Manufacturing Workers of the Near Future: Beyond Millennials and Focus on Gen Z

Huge Attitude Shifts Regarding Money, Work, and Communication Preferences

The Bulldog Reporter shared that Gen Z influences 93% of all household purchases; those findings have a direct result in what products are manufactured and who will be working on the plant floor over the next decade.  Digital agency Deep Focus this week announced the findings of its Winter/Spring 2015 Cassandra Report: Gen Z study, specifically focused on consumers born between 1998 and 2008. The research reveals new data regarding the behaviors, habits and, attitudes among this group, especially as they relate to money and spending, life skills, and social media.

“Understanding the mindset of Gen Z is an indicator of future spending and consumer preferences, especially when comparing this generation’s behaviors to those of Gen Y,” said Deep Focus CMO Jamie Gutfreund. “If, as a brand, you aren’t putting energy into understanding Gen Z you are losing an opportunity to anticipate the future of consumer behavior.”

According to Cassandra Report, Gen Z, tweens/teens carry significantly more influence on household purchases than previous generations. Parents also corroborate this finding—93% say their children have at least some influence on their family’s spending and household purchases.

Having such significant purchasing influence at a younger age has shifted Gen Z’s attitude toward money, specifically as it becomes a measure of success. Sixty percent of Gen Zs say “a lot of money” is a sign of success compared to 44% of millennial respondents at that age. Today’s 14-17 year olds also are more open to traditional ideas of ownership with 66% saying they want to own both houses and cars in their lifetimes. Savvy about money, while Gen Zs earn an average weekly allowance of more than $23, 39% of Cassandra respondents say they would rather “save money than spend.”

This generation is also interested in building key skills at a young age. They have a desire to start their own companies instead of working for an established company (62%), and 89% say they spend part of their free time in activities they consider productive and creative instead of just “hanging out.” As such, Gen Zs are more likely to have worked on a craft than Gen Ys at that age (42% vs. 25%). Gen Zs have shown interest in developing skills tied to how to start a business (58%), graphic design (51%), how to shoot/edit videos (50%) and how to build or create apps (50%).

Gutfreund added, “We’ve found 7- to-17-year-olds take a much more pragmatic approach to life. Astoundingly, 71% expect to experience significant failure before achieving success, and nearly 40% say they see failure as an opportunity to try again. Gen Ys, thanks to their Boomer parents, would never have considered failure an option.”

Gen Zs’ practical and realistic preferences extend into their expectations from brands. They are more interested in narratives and content that have realistic endings (67%) and want to be engaged by real people, especially in advertising where they are nearly twice as likely to want to see “real people” than celebrities (63% vs. 37%). Because of this desire, Gen Zs are more likely to visit YouTube than any other social site (85%) and would prefer their favorite brands communicate with them there than anywhere else (40%).

To read the entire Cassandra report, go to:

These findings give manufacturers fair warning about the upcoming workers on the plant floor. These visually stimulated money incentivized future workers must be courted now. Manufacturers must make the work environment a place with Gen Z workers will feel engaged and seek employment. Manufacturers who are effectively communicating with the current workforce (Millennials and Boomers) establish a great word-of-mouth culture. The workers of today will say good things to their children and grandchildren about the place they work, creating goodwill and cultivating the next generation of plant floor employees.

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