Managing the Talent Crunch: An A-Generation Z Guide

The gap between available jobs and people to fill them continues to widen. Gen Z can narrow it — if you can get inside their minds.

The sky isn’t falling. But the number of workers to fill jobs around the world is at an alarming rate. Korn Ferry recently forecast that by 2030, there will be a global shortage of 85.2 million workers globally. Many businesses are already feeling the pinch — especially those in information services sectors or traditional businesses undergoing digital transformation.

That’s bad news for business. But there is hope. Generation Z is coming. Born between 1995 and 2010, many of the newly-minted grads within this techno-savvy generation are beginning to enter the workplace. And if you can excite them about work, train them to fill in gaps in experience and adapt to their flexible style of working, you can build a workforce that can successfully execute on your objectives for today and adapt to drive advantage for your business tomorrow. But you have to understand them first. Here are five things you need to know to get inside their minds:

1) They don’t want to be hemmed in by technology. Generation Z expects things to be as simple and efficient at work as they are in their personal lives where insights, interactions, and tasks are digitized, personalized, delivered to their preferred device, and can be acted upon with just a few clicks.

2) Technology is second nature. Just as they blend work and life, Generation Z lives through their technology devices, and that technology is increasingly mobile. In their minds, the PC is dead. It’s a relic to be viewed in a museum, not something to be used in their daily lives or part of the work they’re doing. And “cloud” isn’t a new term or delivery model — it’s simply the way the world works. Digital, personalized services pushed to them in the moment, wherever they need it.

3) They won’t work in an office every day. Generation Z won’t stand for being anchored to a desk. They fuse work into their lives. And they expect flexible work options supported by reliable digital workspaces, so they can work wherever and whenever they want. That doesn’t necessarily mean the beach, but it does mean outside a traditional office environment. In one recent survey, 40% of professionals say they would turn down a job if it didn’t offer flexible work options. Another study found that nearly one-third of workers reported having quit their job due to limited flexibility. That’s more than double the rate since 2014. And such flexible work preferences are even higher amongst millennial and Generation Z workers.

4) They won’t work alone. Generation Z is highly social and wants to share and solve problems collaboratively — not in isolation, nor solely within their function or company. They prefer to crowdsource solutions with co-workers, partners, and even strangers or competitors.

5) They’re prepared to work. According to a recent survey conducted by Citrix, more than three-quarters (77%) of 2,000 12- to 15-year-olds in the US think the use of technology at school is preparing them well for the world of work. (Unfortunately, there are variances by country with a similar study revealing that only 57% of teens in the Netherlands, 41% in France and 54% in Germany felt their current schooling was preparing them for meaningful work.)

Like the Millennials before them, Generation Z is moving and shaking the business world. They will drive the future of work, and it will be all about flexibility and choice. The secret to delivering this lies in intelligent digital workspaces that give them the freedom to work anywhere and the guidance and insight to do their very best work. In an intelligent workspace, companies can serve up access to the systems, information and tools employees need to be productive anywhere, anytime, on any device and create a highly personalized and curated experience similar to the personal technology platforms they use that keeps them happy and engaged.

Companies that embrace the concept can power a smarter, better way to work and draw the talent they need to unlock innovation and move their business forward. Those that don’t will continue to watch as the talent gap widens and swallows their opportunity.

Tim Minahan is the executive vice president, business strategy and chief marketing officer at Citrix, a leading provider of digital workspace solutions.

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