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How Gen Z is Bringing Disruptive Innovation to Tech Industry

4 Mins read

In the constantly changing landscape of the tech industry, one generation stands out for its unique characteristics, preferences, and contributions: Generation Z. Born roughly between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, Gen Z is progressively shaping the future of technology with its distinct mindset and digital fluency.

According to research by Dell Technologies, by 2030, Gen Z will make up approximately 30 percent of the global workforce. As this demographic cohort continues to enter the workforce, its influence within the tech sector becomes increasingly pronounced, heralding both challenges and opportunities for companies worldwide.

Technology is present in nearly all parts of life today, which may be the reason that 80 percent of Gen Z members are interested in pursuing a career in technology, according to a study by McKinsey & Company. Many have expressed enthusiasm for fields such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and software development.

There are four distinct characteristics of Gen Z in tech, compared to other generations.

1. Digital Natives

Unlike previous generations, Gen Z has grown up in a fully digital world, surrounded by smartphones, social media, and instant connectivity. This inherent digital fluency equips them with a deep understanding of technology from an early age, making them adept at navigating digital platforms and tools. Many are entering the workforce with skills and fluency in AI and other technologies.

2. Entrepreneurial Spirit

Gen Z is characterized by a strong entrepreneurial drive, with many members aspiring to launch their startups or pursue freelance opportunities. Their independence and ambition fuel innovation within the tech industry, driving disruptive changes and novel solutions. Fifty percent of Gen Z want to ditch their corporate jobs and become entrepreneurs or run their own businesses, per CNBC.

3. Emphasis on Purpose

Members of Gen Z prioritize purpose-driven work and seek companies that align with their values. Their predecessors were much more focused on traditional markers of success, such as job titles and material possessions. Gen Z is drawn to tech companies with a clear social and environmental mission, viewing their careers as avenues for positive change and societal impact.

4. Preference for Diversity and Inclusion

Gen Z places a high value on diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, expecting equal opportunities and representation across gender, race, and background. They actively seek environments that foster collaboration and respect diversity of thought. According to Forbes, 83 percent of Gen Z said that a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important when choosing an employer.

So, what is Gen Z seeking in a tech career?

Meaningful Impact

Gen Z desires roles where they can make a tangible difference in the world, whether through developing innovative solutions to pressing challenges or contributing to sustainable initiatives. This is possibly due to Gen Z being more result-oriented than process-oriented, meaning most tasks should be automated, leaving only meaningful, creative work that is more oriented toward people.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Remote work and flexible schedules are paramount for Gen Z, who value work-life balance and autonomy in managing their time. Gen Z’s work preference leans towards the gig economy. They favor being compensated for the actual value or result rather than the process and prefer managing their own time.

Continuous Learning Opportunities

With a penchant for growth and development, Gen Z seeks employers that offer ongoing training, mentorship programs, and opportunities for skill enhancement.

Tech for Good

Many Gen Z individuals are drawn to companies that leverage technology for social good, such as addressing climate change, promoting equality, or advancing healthcare accessibility.

In order for companies to attract and retain Gen Z talent, they must adapt their strategies and workplace culture.

To attract and retain Gen Z talent, companies can offer programs where individuals can participate in building something bigger than just doing regular jobs. For example, initiating a Google-like initiative where, if an individual identifies a problem, time is allocated to explore solutions, potentially leading to the establishment of a separate business around it.

Embrace Flexibility

Offer flexible work arrangements, remote options, and innovative workplace policies that accommodate Gen Z’s preferences for work-life balance and autonomy. For a lot of Gen Z, remote work is not the new normal, but rather the normal.

Prioritize Purpose

Clearly articulate the company’s mission and values, emphasizing its commitment to social responsibility, sustainability, and ethical practices. Gen Z is more passionate about company values than any other generation.

Promote Diversity and Inclusion

Foster an inclusive culture that celebrates diversity of thought and backgrounds, ensuring equal opportunities for all employees. Companies that actively cultivate diversity throughout all levels of the organization will be more likely to attract Gen Z talent.

Invest in Learning and Development

Provide robust training programs, mentorship opportunities, and resources for continuous skill development to support Gen Z’s desire for growth and advancement. Gen Z prefers interactive experiences over more passive learning, and they are generally very motivated to acquire new skills and achieve success.

Integrating Gen Z Talent into Tech Teams

Foster Collaboration

Encourage cross-generational collaboration and knowledge sharing within tech teams to leverage the diverse perspectives and skills of both Gen Z and existing employees.

Mentorship Programs

Pair Gen Z employees with experienced mentors who can provide guidance, support, and opportunities for professional development.

Embrace Reverse Mentoring

Embrace the concept of reverse mentoring, where younger employees share their expertise and insights with senior colleagues, fostering mutual learning and innovation.

Gen Z’s influence within the tech industry is undeniable, as this dynamic generation brings a fresh perspective, digital prowess, and a commitment to driving positive change. Gen Z’s transparency means they will openly share their opinions on a company’s culture, both good and bad. Companies must be prepared to address and manage these perceptions appropriately.

By understanding and adapting to Gen Z’s preferences and values, companies can effectively harness the full potential of this emerging talent pool, fostering innovation, diversity, and growth within the tech sector.

Oleg Panchenko is a dynamic serial entrepreneur and a visionary in the tech industry, hailing from Kyiv, Ukraine. He founded and owns FreySoft, a custom software development and consulting firm recognized for its proficiency in various programming languages and technologies, catering to a global client base with bespoke IT solutions. 

Gen Z stock image by LightField Studios/Shutterstock

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