The younger generations are more formally educated than any before them and are set to enter a workforce where they, rather than jobs, are in demand. While the majority of today’s learners are not yet employed, in a decade they will comprise a third of the workforce. Due to our ageing population, they will be commencing their careers in an era where the supply of workers is declining. More people will be exiting the workforce than entering it, creating a skills shortage. Therefore, the future of education depends on understanding and engaging with these 21st-century learners. In order to fulfil the demand for labour and to ensure the future of our employment sector, our education system will need to adapt to and accommodate the learning styles of today’s students.
As we look to Gen Z to be the future employees, it is apparent they will find importance in a work/life balance, team focus, enjoyment, empowerment, support, flexibility, involvement, creativity, innovation and global working atmosphere. They will also be characterised by many jobs, lifelong learning, variety, above the line and ownership.
The point is that we have entered a new era. And while employers need not react to every whim of a new generation, nor can they hold fast to the old and expect the emerging generations to conform. These new workplace entrants have had two decades of cultural shaping and there’s little an employer can do to change this.