January 17, 2019

Understanding Gen-Z in the Workplace

“Sean McKeon was 11 years old when the 2008 financial crisis shot anxiety through his life in Hudson, Ohio. He remembers his father coming home stressed after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over the bank where he worked. A teacher asked classmates if their parents cut back that Christmas. They all said yes.

That unsettling time shaped the job plans he hatched in high school. “I needed to work really hard and find a career that’s recession-proof,” says Mr. McKeon, now 21. He set his sights on a Big Four accounting firm. He interned at EY in Cleveland and will become an auditor there after graduating from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, next year.

About 17 million members of Generation Z are now adults and starting to enter the U.S. workforce, and employers haven’t seen a generation like this since the Great Depression. They came of age during recessions, financial crises, war, terror threats, school shootings and under the constant glare of technology and social media. The broad result is a scarred generation, cautious and hardened by economic and social turbulence.”

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