As various commentators have noted, Covid-19 is an accelerant. Things that were going to happen in five years time are happening now – the rate of divorce, the exodus from the cities, the increase in your waistline in lockdown. And it’s looking likely to galvanise the number of young people thinking twice about going to college or university or starting their own venture.

We need to be careful. As we point out in our new book (see below) there have been some pretty massive claims about the entrepreneurial drive of GenZ, but the reality of life at the desk-face does seem to have modified that earlier optimism a bit. However, Covid-19 may well prove an accelerant.

We’re seeing recent Nielsen research showing over half (54%) of GenZ involved wanted to start their own company. This is going in tandem with a very recent change of plan about going to university or college. We’ve seen throughout the UK and USA and other countries that universities are struggling financially for a number of reasons, and are definitely struggling to offer viable courses and value for money in 2020.

That’s leading to about a third of possible students considering taking a year off until things hopefully improve, while about a fifth are thinking about simply not going to university at all, according to a new TD Ameritrade study. That leaves the field wide open for budding entrepreneurs to consider starting their own business.

Older, wiser business heads may roll their eyes at the thought of keen young things starting up another social enterprise, or launching a new app, but the breadth of talent on display is already astonishing. In the ‘Forbes 30 Under 30 for 2020’, there’s for example Ellenor McIntosh, a 24-year-old Brit who’s invented wet-wipes that break down, called Twipes.

Or Rohit Kalyanpur, a 25-year-old American who has founded Optivolt Labs, which claims it has created a portable solar charging system capable of recharging a drone or an EV.

Or the Swiss Ouboter brothers (24 and 25) who have founded Microlino, an electric car that looks like a 1950s bubble car. They’ve already presold 18,000 cars.

These are the ones coming up, to join already established GenZ stars like Grace Beverley, the Oxford-educated American multi-millionaire owner of several brands, including the ethically-made gym wear brand, TALA. At the wise old age of 22, she’s already appeared on that Forbes list, but has moved significantly beyond it.

One of the main weapons at the disposal of GenZ is their understanding of the internet and social media. It’s not something they’ve had to learn, it’s been there all their life, like electricity, just another tool to use. Speaking to the Australian My Business site, Fotios Tsiouklas has already made an app that’s been in the Top 10 of the Apple App Store, and is starting two other ventures. He’s 18. His insight into GenZ is worth repeating.

‘The reason why I’ve experienced some success so early in my career is because members of Gen Z understand things about social media that older generations, even Millennials, don’t. We were the first generation to grow up with the internet and smartphones in our pocket at all times. We’ve grown up in the time of the Instagram influencer, Snapchat and TikTok. We understand these massive industries better than anyone. When we enter a workplace, we’re in the position to completely change how they operate.’

And that’s the key. If organisations can attract and retain such entrepreneurial talent then they’re well placed for the future. You want such people inside your organisation, not outside operating on their own.

But we may be entering a phase when companies come out of furlough and decide they’re going to get rid of their cheapest staff members first. That’ll be the GenZers then. But that’s like a fireman playing a hose on a burning building, when someone turns off the water. There’s water in the jet pouring through the air, but there’s none behind it. Very soon you have no water and the building burns down.

There’s nobody else coming up behind the Millennials. There are only the GenZ workers. And they hold the key to change, not senior Boomer management. They’re the ones, not even the Millennials, who are going to transform how companies operate, rather than simply starting to cut down on staff. Covid-19 has simply accelerated the need to find and retain them within your organisation. So how do you do that? Read our book!

 

 

GenZ Insight: How To Make Your Organisation A GenZ Magnet

Our new book is comprised of two sections. The first draws on the latest research and data to show exactly who GenZ are. The second section applies that knowledge in the workplace. The132-page book contains a wealth of facts, knowledge and informed opinion, to help organisations recruit, onboard, teach and develop their GenZ talent.

Authors: Graham Scott and Guy Ellis

Price: print £14.99 ($19.99);ebook £9.99 ($9.99)

Publication date: 31 July 2020

If you’d like a signed or personalised copy, please do contact us at office@genzinsight.com

 

“They are perhaps the most brand-critical, bullshit-repellent, questioning group around.”

Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of Innovation at JWT

“GenerationZ are Millennials on steroids.”

Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of Innovation at JWT

“GenerationZ are self-starters, not selfie-takers.”

Lucozade Energy report

“Millennials– Self-centred. Generation Z – Self-aware.”

Ernst & Young

“Generation Z characterises itself by highlighting the need for passion and motivation in their work.”

Claire Stradling, Manager of Charities and NFP