As Russian tourists flock to Salisbury Cathedral and Theresa May accidentally summons ancient demons with her dance moves, the oldest Millennials begin to turn 40. It’s an absurd time to be alive.
In the wake of our aging, Generation Z, the oldest of whom are 23, is preparing to take the workforce by storm. A generation borne of digital innovation and social progression, these individuals embody a number of characteristics that are sure to spark change in many sectors, particularly PR.
The effects on this generation of growing up with a smartphone and instant internet access, as opposed to the AOL dial up cables of old, are profound. Although many reports insinuate that this culture of constant conversation on apps like Snapchat and Whatsapp actually results in less focus, it has also made Gen Z incredibly good at multi-tasking – something every PR professional will emphatically tell you is crucial for success in this sector.
The truly global reach that their – to some, exhaustive – use of the internet has given them means that they have more access to and a better understanding of people from other cultures than generations before them. For business schools looking to reach new markets in their student recruitment drives, what better traits could exist in their PR department?
Gen Z is big on individuality. In fact, 92% of this demographic has a digital footprint which usually includes social media profiles honed to suit their tastes, reflect their lifestyle and promote their own personal brand. These are valuable PR skills that older generations have had to learn but are second nature to these young professionals.
Generation Z’s expectations of companies themselves are higher, they are demanding more sustainable products and transparent conduct, as well as wishing brands to make them feel appreciated. Businesses that are responding to this new type of consumerism will reap the benefits – and who better to explain its intricacies and target the right audience than a Gen Z PR person?
Finally, as the cost of higher education rose sharply over the last few years, many in Generation Z are choosing to go straight into the workplace. Connectivism and access to information both contribute to these people’s ability to clue themselves up on a whole array of topics, which is fostering a strong spirit of entrepreneurship among the ranks. In fact, according to a study by Millennial Branding and Internships.com, 72% of high school students want to start their own business in the future. Could we see the world of PR move away from the more traditional agency structure?
The Wall Street Journal surmises: “The generation now entering the workforce is sober, industrious and driven by money.” Although they may scare us, particularly when they admit to never having seen a cassette tape, it looks like they will become an asset to any PR department.
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Author: Natalie Bishop