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Meet Generation Z: What is the so-called 'loneliest generation' looking for in a workplace?

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Juanita Mercer recently interviewed six young students at Memorial University. - SaltWire Network

They were raised with the internet at their fingertips.

The next cohort after Millennials are considered tech-savvy, digital natives, but they’ve also been called the “loneliest” generation.

Generation Z, or Gen Z, are loosely grouped as those people born between the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s.

Just as employers have grown accustomed to the unique traits of Millennials, there is now a new group of young people entering the workforce.

What are they looking for in an employer? What skills are they focusing on? SaltWire Network visited Memorial University in St. John’s, NL to hear from Gen Z.

What can workplaces do to become more attractive to new graduates?

“Moving towards being more inclusive within workspaces, which we’re still not necessarily always seeing. Lots of places we go there’s still very gendered language or gendered washrooms, or things which exclude trans and non-binary people from those spaces.”

– Bailey Howard, 24, Memorial University student who just completed a Bachelor of Arts in communications studies and English

What do you think differentiates your generation from previous generations?

“We don’t fit into the norms that have been set in place by the previous generations. I think we’re the ones expanding those norms and breaking through, breaking the wall. That’s what I feel like we are, that’s what I think is different for us. We don’t accept the social norms. I think we’re breaking through, we’re different from it, and I really enjoy being part of that generation.”

- Precious Familusi, 21, Memorial University student studying business administration

What issue is important to you?

“I want us to have better public transportation because affording a car is difficult, but I also don’t want to have to afford a car because they’re always expensive, they’re a poor investment, and it’s unhealthy for me and the environment.”

- Liam O’Neill, Memorial University student studying political science

What role does technology play in your life?

“It’s really important. That’s how my day starts, with the alarm – and everything – on my phone. That’s how I communicate with my manager – we text all the time to see what’s happening, and that’s how I talk to my friends. My laptop is also a key technological piece that I use all the time for studies. I’m on my phone, like, 24-7, and other times I’m on my laptop, so I’m always facing the screen.”

- Jaladhi Patel, Memorial University student studying business administration

What skills do you think are most important for the workplace?

“I think adaptability is probably the most important skill for the workplace because you need to be adaptable with the changing world we’re in now with technology and things like that, so I feel like you need to be really adaptable to be able to be competitive in the workplace and be able to do multiple things and be hirable.”

- Sean Comeau, Memorial University student studying biology

What does success mean to you?

“Success does not really mean just achieving fame and money, it means more than that. When you work really hard in order to achieve your own dream and your own goal, and when you see yourself where you really want to be, that’s what real success is.”

-Jannatul Alam, Memorial University student studying business administration

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