About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 4517-4523
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.1131
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
Young people referred to as ‘GEN Z’ were born between 1990 and early 2000s. They have grown up surrounded by advanced ICT technologies and the ‘internet of things. Most GEN Zs are either recent graduates and/or are at the beginning of their academic studies or are about to enter the labour market. They both face and pose new challenges as they enter the labour market. In order to help to build bridges between these youngsters and companies and to promote and facilitate their integration in the job market, a project was developed – the iGen project. Within this project, we studied thoroughly the characteristics, expectations and needs of both actors: generation Z and companies.

As for companies, our findings reveal that they consider that they are reasonably well prepared to meet the needs of GEN Z. As a matter of fact, companies state that they have some established processes, to welcome youngsters and integrate them in the already existing teams. However, this really is more frequent in big companies and not, as usual, in smaller companies.

Companies reported that they expect GEN Z employees to bring innovative ideas, an innovative attitude and technological knowledge. They also expect GEN Z employees to be able to learn quickly, to be proactive and independent in their work besides possessing certain basic skills (e.g. writing an e-mail, creating simple documents and able to undertake basic calculations) as well as a set of soft skills and qualities (e.g. hard-working, the ability to listen, good adaptability skills, critical thinking, teamworking) as employers and managers do not have the time to train and develop these skills.

Employers also believe that keeping GEN Z interested in their work is one of their main challenges. They reported that GEN Z often refuse or are reluctant to undertake simple tasks if they find it unworthy, considering their qualifications. Moreover, employers recognize GEN Z need regular feedback and do not readily accept formality and hierarchical structures at work.

Youngsters respect their managers and leaders if they believe and are seen to be competent in their work. They do not like repetitive, boring tasks and they have difficulties on focusing on one thing at a time. Finally, companies believe that GEN Z like and are used to instant gratifications and give up easily when facing problems or experience frustration or stress.

According to these results, a training session to prepare mentors to welcome youngsters in companies was developed. The aim was to promote a better understanding of the younger generations and communicate with them.

In these paper, we present the results of the first training session for the future mentors of companies in order to discover the importance, and therefore, in all likelihood, be highly supportive of mentor programs within the enterprise. We also describe how companies can tailor and establish their own mentor programs and how they will develop adequate mentoring skills in order to support new employees from gen Z appropriately.
Mentor program, Employability, Generation Z.