If your child’s birthday sits after the year 1996, chances are that they find it hard to recall life before a smartphone. Gen Zs are known as the multitaskers, the ‘digital natives’. While technology may appear to be second nature to them, Gen Zs certainly faces a unique set of challenges when it comes to crafting their career after education. Often, these are challenges that involve aspects they never even encountered in their younger years. With new innovations propping up as they move through their career, how can you, as a parent guide Gen Zs prepare themselves early?
Technology rendering us useless
For many of us, but especially Gen Zs, the potential of technologies will always linger in the back of their minds when it comes to determining various career paths. On the one hand, tech appears to be a panacea that will solve problems to come, such as completing mundane tasks that will free up time for other problem-solving tasks. However, on the other hand, tech raises fears of whether we are capable of keeping up alongside it. There is a need to constantly improve and adapt or you might be left behind which is a good push to build up a flexible mindset, but pressures can also arise not knowing if the thing you learned yesterday will be relevant tomorrow.
A big goal for Gen Zs would be to focus on how to leverage the current skill sets they have to make them applicable in the future. In order to do so, we are seeing that while hard skills appear to be a given — integrating soft skills and an entrepreneurial spirit will help Gen Zs utilise their strong knowledge banks and make their ideas accessible and transferable.
Taking part in tech transformations
While there is a possibility that tech can streamline tasks to make room for other venues of work — this transition will definitely be a focus for Gen Zs. Given the benefits of digitalisation remain, there will be a growing need for firms to pivot and incorporate digital strategies into their scope. Gen Zs will have to adapt to entirely new jobs, such as growing sectors in AI, data science, machine learning. Gen Zs will also have to learn to optimise remote working practices, as this is likely to become more commonplace.
Oversaturation of the job market
One great factor of concern is that everyone is so overqualified and the job market is already so over-saturated. Gen Zs are said to be the most well-educated generation yet. Furthermore, the availability of skilled workers and the experience required don’t always match wherever you may be.
In order to reframe anxieties that there will always be competition that could have superior skill sets, Gen Zs are encouraged to seek out and experiment to see if they are well suited as a specialist or a generalist to navigate the field they wish to pursue. With a deeper understanding of subject matters, a specialist is normally described as someone with a specific and focused line of expertise in a certain area. On the other hand, generalists normally have a breadth of experiences and have the ability to connect the dots. While there is an ongoing discussion about what the optimal way to work is, specialists and generalists will thrive in different fields. For example, generalists may stand out by offering diverse insights in industries with a slower pace of change. Meanwhile, specialists may fare well in industries with a faster pace of change as they are kept up with the latest technical developments. Either way, your child will have something unique to bring to the table but the challenge will be how this can be manifested and acknowledged through experience with time.
Finding a job that counts
There is an increasing desire for Gen Zs to make an impact with the work that they do — they want to do something meaningful and that’s not always possible. For example, some may be concerned with climate change, so they want to make sure they’ve done the research and are working for an ethical or sustainable company.
Doing the research and taking part in organisations with a strong ethos is something that future employees will look for. Gen Zs will have to make a conscious effort to be aware of current affairs and articulate values that matter to them. Tapping into an entrepreneurial mindset will clarify missions of their own while realising business motives. They would also build up a portfolio of experiences to cater and contribute to core values of teams they wish to be a part of.
Way of working are changing
“Young people anticipate working for many employers and demand an enriching experience at every stage.” Future of the Workforce, 2016 Report
With recent circumstances, it wouldn’t be surprising if Gen Zs will expect a mobile work environment. On top of this, the flexible physical working environment also mirrors their flexible mindset in terms of job loyalty. Gen Zs are also fueling the new “freelance economy”, or “gig economy”. According to Deloitte’s ‘Future of the Workforce’ report, Gen Zs will spend no longer than 16 months with any employer on average. This is because there is a generational shift in thinking in terms of challenging the standard, linear career trajectory in seeking a fulfilling experience for personal growth and impact. In this instance, Gen Zs can anticipate juggling various types of work on their plate at once by keeping their options open, and mastering fluidity between fields of work.
With exciting challenges ahead, CoCoon Foundation hopes to instill transferrable values and tools to learning to help your child thrive in their future careers to give back to society. Previously collaborating with over 8400 students in over 40 local secondary schools, CoCoon Foundation’s entrepreneurship programme — Jockey Club CoCoon Student Training in Entrepreneurship Programme — offers a framework for students to step out of their comfort zones and curriculum to be active participants in building up a better society we live in.
Find out more here: https://foundation.hkcocoon.org/