The Coronavirus Will Define Gen Z: From How They Shop and How They Choose Jobs to How They Will Change the World

Young woman with red hair standing in a crowd wearing yellow shirt with Yahoo! News logo in top left corner

I Shared Several of Our New Insights with Yahoo! News

  • Social justice protests will be a defining moment for Gen Z
  • Older Gen Z will feel the impacts of the pandemic more than any other generation
  • What a Generation Defining Moment is and why that is important to understanding Gen Z

Drawing on my experience as a generational researcher and keynote speaker, I was recently interviewed by Yahoo News to discuss several important topics affecting Gen Z. Using CGK’s latest research, I shared about CGK’s work investigating Gen Z’s behaviors in the midst of a pandemic, worldwide protests, and a rapidly changing economic reality that leaders are working hard to stay ahead of.

Along with CGK’s CEO, Denise Villa, PhD, I also shared about these topics and more in our forthcoming book, Zconomy, How Gen Z Will Change the Future of Business—and What to Do About It. It is a must-read for all leaders, influencers, and trendsetters who are hiring, marketing to, and employing Gen Z. We incorporated insights from our more than 65 generational studies, 700 clients, and candid interviews with Gen Z as well as their employers, parents, and marketers.

Gen Z demands concrete action as they join protests for social justice

Protesting is not new in our nation. Americans have spoken out against injustice since we were ruled by England. Now, in 2020, Gen Z is taking a part of what is arguably their first mass-protest movement.

As I shared with Yahoo News, “We believe these racial injustice protests will be a generation-defining period for Gen Z, as they are the first widespread protests in which Gen Z has witnessed and often supported or even participated in. Gen Z is also starting to see them as creating a sense of results, even if the results are viewed as not enough, from impacting politics and national media conversations to changing advertising and social commitments.

Gen Z is adjusting to the pandemic, albeit with difficulty

The pandemic has been upending lives and livelihoods across the globe, and the protests have only added more to the rapid changes in our society. As our research has been showing, it is Gen Z above all other generations who are feeling the financial impacts most profoundly. As this emerging generation has only recently entered the workforce, they are most likely to be the first let go or furloughed. In fact, in our latest national study Gen Z was the generation that most said they will be worse off after the pandemic is over.

However, there are some silver linings. As I also shared in the interview, “The reality is you could have a younger part of [Gen Z] that becomes very accustomed to learning online, collaborating online, accessing information and being able to take that and then apply that as they get older into the workforce, higher ed, you name it. So all of a sudden, it’s gonna be normal for them to collaborate, solve problems and engage using a variety of different technologies, which would not have happened if this horrible pandemic had not happened.”

All generations have their own ‘Generation Defining Moments’

Every generation can recall a time that transformed society to some degree. For Baby Boomers, it might be Kennedy’s Assassination. For many Millennials, it was 9/11. And now, our research is showing that the COVID-19 pandemic is the generation-defining moment for Gen Z.

As the article mentions, I believe that institutions and leaders will be affected in major ways, including schools, health care, and the politicians. Further in, I said, “So these are the types of things that happen during what we call a generation-defining moment, which this is, [that] really changes you and your view of the world. You remember where you were, what happened, how you felt, and you carry that forward with you.”

How Can Leaders Across Industries Connect with Gen Z Now?

In this unforeseen time, marketers, leaders, parents, and educators must have the most up to date insights and tools to drive results with Gen Z now. At CGK, we are constantly researching how Gen Z and all generations are thinking about spending, work, brands, family, education, the economy, and much more throughout the pandemic.

Our team is providing these unique insights to you with strategic advisory sessions, webinars, and virtual keynote presentations to help leaders at all levels be accurately informed with missing data and solutions to drive results at this critical time.

Reach out to my friendly team here to learn how our customized research and generational strategies can help your team and organization lead and solve challenges through this time of uncertainty. We are all in this together.

Subscribe to Jason's Email Newsletter

You’ll receive updates on Jason’s latest discoveries and exclusive Gen Z and Millennial research