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Meet #GenZ: The Career Bouncers

Gemma Hallett | 29th November 2018

miFuture Girl User
I often hear complaints of high churn rates with Generation Z, mostly aimed at how they keep 'changing their minds' and are 'unwilling to commit' and how they have 'no work ethic'.
 
I don't agree, this may be true of some individuals yes, but this isn't exclusive to this generation.
 
There will always be those who are somewhat work shy or 'lost'. So the big eye roll when Generation Z'ers 'move on' needs to slide back down and their needs understood, please.
 
In Gen Z entering the labour market we have a generation far more likely to career bounce- not out lack of commitment, but from seeking something better and the desire for flexibility and an element of freedom. 

Greater Information brings Greater Opportunity 

This digitally native generation have the world at their fingertips, with global interactions and exposure to the next available opportunity 24/7. If something better comes up they are likely to see it, and the ability to make instant decisions means they are likely to take it.
 
Hence the term 'career bounce', I foresee that they will ping pong along taking up better opportunities as and when they come.
 
We already know that this generation is not going to stay in a position that is not fulfilling, there is no desire to stay in a lifelong career like those of generations past, they see the world as far smaller and opportunities far greater.

The Bigger Picture 

Fluidity is natural in all aspects of life, you only need look at the changing themes in PSE lessons to see what this generation perceive as 'the norm'... gender roles, sexuality, family orientation, social norms are inherently different to what Gen X and Baby Boomers knew.
 
To put it into context, they don’t know a time before seeing your face when calling, all information ever needed in their hand; once only available to the most noble of society members. Gay marriage is now legal and protected, even widely celebrated, and well there's even been a black president. We couldn’t say this when the Millennials were coming of age. 
 
They come seeking fulfilment far greater than a wage packet, they come craving emotional success, freedom and flexibility in work, and are marching towards the labour market right now.
 
These marchers indicate a desire to make a difference, a willingness to sacrifice to 'make it' and the desire to start a business rather than work in one as their primary motivators.

Freedom seekers

It's no surprise then that Gen Z are the most likely to be entrepreneurial in nature and thanks to their native understanding of technology are well positioned to push boundaries and move society forward.
 
It's not just 'hard tech' either, social media channels provide a global audience to sell products, services and skills from their own homes, their bedrooms even, and right from their smartphones.
 
They are highly likely to operate a side project outside of work or education and develop some form of income from their passions. With the hope that it takes off and they leave structured employment for a flexible 'laptop' lifestyle.

So to conclude

I've engaged with over 2500 young people and I can count on one hand how many of those have said, with utter commitment, that they are going to have one job or career for the rest of their working life, it's so few that it’s a surprise when I do hear it.
 
The task of finding work will be ongoing and casual, its apparent that the ability to be notified without purposely seeking will increase awareness and opportunity to career bounce. Yes you may attract Gen Z but you have to accept that they are going to see other options, whether they are actively seeking out other paths or not.. and they will be primed to bounce.
 
With this in mind I believe it’s time to accept the national education churn rates as 'career bouncing' behaviour becomes the norm for Gen Z, instead of worrying that these learners move from one vocation to another and not completing the 1-3 year commitment, we need to accept their behaviour and consider the flexibility of shorter modular skill learning that can be achieved cross curricular...this is certainly a whole discussion in itself, and so will leave this for another day.
 
Gem Hallett
Chief Mobiliser @miFutureApp