Meet the Digitals – the Generation after Millennials

We keep talking about the Millennials, but there is a more demanding generation coming. The oldest Millennial is currently 34 years of age, they are becoming Managers and some are Founders of their own companies. The youngest Millennial is 16, so that poses the question, who’s coming after the Millennials? Let me say, they are already half way through high school and we will be hiring them in the near future.

I call them, the Digitals – born after 2000 – the true digital natives and they are more influential than any Millennial.

Let’s do a quick recap of Millennials so that we can compare them to their younger counterparts, the Digitals.

Millennial Generation (Generation Y)

1981-2000

  • Millennials comprise of 24% of the US population (77 million individuals)
  • Millennials account for 1 in every 5 same-sex couples
  • Known as the “Peter Pan Generation” – longer transitions into adulthood (buying first home, marriage & kids)
  • Obsessed with their online identity, buy products to boost this image – the selfie generation
  • Support charities when making purchase decisions like sevenly.org, TOMS, ALS Bucket Challenge
  • Want to be part of creating the brand, instead of being sold to they want to be part of the sell
  • Will focus on careers that make them happy and follow dreams

Digital Generation (Generation Z)

2001-2020

  • Born into a world where homosexuality, transgender, and being your true self is more accepted than ever before
  • Born into technology and will demand it free and cheap, like internet.org by Facebook
  • Less emphasis on a typical post-secondary education, will require new ways of a more practical education, like codeacademy.com or “Hackschooling”, unlike Millennials who have the highest level of education than all other generations
  • More politically influential than any generation before, predicted higher percentage of voters compared Millennials
  • Powerful hackers, will design and 3D print custom makeup and gadgets, changing the way companies sell products
  • Largest mixed generation as well as the most bilingual generation
  • Instead of being part of creating the brand, they want to be part of creating the product
  • More likely to start their own companies than work for a large corporation

So how will the Digitals change the workforce? The Millennials are already working from home and Starbucks, however it’s still an ongoing battle with Employers who are resistant to remote work policies.

I guarantee you that the Digitals won’t even apply to your job postings if it is not the culture they want. Not only will they want a remote and virtual culture, they will want freedom in their job duties and accountabilities, allowing them to take on bigger more creative projects with higher responsibility.

Their Hackschooling education will provide them with MANY areas of expertise, and they will enjoy working as a team on many different aspects of the business not like the Millennials who focus on what they majored in.

Cubicles are dead, if the Digitals aren’t working from home while video conferencing, they will be sitting at large tables in the office with peers AND the CEO of the startup company they work for.

If you think your comfortable 9-5 job will be interesting to these kids, think again. For years we’ve been talking about more flexible hours. For us that meant coming in for 7-3 instead of 9-5 so we can pick up our kids from school. To them, it means choosing the hours they want to work, maybe they take a 3 hour break for lunch to do yoga or catch a movie with friends and work later hours. The Digitals are hard workers, but instead of flexible hours, they want what I’ve termed “Freedom Hours”.

Times are changing, business is changing. 40% of the Fortune 500 companies won’t exist in 10 years because of the Digitals and kids like Maddie Robbinson who founded Fish Flops at the age of 14 whose product line is now being sold in Nordstorm or Moziah Bridges, the 12-year-old founder of a successful bow tie company that already has 5 employees.

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