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Gen Z author: We're 'much more competitive' than millennials

Adriana Belmonte
Associate Editor

With Gen Z on pace to outnumber millennials in the coming years, it’s becoming more important than ever to understand the mindset of the up-and-coming generation. (There are more than 70 million American Gen Zers, born between 1995 and 2012.)

Jonah Stillman, the 19-year-old author of “Gen Z @ Work: How the Next Generation Is Transforming the Workplace,” said that members of this age group are “much more competitive” than millennials.

We’re looking to compete a little bit more, we’ve got a little bit more self-drive, and that also kind of falls into some of the events and conditions that shaped my generation,” Stillman said on Yahoo Finance’s Market Movers earlier this month (video above). “We [grew up] in the midst of the recession. We saw the downfall of the economy. We saw our parents struggle so much at home. … So as we enter the workforce, money is very, very important to us.

Jonah Stillman is one of the rising spokespeople for Generation Z. (Photo: Yahoo Finance)

‘We’re truly digital natives’

Generation Z is expected to make up about 20% of the workforce by 2020. And while millennials “paved the way for pushing career paths to advance” quicker, Stillman said, Gen Z is expected to push for fast advancement by exposing themselves to as many different roles as possible.

“I think that a variety of industries are looking to engage my generation, and successfully doing so is the next key to really working with us, engaging us in the market,” said Stillman, who advises the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings on marketing. “And I really think that Gen Z is going to influence a lot of the world that we live in today.”

The next generation of works has different work-life tastes than others. (Photo: Yahoo Finance)

Stillman described Generation Z as the “phygital” generation, where the line between the physical and digital worlds becomes less and less clear.

“Gen Xers likely remember begging business leaders for access to the internet, while millennials had to beg their bosses for access to social media. …”

“We’re truly digital natives,” Stillman said. “We’ve only known a world with technology. We’ve only known a world where our phones are smart, where we have smartwatches. And what that has created is that there really is no learning curve with technology for us. We’ve never learned … we expect it in every aspect of our life.” 

Adriana is an associate editor for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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