The class of 2019 is the latest group of Millennials to graduate college. Next up is Generation Z (Gen Z). The Pew Research Center defines Gen Z as those born between 1997 and 2012. In 2020, Gen Z individuals will range in age between 7 and 22 years old. What do higher education institutions need to know about this new class of prospective students?
One of the unique qualities of Gen Z is that they are the first generation of true digital natives. They are often cited as the communication generation because they have had access to information and social media their entire lives. Gen Z has never known a world without mobile phones or the internet. Unlike previous generations, their use of technology is seamlessly integrated into their everyday lives.
Gen Z has grown up primarily during an economic downturn and is more frugal than their Millennial counterparts. They have seen their parents navigate uncertain economic times and watched as Millennials acquired unprecedented student debt. As a result, Gen Z is reevaluating the costs and benefits of a traditional education and is open to pursuing alternative paths.
Let’s take a closer look at how Gen Z differs from Millennials.
1. Gen Z Uses More Screens
Millennials generally use two screens each day, while Gen Z uses up to five screens per day.
Gen Z’s attention span is around eight seconds, versus Millennials’ 12 seconds.3. Gen Z Spends More Time Online
Gen Z tends to be more frugal because individuals grew up in uncertain economic times. Generally, they value their ability to make and save money. In fact, 65 percent of Gen Z employees value salary over other job perks. Those in the age group also say they will invest in skills training if it means they can make more money.5. Gen Z Prefers Mobile Shopping
Gen Z is two times more likely to make an online purchase through their mobile devices than Millennials. Gen Z demands efficient and hassle-free processes from beginning to end.6. Gen Z Evaluates Brands Holistically
Gen Z no longer forms opinions of brands solely based on the quality of their products or services; they consider a brand’s ethics, practices, and social impact.7. Gen Z Responds Differently to Advertising and Branded Content
Gen Z often learns about products through social media-based videos and influencer marketing, while Millennials will respond to a variety of promotional strategies including more traditional online ads, social media marketing, and branded podcasts.
The difference in attitudes between Millennials and Gen Z are significant. Institutions need to adjust their recruitment, onboarding, and communications strategies to embrace this new generation of students. Here are some tips.
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