If industry is to recruit from the new generation joining the workforce – otherwise known as Generation Z – there are challenges to address, says EU Automation’s Mark Proctor.
Born between 1994 and 2004, Generation Z is the most digitally-connected generation to join the workforce yet.
Unlike their millennial predecessors, this generation is yet to tarnish its reputation. Whereas their older siblings were wowed by the introduction of the smartphone and the rise of Facebook, this group is more likely to consider social media old-fashioned.
Generation Z has engaged with technology — not exclusively social media — from a very young age.
In the past decade, smart devices have transformed our homes and classrooms. Furthermore, computer science, with a focus on coding, has gained a place on the national curriculum.
Way of life
Generation Z isn’t just accustomed to technology; it has never experienced a world without it. The question is: what will this influx of technically-astute candidates mean for industry?
Their coming-of-age opens the doors to an incredible talent pool for employers operating in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries.
Making the most of their technological skills, Generation Z engineers are likely to develop knowledge beyond traditional, hands-on engineering.
Generation Z’s coming-of-age opens the doors to an incredible talent pool for employers operating in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries
The next generation will be capable of engaging with highly complex software, cloud-based applications and smart equipment without feeling out of their depth.
For STEM organisations, the impending arrival of these candidates may sound like a dream come true – but recruiting them looks to be no easy feat.
Despite growing competition on the jobs market, younger generations are increasingly particular when choosing their workplace, prioritising company culture and employee benefits over impressive starting salaries or sophisticated job titles.
In contrast to the long-term career habits of older generations, Generation Z is said to believe three years is an appropriate amount of time to spend at their first job – a worrying statistic for companies hoping to nurture and cultivate fresh talent.
Despite growing competition on the jobs market, younger generations are increasingly particular when choosing their workplace, prioritising company culture and employee benefits over impressive starting salaries or sophisticated job titles
To counteract these concerning figures, businesses in the engineering sector must understand the distinct requirements of these candidates. Generation Z will form the next legion of civil, mechanical and electrical engineers, building smart infrastructures, manufacturing life-changing creations and embarking on new developments in the realms of robotics and artificial intelligence.
They may already be accustomed to technology, but collaboration with a forward-thinking employer could truly unlock their potential.
Mark Proctor is managing director of EU Automation.