Lessons we can learn from Gen Z

Nov 05, 2023

Generation Z can teach older generations valuable lessons about how they think and view their work.

Meet the freshest faces in the American workforce: Generation Z, or simply “Gen Z.” Born in the window between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z – alongside their millennial compadres – has quietly but steadily become the majority, making up a whopping 50 percent of the entire U.S. population.

Gen Z are our first “digital natives,” as the first generation to never know a world without the internet. Pragmatic and progressive, they have been profoundly shaped by a rapidly changing and uncertain world. But what makes Gen Z truly stand out is its diversity: nearly half of their adults (49.8 percent) are non-white, a window into our country’s changing demographics.

With the benefit of these unique and inarguably modern life experiences, Generation Z can teach millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers valuable lessons about how they think and view their work – especially in the AEC industry, where collaboration and adaptation to new technologies are becoming increasingly important. Here are some specific things Gen Z can teach other generations:

  1. Entrepreneurial spirit. Gen Z is known for its entrepreneurial spirit, and this mindset can also benefit the AEC industry. Older generations can learn from this generation’s willingness to take risks and innovate, fostering an environment that encourages creative problem-solving and new approaches to construction projects.
  2. Collaboration and teamwork. Generation Z thrives in collaborative environments and values teamwork. In the AEC industry, where projects are often large and complex, fostering a collaborative work culture can lead to better problem-solving and increased productivity. Older generations can learn from this emphasis on collaboration and prioritize creating environments that promote teamwork and communication.
  3. Social and environmental responsibility. Gen Z tends to be more environmentally and socially conscious. In the AEC industry, where sustainable practices and social responsibility are becoming increasingly important, older generations can learn from Gen Z’s commitment to reducing the industry’s ecological footprint and positively impacting communities.
  4. Work-life balance. Gen Z highly values work-life balance, seeking flexibility and opportunities for personal growth. Older generations in the construction industry can learn to prioritize their well-being and strive for a healthier balance between work and personal life, leading to increased job satisfaction and overall well-being.
  5. Openness to change. Gen Z is known for its adaptability and willingness to embrace change. This adaptability can be a significant asset in the AEC industry, where new materials, methods, and regulations constantly emerge. Older generations can learn from this mindset and be more open to accepting change and exploring innovative solutions.
  6. Embrace technology. Gen Z has grown up with technology and is often more adept at using it daily. This can translate to faster adoption of digital tools and construction software in the AEC industry, improving project management, communication, and efficiency. Older generations can learn to embrace and leverage technology to streamline processes and stay competitive.
  7. Continuous learning. Gen Z values constant learning and considers it essential for personal and professional growth. In the AEC industry, where technologies and best practices are constantly evolving, older generations can benefit from adopting a mindset of continuous learning to stay relevant and competitive.

By being open-minded and willing to learn from all generations, Gen Z, millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers can leverage each other’s strengths and create a more dynamic and successful workplace in the AEC industry. 

Keyan Zandy is CEO of Skiles Group. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.