larger than 2.47 billion in numbers. They constituted 32% of Earth’s population, which was 7.7 billion in 2020. Generation Z surpassed the Millennials and Baby Boomers to achieve this feat, making the largest productive force on the planet. Soon, Generation Z will be the largest workforce on the planet, and hence, companies are targeting their ads to cater to this demographic cohort.
3. What are Common Generation Z Characteristics?
Several traits set apart post millennials of Generation Z from other generations such as Generation Alpha. Since they are the first generation to be considered ‘digital natives’, they have grown with the influence of the internet and have become well-versed with technology and the usage of smart devices in general.
In fact, Business Insider surveyed over 100 Generation Z teenagers in 2018 and found that a significant portion – more than half – of them got their first smartphone before their 12th birthday.
As a result, Generation Z communicates through personal texts and chats, are well-versed with popular culture and social media, and spends over three hours on their smartphone daily as the older generations did watching television. Generation Z are also diverse in ethnicity and are generally well-educated and well-behaved, while also being comparatively more stressed and depressed than the previous generation such as Generation Y or Gen Y.
4. How Does Gen Z Behave in a Professional Environment?
Since Gen Zers have recently entered the professional sector, several aspects of their work ethic are still under research regarding their work ethic as workforce. However, preliminary research and observations suggest that they are hard-working, self-sufficient, and well-manned while their higher education are a major source for their strong work ethics. As a part of the workforce, they take good care of themselves and their personal financial education, due to their background.
Additionally, older Gen Zers proficiency with technology and digital alternatives also plays a major role in helping them develop new skills required for their workplace and personal finance by avoiding debt and using savings accounts effectively. Research has shown that the oldest Gen Zers also tend to multi-task more than the prior generations, while also preferring real-life contact and communication over online contact, enhancing their key social abilities.
5. What are the Values of Gen Z – The Most Diverse Generation?
Due to their upbringing and relatively quicker access to the internet, Generation Z members have a different outlook on life and the world, when compared with the previous generations. They have strong values related to racial equality and environmental sustainability.
Since they are experiencing the effects of global warming and climate change, most members of Gen Z are choosing sustainable options in their daily lives to help reduce their carbon footprint to a minimum. They also want to see corporations and multi-national conglomerates take active environment-conscious steps towards a sustainable future.
Gen Zers have also witnessed the Great Recession, inflation, financial issues, and other issues their parents struggle with. Years earlier, they had also observed the racial inequality of their previous generation and wished to provide a better life for their offspring by leaving them a world without any racial inequality. They believe in equality for all, despite differences in age range, race, etc. Hence, take active steps to ensure diversity and inclusivity in their choices.
6. Generation Z vs. Millennials
To compare millennials with Gen Z, we will have to overlook the overlapping similarities between the two generations. While Gen Z was clubbed with the Millennials previously, they have transformed enough to have a separate identity of their own.
However, there are many similar traits between the two generations, such as a well-defined focus on personal finances, increased social media presence, easy accessibility and preference for digital life and technology in general, as well as a progressive political and cultural outlook.
On the other hand, there are ample differences that set members of Gen Z apart from their Millennial counterparts. While the Millennials were happy with focusing on a single task at a time, Gen Zers are active multi-taskers.
Similarly, while the Millennials prefer to be employed and have a stable source of income, individuals from Generation Z are highly entrepreneurial. Gen Z is also concerned about their digital life and online privacy, while Millennials are often found to ignore this aspect of online life.