Figured Out Millennials Yet? Well, Better Get Ready to Deal With Gen Z

We haven’t quite got Millennials (aka Gen Y) figured out, and here comes Gen Z!

Universum, the global employer branding firm, has conducted a Gen Z survey and found some interesting conclusions. In Generation Z Grows Up, we’re given a bit of a peek into this new generation that will be 40 percent of all consumers by 2020 (less than five years from now!) and there is news:

  • Gen Z is spooked by the college debt of the Millennials.
  • Gen Z doesn’t think universities are preparing students for workplace success.
  • Gen Z perceives current high levels of unemployment following university/college graduation.

College isn’t particularly important to Gen Z

And, it appears that Generation Z’s current orientation to post-secondary education isn’t what we might expect:universum-gen-z-1

It would appear that 62 percent of Gen Z would consider joining the economy right after high school – particularly if employers will invest in their training. Of course, as with all things global, attitudes are different around the world.

On average, though, if only 38 percent of high school students globally are committed to enrolling in a university degree program before joining the world of work, there are a great many young people considering forgoing the traditional post-secondary education route in favor of less debt, more employer-sponsored training, and more employment opportunities.


Universum has been surveying college/university and graduate school students about to graduate for almost 30 years. It probably has the biggest and most robust data set of student expectations and employer preferences in the world.

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The 2015 Gen Z survey asked more than 50,000 recent high school graduates about their future careers, higher education plans, as well as their attitudes about work and life. A real window into the next generation of employees.

Time to start meeting these new employees

I know it seems like we haven’t figured out the Millennials yet, but time is marching on and it’s time to meet and greet a whole new generation of employees.

Given the dramatic demographic shifts we’re experiencing, we can’t get to know these newcomers fast enough. The first truly digital natives are sure to provide employers opportunities as well as challenges.

This originally appeared on China Gorman’s blog at

China Gorman is a successful global business executive in the competitive Human Capital Management (HCM) sector. She is a sought-after consultant, speaker and writer bringing the CEO perspective to the challenges of building cultures of humanity for top performance and innovation, and strengthening the business impact of Human Resources.

Well known for her tenure as CEO of the Great Place to Work Institute, COO and interim CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and President of Lee Hecht Harrison, China works with HCM organizations all over the world to enhance their brands and their go-to-market strategies. Additionally, she serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Jobs for America’s Graduates as well as the Advisory Boards of Elevated Careers, the Workforce Institute at Kronos, and WorldBlu. Addtionally, she chairs the Globoforce WorkHuman Advisory Board and the Universum North America Board. China is the author of the popular blog Data Point Tuesday, and is published and frequently quoted in media properties like Fortune, TLNT, Huffington Post, Inc., Fast Company, U.S. News & World Report and many others.


1 Comment on “Figured Out Millennials Yet? Well, Better Get Ready to Deal With Gen Z

  1. Great article, China! I appreciate the data as well as the perspective. As a Millennial myself, I feel more understood than I used to even five years ago, especially now that I work at a tech startup. However, the workforce even five years younger than me (I’m 29) is somewhat alien to me. For example, I still make phone calls, but they avoid those like the plague. However, at the same time, I feel the sentiments and preferences of Gen Z. Times are changing for sure. Thanks for the piece.

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