As we all know, a millennial is someone who was born between the 1981 and 1996, in other words, someone currently aged 22 to 36. However, the generation after this – generation Z, is slightly less known. There’s a lot more relevance to these ages than just a time period in which they were born – they come with completely new sets of opinions and attitudes towards society today. Having had the pleasure of being born a generation Z member myself, I find it fascinating to compare the difference in opinions that I have with older generations. These differences cover a myriad of topics, including money, lifestyles, jobs and of course – dating.
People are fixated on what millennials want (which is often avocado on toast or moaning about the difficulty of owning their own home) but the generation Z is often forgotten about. The younger, 18-27 group, are obviously a lot more tech-savvy, but so much so that it is a detriment to their health. As Herbert Simon once said “a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention” and this couldn’t be more true for the gen-z. Thanks to social media, we consume around 10,000 pieces of data every day – some of which may be false (photoshopped/edited) and this can be damaging. It’s no wonder that we struggle with mental health issues more than any other generation. We not only have a fear of missing out, but also a fear of being offline – in case we miss a social media post, revealing something fun that we are missing out on… its a vicious cycle! And one that only the more aware generation Z’s are realising. Whilst half of us are going travelling and taking ‘gap years’, to desperately try to find ourselves again, the other half are drowning in a mass of digital media.
In terms of money – what is it that we are doing so differently to our older counterparts? Well, according to a number of studies, us millennials/generation Z are actually poorer than our parents’ generation were – despite supposedly having been better educated. Of course, some of the reasons for this may not be entirely within our control – e.g. the economy as a whole. However, there are some facts that stand out as being relevant. Firstly, 60% of millennials will leave their jobs within 3 years of being employed. We don’t recognise job security and company loyalty as important anymore because now, we selfishly value our own needs more. And with the ever-growing abundance of zero hour contracts available, we have been able to fully embrace the notion of a flexible work-life balance.
Now – lifestyle. Firstly, I will needlessly point out the main difference between us and our parents’ upbringing… the internet. Generation Z has never known a life without the internet, making it hard for them to even fathom going about their daily routines without access to a phone, tablet or laptop. Our smartphones are our memories and Google is our second brain. 9 out of 10 of us don’t let our smartphones leave our side for the entire day! Whats more, 80% of us admit to reaching for our phones every time there is a silence or moment of inactivity. Compare this with the 10% of our parents’ generation (people aged 60+) who do the same and you are left with the main difference between our thought processes.
And finally, our relationships. The way in which we have relationships has changed dramatically, from the first time we lay eyes on our partner (or, in our case, decide to swipe ‘like’) to the way that
we choose to reside with them. With the increasing difficulty of being accepted for a mortgage, many couples are choosing to rent long term. And what’s more… they’re choosing to split the rent 50/50. With the average couple both working full-time jobs and the rise of feminism, we are choosing to ditch our parents’ old-fashioned views on home-making and inequality. We tend to be less religious, less broody and less excited by the idea of ‘settling down’. We are a generation of digital nomads and independent thinkers – who are all about lifelong learning, being on the move and being in control. Specifically, in terms of gen-z dating, some people think that they are fussier than their older counterparts – because they can afford to be! Thanks to the new digital dating era – everything feels temporary, meaning that gen-z members are less likely to compromise when finding the ‘right one’. People are more disposable than ever and dating isn’t seen as such a long-term thing, because we know that the next match is just a swipe or two away. Perhaps this is something that millennials can learn from…surely learning not to settle is a positive thing?
by Annabelle Beaumont, 24, for i2i