While millennials are considered digital savvy individuals and are challenging the corporate world in the way it thinks and acts, it’s the GenZ workers that will truly disrupt business as we know it.
Middle east born-digital survey
Citrix recently conducted a study globally and in the Middle East on born-digital workers. This group is distinguished by the first generation to grow up in an entirely digital world and comprised of Millennials (born 1981 to 1996) and Generation Z (born after 1997) workers.
The Millennial generation is a digital immigrant generation. This is because they were introduced to the internet, computers, and a digitized world as it grew. By comparison, Gen Z was born into a world almost completely digitized.
The study revealed that the born-digital generation is primed to deliver an extra $1.9 trillion globally and $51 billion in the UAE in corporate profits. It also revealed that:
There is a disconnect between the born-digital workers and business leaders
- 90% of born-digital employees in the UAE do not want to return to full-time office work post-pandemic vs 73% of leaders believe that young workers will want to spend most or all of their time working in the office.
- Younger workers in the UAE are most focused on fundamental work factors like long-term career prospects (92%) and a good work-life balance (91%). This is poorly understood by leaders, who think their young workers value access to the latest workplace technology and opportunities for training.
- Only 8% of business leaders in the UAE use instant messaging apps like Slack or WhatsApp for work purposes, compared to 82% of Born Digital employees. And only 12% of business leaders like using these apps for work, compared to 88% of born-digital workers.
- Only 31% of born-digital employees would leave an organization that lacked purpose, compared to 70% of business leaders. And only 30% of born-digital workers would leave a role if they felt the culture did not reflect their personality adequately, compared to 57% of business leaders.
- 76% of born-digital workers in UAE want employers to offer the opportunity to work a four-day week.
A divergence of interest
Gen Zs are among the most interested in cryptocurrencies and millennials are still investing the most in crypto. The older generations prefer more traditional investment avenues like hedge funds and stocks.
Gen Zs, the oldest of which have been over 18 for around six years, ranked highest for meme investments compared to other generations.
Millennials and GenZ are more inclined to invest for social causes, including undermining traditional financial institutions, as seen with the GameStop hype. Building from a Reddit community, investors on Robinhood ran up the price of GameStop to harm bigger investors who had shorted the stock.
The wrong digital skills
Young people leaving school and college may not have the digital skills and competencies corporates need for employment.
GenZ has recently been assigned the alias “Zoomers”.
GenZ has been linked to hyperconnectivity, a constant attachment to their smartphones, and the ability to easily learn new technologies and navigate websites and apps. But the business world is different.
For example, communicating online is more complex than young people are used to, and using the right tone and language with emails is a skill that may not come naturally and has to be adapted to specific situations.
And the same is true when it comes to taking part in business video conferences, which are dramatically different from FaceTime calls with peers.
GenZ phone use and purposes
When it comes to internet or mobile phone use, one-third of genZ-ers in Asia spend six hours or more a day on their phones and 36% of them say they “carefully curate” their online presence.
As one of the most advanced digital economies in the world, the UAE also has one of the highest smartphone adoption rates at 96%. Generally, genZ-ers in the UAE use their smartphones for an average of around 3 hours a day.
In the UAE, research suggests that genZ-ers prefer the physical shopping experience. If they use technology, it’s more likely to be to find out where they can go to get what they want and compare prices and quality.