Gen Z

Apr 18, 2023time off

Marketing to Gen Z and Gen Z in the worlkplace

Michelle Malsbury

I know all of you are familiar with some of the generations, but maybe not all. I know I was and am learning with you now. The following table comes from the website 


Note: Generation names are based on when members of that generation become adults (18-21).

Generations Born Current Ages
Gen Z 1997 – 2012 11 – 26
Millennials 1981 – 1996 27 – 42
Gen X 1965 – 1980 43 – 58
Boomers II (a/k/a Generation Jones)* 1955 – 1964 59 – 68
Boomers I* a1946 – 1954 69 – 77
Post War 1928 – 1945 78 – 95
WWII 1922 – 1927 96 – 101


You may note that in the above chart there are two cohorts for the Boomers which I had not previously seen, but given their description makes fine sense. They state ( that this dissection of the Boomers into I and II represents too large a segment of the population. The division separates those who went to the Vietnam War from those who were not old enough to have been drafted. Their reasoning is that since the Boomers II were not of age for the war in Vietnam and did not participate in it that will have perceptions that are not in step with the Boomers I. I’d say probably a correct assumption. 

Gen Z has characteristics that are dramatically different than the prior generations. For instance, they are ambitious beyond their education/experience and overly driven by financial gain, they enjoy travel, are somewhat prone to exhibit anxiety and be nostalgic, totally into gaming, set hard boundaries, want empathy, and engage in social media in novel ways. found that there is a serious disconnect between what Gen Z wants in the workplace and what the bosses think they want, as well as how their habits are shaping the consumer marketplace. 

Statistically, Gen Z is about one forth of the workforce today. We already know that they grew up using smart phones and social media, which is both good and bad. They set trends, end trends, want to be influenced and influential, want respect and appreciation, and dominate the consumer marketplace. The level of trust amongst Gen Zers is lower than any other generation before them. Let’s see what they truly want and how they are shaping the way businesses interact with their customers.

Gen Zers believe that consumer experiences ought to be digital ahead of everything else, content should be heavily reliant on artificial intelligence (AI), and extremely personalized. Tom Manelli, General Vice-President of consumer research and devices at IDC, said these youth will change everything about how consumers and businesses interact by their reliance on AI and other new technologies. (paraphrase)

In the workplace Gen Z demands empathy, respect, and appreciation. Past generations got by and promoted by simply doing their jobs as productively as possible. Emphasis was placed on tangible outcomes and promotions doled out accordingly. Gen Z prefer to work from home or a flexible hybrid type schedule vs. in the office exclusively. They do not attach their job titles to their persona as prior generations have. The other generations entire personas were shaped by what they did as a job and what their title at the job was. Businesses need to be able to adapt to the changes in generational perceptions or work and homelife balance in order to reap the rewards from those select consumers. Customer surveys can help shape direction in this regard. 

Gen Z also feels that having a lot of work impacts their mental health and can create anxiety, burnout, and other health disorders. Therefore, they would like to be supported via engaging in regular conversations regarding their interests and skills. Being able to manage a huge workload and stay mentally and emotionally whole was a hallmark of the previous generations and the only way to garner appreciation and promotions. Marketing organizations may need to pander to these health-related work disorders by making them appear more commonplace than ever before to capture the Gen Z populace spending patterns in totality. 

They {Gen Zers}, more than any prior generation, share their opinions with their wallets and voices via social media. Therefore, marketeers need to ensure that these opinions and voices are heard and acted upon to prohibit Gen Zers feeling disengaged and disinterested. 

The work environment is a job maker/breaker for many Gen Zers. Working in an office environment day in and out is part of why they feel anxiety and overburdened. Hybrid or entirely remote is what they believe creates a more holistic workspace and lessens their anxiety. Less interaction with the other members of the workforce makes for a healthier and happier home life. The Gen Z survey stated that they would not stay at a job longer than two years generally speaking and as many as a third of them would leave their current jobs without lining up another job first, especially if it required them to report to the office. 

With work being conducted from home or in a hybrid situation there is less emphasis on outerwear or clothing choices. Fashion has pivoted, to some degree anyway, to try to par down daily work wear to adapt to these changes. No longer are Brooks Brothers suits and fashionable dresses and jewelry pared with designer shoes and handbags prominent parts of the office persona. T-shirts and shorts can be worn at home and even in some virtual meetings and this generation is completely at ease with this. Gen Z has dropped most jewelry in favor of body art, i.e. tattoos and piercings. Marketeers will continue to need to adjust and tweak their sales choices for such clothing and body wear accordingly. 

Besides pay, the Gen Z set wants to have opportunities to upskill and retool their training. They feel there is not enough of both in their workplace at this time and that because of this disconnect they are less successful and more dissatisfied in their jobs.  Employers and marketeers could make them feel more satisfied and successful if they offered both or perhaps had some of their other employees act as mentors or coaches. Training needs to be engaging and cutting edge in order to properly introduce them to new skills that can make their jobs and work life more pleasurable. Ai with a gaming twist can make this transition easier and more understood by Gen Z. Skills based training can also increase employe retention by making the employee feel part of the team. If this type of training is not possible to create in-house then employers need to reach out to organizations that can assist in this regard and create content that helps build confidence, skills, and appreciation amongst the workforce. 

We already know that pay and work-life balance are big for Gen Z. They want paid time off as a reward or recognition for their hard work above all else. They do not want simple overtime pay for extra hours of work, but want time with pay to spend doing what they want outside of work. Savvy marketeers can depict fun activities or venues outside of work to help Gen Z burn off tension and anxiety from work.   

In closing, there are many nuances that contribute to Gen Z and their attitudes and values about work and life in general. Building trust with Gen Z is part and parcel to achieving an inclusive and appreciative workforce. Find ways to connect, include, and engage Gen Z by using AI and other cutting-edge technologies to help them learn and problem-solve. Maybe take the skills and talents that track being influential and an influencer that are innate for Gen Z and have them introduce those to the older employees to create better understanding amongst them. This is called reverse mentoring. Take these gaps and use them to better connect with your workforce, use them for personal growth on both ends of the spectrum to foster cocreation of solutions in the workplace. 


Resources :


To create freelance content that educates, inspires, delights, and informs!


To create freelance strategies for organizations and leaders that enhance visibility, builds engagement, and drives credibility and income.

Pin It on Pinterest