Gen Z’s got some big expectations for tech

June 29, 20174 Minute Read

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By some estimates, the class of 2017 represents the first cohort of the Gen Z workforce to start their careers. As they continue to grow into adulthood, their numbers will top 84.7 million by 2025, making up 24.4 percent of the American population, according to the FBIC Group. And that near quarter of Americans is more connected than any other.

In 2015, Pew Research Center revealed that 92 percent of teens report going online daily—including 24 percent who say they go online “almost constantly.” Technology that’s debuted during their lifetime includes everything from smartphones to Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Tinder. The Guardian reports that the average teenager has at least 150 followers on Instagram and spends around half an hour a day on Snapchat.

While important, Gen Z’s connectivity and comfort with apps and devices isn’t the most vital factor when considering what tech the Gen Z workforce will look for to facilitate their jobs—it’s more essential to understand how growing up with these bits and bytes will inform their behavior and attitudes about tech at work.

Find work anytime, anywhere

The line between work and life continues to blur, as constant streams of photos proliferate on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, illustrating just how sweet #todaysoffice can be. The Gen Z workforce may be the most likely cohort to take advantage of a boundary-less office and become digital nomads.

To support living on a beach, atop a mountain, or in another exotic locale, you’ll need a paycheck. That said, where there’s demand, supply will follow—so it’s no surprise a plethora of platforms has been developed to help those with wanderlust find work. Github, Working Nomads, The Remote Working Company, Remote OK, DigitalNomad JobFinder, We Work Remotely, and RemoteBase are just a few examples offering the Gen Z worker a way to locate and land a job no matter where they are.

Apply for jobs via text

All of that connectivity is likely taking place on a mobile device. Ninety-six percent of Gen Z owns a smartphone. A new survey from Yello revealed that 26 percent of respondents between 18–30 years old applied for positions on their phones. No wonder 86 percent said they enjoyed receiving texts as a way to get info about the hiring process.

A few startups have ventured into this territory to smooth the communication between companies and candidates, like TextRecruit. Employers need to be on point to grab top talent before it gets away, too—the Yello survey found that 74 percent of Gen Zers turned down offers that came in too slowly.

Enhance communication with new collab tools

Amazon Prime Now plays into the demand for immediate delivery and instant gratification. In the workplace, this translates to better scheduling and meeting tech.

Even though more people work remotely than ever—either because they’re among the 43 percent of the workforce who do their job remotely or because they elect to become digital nomads—there’s still a need to confer and gather. An array of virtual meeting software has been developed to tackle this demand.

Communication tools, like Slack or Google Hangouts, which have both voice and video call functions, will also become essential for talking to coworkers who don’t work in the cubicle next door. The better a platform can integrate with other apps, the more likely the Gen Z workforce will adopt it. One touch to toggle between uploading a GIF, creating a poll, sending a team message, and other functionalities is likely to win over the Gen Z worker.

Book better and deliver faster

Instagram photos reinforce Gen Z’s need to have experiences—and book and document them on the spot. The Gen Z workforce will naturally gravitate to outgrowths of apps, like OpenTable and Resy to make reservations, travel apps to facilitate work trips, and scheduling software to book meetings and conferences.

As the Gen Z workforce continues to grow, tech companies will continue scrambling to accommodate their specific demands. But the savvy developer will be mindful and not exclude the requirements of the older generations in the workplace. Avoiding shadow IT is all about accommodating the user experience and that means knowing your users and giving them exactly what they want—comfort, ease of use, and convenience, which will boost your employees’ productivity and ability to collaborate.

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