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February 25, 2020

Generation Z is key to digital transformation, but companies need to take notice

By Lucy Ingham

Generation Z workers are vital to companies’ ongoing digital transformation, but according to a report published today, many companies are failing to make full use of this emerging cohort.

This is according to the Digital Natives Report published by Advanced. It has found that despite the familiarity and flexibility Generation Z workers have shown to have with technology, a significant minority of organisations are not making enough use of the age group when it comes to projects relating to digital transformation.

Members of Generation Z, which covers those born between 1997 and 2012, are now entering the workforce, having spent their lives surrounded by technology.

In a survey of over 1,000 senior decision makers at UK businesses running across multiple generations, the report found that 26% of Generation Z workers don’t believe their company is doing enough to attract younger workers.

31% also felt that such workers were not being adequately included in decisions related to technology adoption.

Notably, one in five felt that a lack of diversity and multi-generational perspectives were holding companies back when it came to technology modernisation projects.

This is despite significant appetite for technology among young workers. For example, 80% of Generation Z workers said they would be happy to work alongside robotic technologies that can alleviate manual processes – one of the key benefits of leading digital transformation technology robotic process automation (RPA).

Top digital transformation technologies that Generation Z workers want to use

  1. Business intelligence (wanted by 42%)
  2. Internet of things (wanted by 40%)
  3. Robotic process automation (wanted by 36%)
  4. Artificial intelligence (wanted by 26%)

The value of Generation Z for businesses

The report’s findings suggest that a lack of Generation Z involvement could translate into poorer digital transformation results for businesses.

“It’s this enormous appetite for new technology, along with their innate digital skills, that will help propel businesses into the digital era. In fact, Generation Z is arguably the silver bullet for helping organisations successfully meet the growing pressure to be digital-by-default,” said Advanced CEO Gordon Wilson.

“Like it or not, digital transformation is essential for business growth so our report’s findings will come as blow to many business leaders who are clearly failing to accommodate five generations of workers1 that each have varying levels of technology knowledge.

“Leaders must embrace the younger generation as a priority – and that means being open to change and a different way of doing things. What’s more, they mustn’t underestimate what this new generation can achieve or pigeonhole them into uninspiring roles. Rather, they need to create roles based on their skills, knowledge and talents.”

Read more: Working with Generation Z: A practical guide for managers