Gen Z vs. Gen Y: What’s the Difference?

The past decade has had significant focus on the impact Gen Y is having on our workplaces. Since different generations are raised with different values, it’s not surprising that we experience shifts in our workplace values as well. Simple value tensions like respecting authority (Baby Boomers) versus a distrust of hierarchy (Gen Y, aka Millennials) will cause workplace conflict. Overall, this increase in generational value preferences has been a healthy movement as it has given us the opportunity to understand our differences. However, the focus on Gen Y is shifting as Gen Z are now entering the workplace (generational age norms are provided below).

Barna Research has released data which helps us understand Gen Z (as well as their predecessors). While Gen Z may share some common ground with Millennials, we would be mistaken to treat them the same. Some of Barna’s more notable Gen Z conclusions are as follows:

  • A key characteristic of Gen Z is that their expectations are largely shaped around themes of academic and career success — more so than any other generation.
  • However, nearly 40% want to spend their 20’s enjoying life before they take on the responsibilities of being an adult—significantly higher than the 25% of Millennials who said this.
  • Six out of the top 10 reasons teens look up to their role model are related to career or financial success.
  • Personal achievement, whether educational or professional (43%), and hobbies and pastimes (42%) are the things most central to Gen Z’s identity. Their responses stand out against those of their elders: Twice as many teens as Boomers strongly agree that these factors are important to their sense of self (22% and 24% in Boomers).

The charts below provide many other helpful insights. However, I encourage you to remember the principle behind this data. We are all created uniquely and for different purposes. The rise of generational awareness is simply a reflection of our desire to be treated as the unique people we are. In fact, you and I personify a microcosm of this same principle. This truth requires you to do more than just manage people. Identifying and maximizing the potential of each employee is the work of a gifted leader!


GEN Z were born 1999 to 2015 (only teens 13 to 18 are in this study) | MILLENNIALS were born 1984 to 1998     GEN X were born 1965 to 1983 | BOOMERS were born 1946 to 1964 | ELDERS were born before 1946

Dr. Jeff Suderman is a futurist, consultant, and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Contact him today to find out how he can help enhance your personal and organizational effectiveness –

Source: Barna Research

Photo Credit –





30 Things You Need to Know About the Class of 2019

Each fall, Beloit College provides an insightful overview of the incoming class of college freshmen. As the years fly by, it is easy to forget the unique worldview and history that shapes our students. A review of this list is a helpful read for all of us who will be interacting with this class in the year ahead.

I have edited Beloit’s list to 30 items. The original list can be accessed at the link at the end of this post.

Students heading into their first year of college this year are mostly 18 and were born in 1997. 

Among those who have never been alive in their lifetimes are Princess Diana, Notorious B.I.G., Jacques Cousteau, and Mother Teresa.

Joining them in the world the year they were born were Dolly the sheep, The McCaughey septuplets, and Michael “Prince” Jackson Jr.

Since they have been on the planet:

  1. Hybrid automobiles have always been mass produced.
  2. Google has always been there, in its founding words, “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.”
  3. They have never licked a postage stamp.
  4. Email has become the new “formal” communication, while texts and tweets remain enclaves for the casual.
  5. Hong Kong has always been under Chinese rule.
  6. They have grown up treating Wi-Fi as an entitlement.
  7. The announcement of someone being the “first woman” to hold a position has only impressed their parents.
  8. Color photos have always adorned the front page of The New York Times.
  9. “No means no” has always been morphing, slowly, into “only yes means yes.”
  10. Cell phones have become so ubiquitous in class that teachers don’t know which students are using them to take notes and which ones are planning a party.
  11. Their parents have gone from encouraging them to use the Internet to begging them to get off it.
  12. If you say “around the turn of the century,” they may well ask you, “which one?”
  13. They have avidly joined Harry Potter, Ron, and Hermione as they built their reading skills through all seven volumes.
  14. Phish Food has always been available from Ben and Jerry.
  15. Kyoto has always symbolized inactivity about global climate change.
  16. When they were born, cell phone usage was so expensive that families only used their large phones, usually in cars, for emergencies.
  17. The therapeutic use of marijuana has always been legal in a growing number of American states.
  18. Teachers have always had to insist that term papers employ sources in addition to those found online.
  19. Surgeons have always used “super glue” in the operating room.
  20. Fifteen nations have always been constructing the International Space Station.
  21. The Lion King has always been on Broadway.
  22. CNN has always been available en Español.
  23. Splenda has always been a sweet option in the U.S.
  24. Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have always been members of NATO.
  25. Humans have always had implanted radio frequency ID chips—slightly larger than a grain of rice.
  26. TV has always been in such high definition that they could see the pores of actors and the grimaces of quarterbacks.
  27. Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith have always been Men in Black, not their next-door neighbors.
  28. They had no idea how fortunate they were to enjoy the final four years of Federal budget surpluses.
  29. Vote-by-mail has always been the official way to vote in Oregon.
  30. The proud parents recorded their first steps on camcorders, mounted on their shoulders like bazookas.

This freshman class belongs to a group called Generation Z. If you are interested in learning more about this generation you can check out this interesting infographic.


Head Shot

Jeff Suderman is a futurist, consultant, and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman Email:


Source: Beloit