Generation Edge enters the workplace
Over the past decade, educators, employers, researchers and marketers have spent significant time
and resources dissecting the Millennial mindset. But the generational limelight is beginning to
shift as members of the youngest generation, Generation Edge, start trickling into the workplace.
Meet Generation Edge (also known as Generation Z): Born after 1995, they are true digital natives
and look to be just as — if not more — influential than their Millennial predecessors. As members
of this up-and-coming generation enter their formative years, explore what makes them unique.
While Millennials were mostly raised by idealistic
Boomer parents during the self-esteem movement,
many Edgers are parented by a very different
generation — Generation X.
Generation X came of age during the emergence of
24-hour media and tabloid journalism. In adulthood,
Xers were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They
entered the job market as the dot-com bubble burst
and purchased houses just before the Great Recession.
Gen Xers have been through a lot, and are
determined to make sure their kids are better off.
Xers are encouraging independent thinking and
competition in their Edger children. Consequently,
Edgers are showing themselves to be a realistic and
Gen Edge influencers (thus far)
If you think Millennials are tech-savvy… well, just
wait. Edgers are vastly more adept in the digital
world. While Millennials grew up with clunky gaming
systems and pixelated graphics, most Edgers can’t
recall a time without touch-screens and motionsensing
gaming. Millennials remember dial-up
internet; Edgers grew up with ubiquitous WiFi, have
high expectations around technology and will expect
the world to keep up. Technology, however, is only the
beginning of the Edger story.
For such a young generation, Gen Edgers have seen
their fair share of tragedy. They watched as the
country was rocked by terrorism. They worried as
their parents fought to keep their homes during the
Great Recession. They’ve developed a tough shell to
protect themselves from cyberbullying. Social media
is teaching them that they can’t trust politicians or
even law enforcement. And the first election in which
Gen Edgers were eligible to vote? Clinton v. Trump —
a race that will go down in history as one of the most
contentious and divisive elections ever.
Gen Edgers witnessed some truly dire events, but have
also looked on as we’ve made some inspiring changes
in the fabric of our culture. They’ve watched as Barack
Obama became the first African-American president,
seen same-sex marriage legalized, and have followed
along (if not participated) as the fight for women’s
rights marches on. All of which are astonishing
changes from the status quo of previous generations.
The Edger persona
- Dollars and Cents — Understandably, 46% of
Edgers are concerned about college debt1, but
instead of worrying about it, they’re saving for it.
Edgers prefer to save money rather than spend it
immediately. While Millennials try to be careful
with their money, Edgers take frugality even further.
They care about more than just the price tag and
a coupon. They want to get the best value for their
money; they want to know about additional services
that might come with their purchases. These
qualities, at such a young age, hint to a financially-conscious
generation, which isn’t altogether
surprising considering the financial hardships their
Xer parents survived. Since Xers didn’t experience
the American Dream like Boomers did, Xer parents
are giving their children the practical and savvy
tools to be successful in an unfair world.
- Adulting as Teens — While the oldest Edgers
have graduated college, this is mostly a teenage
generation — albeit one that’s already thinking a
lot about their lives as adults. Sixty-one percent of
Edgers have already begun saving for their future2,
and many of today’s students are concerned about
finding a job once they graduate college.3 Still, they
remain optimistic about their careers; 32% aspire
to be in their dream job in 10 years.4 These highreaching
Edgers want to dive into opportunities
for career growth as soon as possible. Gen Edgers
expect professional development in their first jobs.
If companies play their cards right, they can avoid
the job-hopping phenomenon so prevalent among
Millennials by offering Edgers continual training
and providing ample professional development.
These types of engagement will be important for
- All-Knowing — Edgers have grown up with
unlimited, instantaneous access to information.
They expect to have a constant connection to their
peers and families across multiple platforms, they
can and will fact-check anything — and they’re more
than willing to research companies and people.
They already know whether or not a new line of
skin-care products is truly “all natural,” they’re
proud of their favorite clothing brand’s nonprofit
engagements, and they read all about prominent
business scandals. While this can be intimidating,
don’t let it be. For an Edger, it’s a breath of fresh air
when a company has easily-accessible information
that isn’t trying to hide anything.
What this might mean for the workforce
Many Gen Edgers are still in their formative years,
but we can already guess some of the traits they
might bring with them to the workplace. They are
technologically fluent, self-reliant and pragmatic.
They’ll be the first to master a new web technology
and start seamlessly integrating it into their daily
routines… but probably won’t want to be viewed as
the new in-house IT and digital specialists (if it’s not
in their job description).
Having picked up a thing or two from their
Xer parents, Edgers will lean more towards
independence and self-reliance than Millennials.
They won’t jump at opportunities to collaborate
because they’ll be too busy worrying about getting
their work done. When they do collaborate, they’ll
rely on virtual tools that don’t require being in the
same room as their colleagues.
Gen Edgers will also be practical about goals
and limitations and determined to see projects
through to completion in the most efficient way
possible. They’ll try to stay on top of their workloads
through multitasking and smart use of processes
and technology, and they’ll bring a realistic and
disciplined perspective to the workforce.
While Generation Edgers are still defining their generational identity, you can plan on seeing
some stark differences to Millennials. Their entry to the working world will stir up the generational
workplace and might cause some clashes at times with a Millennial-dominated environment.
Through all this speculation, one thing remains unarguably true — Gen Edge will usher in a whole
new set of skills, values, and perspectives. They’ll add a fresh dollop of generational diversity, and
present a challenge, but also an opportunity, to those who are tuned in for the changes on the horizon.
1 Ameritrade. (2013) Gen Z Ready to take on the world.
2 McLeod, J. (2014, December 4). Column: Gen Z money troubled. The Huntington News.
3 Palley, W. (2012, April). Gen Z: Digital in their DNA. JWT.
4 Crouch, Bob. (2015, March 22) How will Generation Z disrupt the workplace?
This information is prepared by an unrelated independent third party, BridgeWorks, and is provided for informational purposes only. Ivy Distributors, Inc., believes the
information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided
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