Generation Y and Z

With the number of teenagers taking up Saturday and after-school jobs down by an estimated 60 per cent, what can businesses do to help? Ed Jones from Inspiring Interns has some answers. 

Understanding the Problems

Last week, Work and Pensions secretary Esther McVey spoke out about the ‘’significant decrease’’ of teenagers working Saturday jobs. Though she refused to label so called Generation Z as ‘’lazy’’, she insisted fewer young people are developing the soft skills required for the workplace.
“What you’ve seen from the 1980s, particularly in this country, is far fewer people doing Saturday jobs and doing jobs after school,” McVey told the Daily Telegraph.

“It’s about people understanding what a boss wants and what you want out of a job.”

So why the significant decrease? McVey cited academic demands as a key issue. With the pressures on students to perform higher than ever, many feel there is simply not time to take on extra responsibilities.

Threat of Automation

But are these jobs even available? A recent OECD report concluded that the risk of automation looks to be highest amongst jobs typically sought by teenagers.

‘’Youth and adults do different things at work, even when they hold jobs with the same occupational title,” the report said.

“The warnings in some developed countries that teen jobs have been harder to come by in recent years should be taken seriously in the context of job automation.”

But should we be encouraging Generation Z to take on Saturday jobs? Or does their unique skillset instead present an exciting opportunity for employers?

One of a Kind

The first generation to be brought up entirely in the digital age, Gen Z provide a wealth of natural abilities. Often criticised for being less focused than their Millennial counterparts, Z-ers are phenomenal multitaskers.

Able to shift effortlessly between work and social engagements, Gen Z’s flexibility could actually make them more productive than some of their predecessors. Embracing their pliability could transform traditional notions of workflow.

What’s more, in the face of crippling fees, many employers predict more young people will turn their back on higher education. With more 16-18 year olds turning to online courses, there’s a fantastic opportunity for recruiters to secure young workers on longer term contracts. Without having to account for lengthy university absences, businesses could afford to invest more time and effort in building dependable and committed workforces.

A Generation of Entrepreneurs

That cost-cutting savviness is just one facet of Gen Z’s entrepreneurial spirit. The result of a connected and tech centred decade, Z-ers have an ingrained sense of independence. By encouraging young people to set up their own businesses, McVey would not only be stimulating the economy but helping push a whole generation into work.

Perhaps even more encouraging is Gen Z’s commitment to individuality. Having grown up in the social media age, they understand the importance of standing out better than anyone. For marketers, embracing the first truly global generation could be invaluable.

So rather than encouraging Z-ers to conform to outdated patterns of work, perhaps it’s time to rethink our attitudes.

Ed Jones writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse our graduate jobs London listings, visit our website.