Today’s profound IT skills shortage makes hiring in tech difficult, but the good news is that there’s a natural boost to the talent pool on its way. Young tech talent entering the workforce can be a big help to businesses with skilled positions that go unfilled for months on end. While Millennials have often stolen the spotlight in this regard, how many more Millennials will enter the industry now that they’re outside of college and employed in other fields? It’s Generation Z that is already making an impact in IT and shaping the direction of the tech industry.
Practically speaking, Generation Z is the future of the tech industry because it has now become America’s largest generation, making up 26% of the population. The oldest members of this group, born in 1995, are now at an age where they have graduated from college and entered the full-time job market. This is promising for those looking to hire in IT, especially because members of Generation Z are particularly interested in technology and are more apt to follow tech careers than other generations.
Early Interest in STEM
As true digital natives, Generation Z has grown up with technology at their fingertips. This naturally-ingrained interest in tech is backed by a collective effort to introduce youth to STEM subjects and careers at earlier ages than ever before. Robotics competitions, library STEM programs, and STEM high schools are on the rise in communities across the country. Further, corporations are donating hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time to help K-12 schools improve their STEM programs.
This is a big reason why STEM majors in colleges are exploding, up 43% between 2009 and 2015. The natural interest in technology that members of Generation Z have is able to thrive because they are given the tools necessary to nurture their skills. Compared to Generation X or even Millennials, who didn’t see clear-cut career paths involving the technology we use today, Gen Z has a distinct picture of what their potential data scientist, cloud, cybersecurity, and AI careers might look like.
Mentality that Complements the Gig Economy
With the gig economy increasing consulting and freelancing opportunities in IT, Generation Z is coming of age at the ideal time. 77% of this group earns money via part time jobs or freelancing gigs already, priming them for IT consultant roles. Further, one major study found Gen Z embodies an entrepreneurial spirit. They have strong ideas, want to be valued, and dream without limitations. Generation Z prefers independence and might be apt to working alone more than other generations. All of this creates a mentality where the notion of traditional, permanent nine-to-five work is not the only option for a future.
Focus on Training Over Degrees
While much of Generation Z is enrolling in STEM degrees in college, many are also taking different paths toward their careers. Only 64% of this group are considering an advanced degree, which is much lower than Millennials. The reason for this is Generation Z has grown up with more alternative training options than those that came before. 85% have viewed at least one video in the past week in order to learn a new skill. Additionally, some are entering apprenticeships or formal training programs as young as 16. All in all, this group is poised to pick up IT skills faster and earlier, meaning that younger members could start hitting the job market more quickly than their predecessors.
4 Reasons Generation Z Is the Future of the Tech Industry
While each new generation has brought progression to the tech industry, Generation Z is set to make the largest impact since the invention of the personal computer. For employers, it’s exciting to know so much fresh talent will be entering the market over the next several years, but their numbers will still pale in comparison to the number of open IT roles in America. The future of IT can be a promising one for hiring managers, but only if they can adapt recruiting strategies specifically for Generation Z.
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