There's no denying that Generation Z (those born after 1996) is entering the workforce. In Southeast Asia, 99% of them having used technology as part of their formal education. Hence, there's no surprise that they will bring with them a tech-first mentality that will propel businesses further into the digital era, Dell's new survey revealed.
According to the survey of 12,000 high school and college students in 17 countries (including Singapore and Malaysia), technology seems to be a key factor to attracting talent from this generation. Zooming in on Southeast Asia, 95% (MY: 93%, SG: 89%) said the technology offered by an employer would be a factor in choosing among similar job offers.
At the same time, 90% (MY: 90%, SG: 79%)expressed wanting to work with cutting-edge technology - among those, 43% (MY: 41%, SG: 40%) were interested in IT careers, 43% wanted to work in cybersecurity and 53% (MY: 54%, SG: 40%) aspired to do technology research and development.
When it comes to technology, other key findings include:
- 86% (MY: 86%, SG: 83%) believed technology and automation will create a more equitable work environment by preventing bias and discrimination.
- 91% (MY: 91%, SG: 92%) recognised we are entering the age of human-machine partnerships
- 59% (MY: 58%, SG: 60%) believed humans and machines will work as integrated teams, while 32% (MY: 33%, SG: 32%) saw machines as tools for humans to use as needed.
Across Southeast Asia, 76% (MY: 71%, SG: 70%) rated their technology literacy as good or excellent and 78% (MY: 77%, SG: 53%) said they have above-average coding skills. Yet, 97% of new grads (MY: 97%, SG: 98%) had some concerns about future employment.
Only 60% (MY: 64%, SG: 47%) rated their education as good or excellent in preparing them for their careers whereas 62% (MY: 59%, SG: 47%) are confident they have the tech skills employers want but not necessarily the non-tech skills.
The survey noted that with up to five generations now in the workplace, businesses must help workers find common ground as they push to create a digital-first culture. One of the ways to do so is through reverse mentorship programmes Gen Z leading the way to enhance technical competencies throughout an organisation.
When polled, 83% of Gen Zs (MY: 80%, SG: 84%) expressed willingness to mentor an older coworker who may be less experienced with technology.
Interestingly, the survey also revealed that despite having interacted with electronic devices and social media from a young age, Gen Zs yearn for more human interaction in the workplace.
- In-person communication (SEA: 43%, MY: 40%, SG: 50%) was the preferred method for communicating with coworkers, compared to phone (SEA: 29%, MY: 34%, SG: 11%) or messaging apps and texting (SEA: 18%, MY: 18%, SG: 26%).
- 74% (MY: 81%, SG: 76%) expected to learn on the job from coworkers or other people – not online.
- 87% (SG: 86%) said that social media can be a valuable tool in the workplace.
- More than half (SEA: 53%, MY: 55%) preferred to go to a workplace versus working from home and 64% (MY: 66%, SG: 51%) prefer to work as part of team rather than independently.