Gen Z’s potential and the opportunities ahead of them


Words by

Cover art by Laura Villanueva

BusinessWorld SparkUp’s Spark Series continues to explore the future of work as it recently held its 5th leg last July 5 at De La Salle University (DLSU) in Manila, where two industry experts shared insights to the students who gathered at the university’s William Shaw Auditorium.

Bianca Eleisse Eyales, an associate consultant at marketing consultancy firm Acumen Strategy Consultants, started the forum with sharing interesting findings from Acumen’s recent study on Generation Z (Gen Z), a distinct generation of people born between 1996 to 2014 who are approximately 6 to 22 years old.

Ms. Eyales noted that Gen Z grew up witnessing the significant rise of digital technology and social media. “During their lifetime, the world is no longer focused on building technology but rather on optimizing it for people,” she said.

Thus, Gen Z know only of a world that is fast, wireless, and highly connected, where digital media is fully integrated into their concept of being and consequently has become a fundamental aspect of their lives.

Given that context, Ms. Eyales described the Gen Z world as ultra-connected, hyper-speed, and big and expansive.

Gen Z’s ultra-connected world is described by their constant access to the Internet. As a result, it enables them to socialize simultaneously — even if they are alone — using multiple channels of interaction and new forms of expression such as emojis, memes, and graphic interchange format files (GIFs).

This steady connectivity has caused several problems. One is the rapid boredom Gen Zers get when they are not online. Another is the generational gap technology is causing in their personal and professional lives, coupled with a lapse in skills such as public speaking and communication skills.

As Gen Z view their world as hyper-speed, they want instant, fast, and easy access to everything, refusing to remain idle and waste time. They also demand immediate response and feedback.

Gen Z’s world is also big and expansive, having different worlds to interact with both physically and digitally. This makes their generation “hyper-empowered for learning”, finding that learning something new feels exciting.

Moreover, Ms. Eyales added that while the majority of Gen Zers are happy, they face challenges. Their hyper-speed and ultra-connected world exposes them to see the world’s various problems. Due to hyper-speed measures such as likes in posts or the ‘Seen’ in chats, they are bound to the experience of feeling ignored or not belonging. Gen Zers also sense the contrast between their world and their families’, since they feel their needs are not being met by their families.

Nonetheless, as they encounter these challenges, they approach life with a mature, hyper-empowered, and filtered mindset.

Their mature kind of mindset is expressed by their belief that enjoying life must come with a sense of responsibility.

As champions of change, they believe that amidst the bad that they see in the world, they can do something about it. Gen Zers want to go beyond unraveling issues by coming up with solutions to problems.

All these reflects in their choice of college and, eventually, their choice of career, wherein they don’t compromise their passion and interests merely for career’s sake.

Complementing this profound discussion on Gen Z is a talk on financial technology (fintech) and its application in future work, delivered by Rey Battung, Project Management manager of financial services company Wells Fargo in the Philippines.

Mr. Battung started with highlighting that any technology or innovation, such as fintech, started “with a specific need or pain point”. For him, fintech addresses those needs using processes such as Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Business Intelligence, and Robotic Process Automation.

Later on, he pointed out that as technologies are replacing human jobs, such as those in fintech, “it’s up to you, the next generation, to figure out what you will contribute once you join the corporate world.” Linking this thought with the “champions of change” mindset revealed by the previous presentation, he encouraged the audience to figure out what human input they can bring anew.

Mr. Battung also shared the various career opportunities in fintech open for the upcoming workforce, both for IT and non-IT graduates to consider and take. These opportunities include software engineer, business analyst, project management, business continuity, and information security.

Furthermore, Mr. Battung advised the audience to educate and update themselves from the business and technology perspectives, tapping on the vast information they can absorb.

The project manager also advised the participants to fearlessly challenge the norm when it comes to taking opportunities to innovate, drawing from the corporate world thought of “continuous improvement” and debunking the thought of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

“If you still have that thinking, you will not go far. You will be left behind,” Mr. Battung said.

He further encouraged the participants to try to leverage all the resources that they have which might help them in incubating their ideas and jumpstarting their careers.

The 5th leg of Spark Series 2019 at De La Salle University Manila was presented by BusinessWorld SparkUp, Energy Development Corporation, and Wells Fargo; together with Acumen Strategy Consultants and J. Legaspi Computer Graphics (JLCG); in partnership with De La Salle University Junior Entrepreneurs Marketing Association; with media partners Philippine Star and ONE News.