By next year, Generation Z – those born after the mid-1990s – could make up 20 percent of the world’s workforce. According to a new report by Dell Technologies, while working with new technology is highly prized among this new generation, its members are also in search of soft skills and human connection.
In 2018, Dell Technologies surveyed 12,000 high school and college students across 17 countries about their career aspirations.
“Having the latest technology at work is pretty much everything,” Jake Zimmer, a 21-year-old studying sociology and management, told researchers. “As someone about to enter the workforce, I want every opportunity to gain exposure to the latest technology and really have a deep understanding that’s going to put me ahead in the long run.”
Getting ahead of the competition requires technology literacy and 97 percent of those surveyed said that technology literacy matters. Additionally, rather than fear advancing artificial intelligence, 80 percent of Generation Z students believed automation will create “a more equitable workforce.”
However, as these new digital natives begin to enter the workforce, the report highlighted that many were concerned about the non-tech skills they will need to thrive.
“[Soft skills are] something that is downplayed when we focus so much on losing technology,” Jahnavi Muppaneni, a student of journalism corporate communications said in the report. “We lose the interaction that we need to have with teammates and customers.”
So how can employers prepare for Generation Z and address the new digital divide in U.S workplaces? According to the report, while educators and employers should incorporate the latest technology in their offices and classrooms and encourage students to pursue careers in STEM, they should keep in mind not to neglect soft skills trainings.