Is Your Technology Really That Attractive?
Employers everywhere are scanning the internet for information about how to attract talent from the millennial and Gen Z workforce. They are ramping up their technological prowess, adding new gadgets and tech tools to prove they speak the language of the talent they’re seeking. But one question remains – is your technology really that attractive – not just to millennials but any of your workers?
Never Before in History
This is the first time in American history that we’ve had a workforce comprised of five different generations. Of course, traditionalists – those in their 80’s or older – only make up 3% of the workforce, but they are out there.
Boomers, once the largest generation in the workforce are moving beyond retirement age with the youngest Boomers already pushing 55 leaving Gen X (the youngest of them now nearing 42 years of age) to represent the majority of middle aged office workers today.
For the last few years, most studies have focused on millennials who represent the largest generation in the workforce as of two years ago and now Gen Z is graduating from college and entering the workforce. There is a generational gap in what workers want from their companies when it comes to technology, mentorship, and opportunity. How they relate to technology will continue to impact employers moving forward.
Events that Define the Generations
Many of the characteristics that define the work preferences of each generation can be traced back to certain major events that happened over their lifetimes. Understanding those influence can help understand them a little better:
Boomers are defined by their optimism despite coming of age in some of America’s most turbulent times. They lived through the Vietnam War but also helped to end it. They lived through the turmoil over two decades of the Civil Rights Movement but also overcame legal Jim Crow. Russia was the first to get to space but America was the first to land on the moon.
Gen X grew up through the birth of the tech age that we now live in. This generation saw the first desktop computer unveiled as well as the first cell phone. They also lived in a record number of broken homes, as latch key kids of single parents. Because of that, studies show that they are more independent as workers than their predecessors. They lived through the Gulf War and witnessed the fall of the Berlin wall. This generation brought MTV culture mainstream and revolutionized fashion, activism, pop culture, music, and TV.
The youngest millennials like the oldest among Gen Z were born just 4 years before 9/11 which had a tremendous effect on all Americans and possibly none more than those in Gen Z. Perhaps that’s why they more than their counterparts are defined by their community service, desire for social justice, and environmental consciousness. They are also tech savvy like Gen Z and Gen X growing up with Google and Facebook. Both of these generations are also the most diverse in American history.
Millennials are defined by their impatience for delayed gratification. They are used to the convenience economy and having it their way and they don’t like to wait. Gen Z appears to be following suit although they are still young enough that they are largely defined by their penchant for playing games on their phones and downloading apps.
How Events Have Influenced Work Preference by Generation
When you consider how unstable the childhoods were for a disproportionate number of Gen Xers, it makes sense that they strive to earn more money because they desire financial security. And that they value work/life balance more than any other generation.
There were more divorces during their lifetime, more families with two income earners, and less time spent as a family. It makes sense that they gravitate toward jobs that allow them to have a flexible schedule including working from home and are less willing to stay with a job for more than five years if their wages are stagnant and they are not advancing in their careers.
Millennials are part of the social sharing generation. Work cultures where collaboration and teamwork are encouraged along with diversity and social consciousness are able to attract talented young agents and brokers. They also prefer work/life balance and a blending of comforts of home with work.
Attracting Top Real Estate Talent with Technology
It will take a few more years to really see what will characterize Gen Z – the oldest of whom are only just now turning 21 and joining the workforce. Understanding where the last three working generations differ in relationship to technology will be the key to recruiting future talent.