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Meet Generation Z: Canada’s Newest Labour Force

September 07, 2017

Until recently, the HR focus has been on Millennials entering the workforce, and how to help them make the transition into their careers. But now that Millennials are the largest cohort working today, and many of them have moved into management positions, a new crowd of fresh recruits is making its first tentative steps into employment. Who are these young people? What do they want? How do you manage them? And how can your company make sure that it positions itself as an employer of choice for these up-and-comers?

Let’s start by looking at what we should call this new wave of jobseekers, and who they are. ‘Generation Z’ will likely be replaced by a more specific name as the generation becomes more familiar; in the meantime, ‘Digital Natives,’ ‘Post-Millennials,’ and ‘the iGeneration’ are competing with other terms to be the name of choice when describing the cohort. This new generation represents people born after 1996, mostly the children of Generation X, and the oldest among them are in their first jobs or just starting to look. While industries like retail and food service, which have historically offered many young people their first jobs, will be most affected by this first wave of Generation Z, organizations in all industries should expect to see more Generation Z résumés crossing their desks soon.

Predicting a generation’s future is a tricky proposition: as people age, their priorities change, and a generation comprises millions of diverse and unique individuals, so that broad generalizations inevitably miss a lot of the nuances. That said, as technological, cultural, environmental, and political contexts change over time, so too do the people living through them, and while young people of any generation share some common traits, each successive cohort also brings something new in response to the changed world they grew up in. The present crop of working novices is thus the same and different than those who came before, and it’s both those similarities and differences that employers of all stripes need to understand. Download our FREE Generation Z Guide to help you plan and respond to the needs and preferences of Canada’s newest labour force.

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