Gen Z: Ultimate Guide for Global Mobility Managers, Recruiters

As people born from 1995 onwards  — or Generation Z — enter the workforce, one has to ask why global mobility managers and employers are making a big fuss with this younger generation of assignees. Well, technology’s rapid pace has changed many people’s behavior, habits and work lives, especially those who were born in the internet era.

In a study, Vision Critical revealed that Gen Z and millennials differ in terms of how they use social media, their favored devices and how much TV content they consume. These younger workers quickly adopt new technologies and in the process, abandon conventional media easily.  

Gen Z consumers use smartphone devices more than millennials but only slightly. The difference is that millennials still use desktop computers while Gen Z almost always ignore them. For advertisers trying to reach Gen Z, expect to see more of them on mobile phones than any generation. Being in multiple platforms daily, making it harder to reach them.

One thing they have in common with millennials — a comparison used here if only because they’re closer to Gen Z consumers in age brackets — is that they both actively avoid ads using ad blockers, certainly a generational thing for the younger set. Young men in particular are early adopters of ad-blocking software, a 41 percent increase in the past 12 months. 

But Gen Z is not averse to ads when it’s about “real people” as opposed to celebrities, which means they would rather watch YouTube vloggers, YouTube being their favorite website, according to Marketwired. YouTube has relatable people who share their experiences and introduce Gen Z to new products. Millennials grew up with Amazon as its favorite website. Also, millennials are always looking for great experiences, not great products.

A New York Times report says Gen Z has separated itself from previous generations by prioritizing independence and eschewing tradition, because they grew up in a healthier economy. Millennials had to contend with the 2008 recession.

Gen Z is estimated to have a direct spending power of up to $143 billion in the U.S. alone, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan study. A new trend report digs into the characteristics and values that define Gen Z, which global mobility managers would need to know once they join the workplace.

No filters, just real people 

Do you believe that Gen Z consumers aren’t fans of highlight reels? Nearly 80 percent of Gen Z consumers  reportedly prefer authenticity — images that are not photoshopped. They trust a brand more if actual customers are used in its marketing.  

No staged photo ops

It remains to be seen, but Gen Z consumers seem to scoff at staged photo opportunities. The key is personalization and how they can be part of co-creating a brand or product from their unique perspectives. California Corporate Housing customizes corporate apartments for its guests..

Art is a passion point

Modern and urban art are catching their eyes. Strategic collaborations and interactive and multi-sensory experiences are likely to attract this generation by appealing to their desire for creative expression. Think artist collaborations, sneaker drops and exclusive fashion or merch at events.

Make retail an event 

Before people say retail is over, think again. Most Gen Z consumers like tactile, high-tech and interactive experiences like Amazon Go. About 75 percent like going to physical stores. What drives them to stores are recommendations on social media. The thrill is discovering these products online.

Gaming is no joke

Video game revenue in the United States exceeded $35 billion last year. And since Gen Z is fueling much of the growing popularity of gaming and esports, it behooves brands to embrace gaming culture in events with creative integrations, sponsorships and collaborations. 

The Gen Z generation enjoys the community spirit of gaming, which allows fans to see each other at events, tournaments and meet-and-greets—an area of opportunity for event marketers. Comic Con is another popular destination.

Inclusivity is crucial 

Almost 50 percent of Gen Z consumers identify as a racial or ethnic minority, making them the most diverse generation yet. It follows that brand marketing needs to be representative of that diversity if it’s to be taken seriously by this group. More than 60 percent of Gen Z consumers say they like seeing ads featuring diverse families.

Know what TikTok is about 

About 41 percent of TikTok video users are between the ages of 16 and 24. Too young for global mobility managers? The key to marketing to a certain generational segment is to be early. Brands should consider building a presence there. The platform has a playful vibe and companies should cater their content accordingly. 

Co-creation with brands is in

Most Gen Z consumers, 71 percent, believe that brands should help them achieve their personal goals and aspirations. Many of these folks also want to start their own businesses. To tap into this entrepreneurial spirit, brands can offer classes, workshops and networking events and even enlist them to co-create campaigns and product lines.

Travel and food come hand in hand

Global mobility managers, take note: A staggering 94 percent of Gen Z consumers said they research where to eat before they travel. In general, they like experiential traveling more, preferring to live like locals, than just being tourists.

Environmentally conscious-food is appreciated

Three quarters of Gen Z consumers are reportedly  willing to pay more for sustainable, “do-good” food. Brands that address issues like food waste, sustainable packaging and cellular agriculture will attract their attention. Consider serving socially-conscious food at pop-ups and events. Care for an impossible burger after reading this piece?

Personalized product branding is huge for them

Gen Z consumers purchase products and services that highlight their identity. And 58 percent said they’d pay a premium for such items. Individualized products, experiences and rewards allow the generation to communicate their personal style through branded merchandise. Additionally, 42 percent said they enjoy designing their own products. 

Bitmoji in corporate setting 

Bitmoji communication or emails with personalized avatars or emoticons. A third of Gen Z consumers said they see no difference between their online and offline selves, and 35 percent say those selves are very similar. It follows that they are comfortable with digital projections of humans, or avatars like Bitmoji, the social media app that people use to create little cartoon versions of themselves in various expressions, even GIFs.

AI does not replace human interaction

Retail spend on artificial intelligence is projected to reach $7.3 billion by 2022, reflecting younger generations’ expectations of what will ultimately be a common thing: personalized shopping experiences; add augmented reality experience to it, which would be more for older people but trickling down eventually to Gen Z. They may also look at corporate apartments online but prefer human connection to seal the deal. 

Of course, like anything, Gen Z can outgrow all these things when they hit their 30s but those in their early 20s would like it if their recruiters can relate to their curiosity for personalization, technology that still allows for human interaction and innovative retail.