The 1980s generation used to describe the young generation, but they’re now approaching 40 years old. They are the old story and the new generation is up. Those who were born after 1995 are the new young generation. It’s not always easy to understand what’s on their minds.
American demographer William J. Schroer identified those born after the mid-1990s as “Generation Z”. The new emerging generation grew up entirely in the internet age. Generation Z cohorts are digital natives, and they are far more familiar with the internet world than the millennials.
They have access to internet technology and smart products after birth, and they don’t need to wait to contact others anytime. Enormous information is at their fingertips, but they don’t have enough time to absorb. They are more used to social networking online rather than making friends offline.
Mark Zuckerberg, the 33-year-old founder of Facebook, is the idol of many young people. He said the most desirable jobs for college graduates have changed dramatically from the day he went to college. He dropped out from Harvard University and created the internet empire.
His comments have highlighted that digital marketing may replace traditional marketing eventually. In fact, big data marketing has already been used in many industries.
Many students are skeptical about tertiary education given that they can learn anytime from the internet. They have a strong sense of insecurity as jobs can easily be changed or replaced by technology. The traditional corporate structure is evolving, and artificial intelligence will become the biggest competitor for jobs. It’s increasingly difficult to plan their career, which makes the young generation feel hopeless and angry.
How would generation Z survive? Creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication are essential, apart from digital and reading and writing skills. Also, more generation Z people want to start their own business, and they are willing to step out of their comfort zone. They would build a personal network and are able to juggle different tasks.
Generation Z might lack the sense of safety as the world is changing so fast, but they also have the unprecedented knowledge and tools to change the world.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov 17
Translation by Julie Zhu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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