We’ve all heard the stories of parents who started planning for entry into the right nursery school as soon as their child was born. To many of us, that kind of advance planning might seem a little over the top. But that’s an example of the broad down-the-road thinking employers might want to adopt when they are identifying where they’ll find their future talent.
We know that the future of work—and of the workforce—is going to be packed with change we can’t even imagine today. In fact, I’ve been reflecting lately on comments made by some of the thought leaders on our Americas Mobility Conference “Extreme Insights” panel. Not only did they suggest tapping into teenagers now as a think tank for the future of work, but it was also noted that gaining insight from and about much younger children can provide clues to the way talent will eventually need to be recruited and developed. We already know some things about members of Generation Z, who were born between 1995 and 2010. Gen Z is entrepreneurial and pragmatic, hardworking yet easily distracted, with the desire for social impact that their millennial predecessors expressed. Some employers are even creating early appeal to Gen Z with customized high school internships that help them create a pipeline of talent into their companies.
We can gain a deeper sense of what’s coming by learning from the generation that’s following the Gen Z workforce entrants. Tentatively titled “Generation Alpha,” they are the children of millennials, born starting in 2010—the year the iPad was introduced and Instagram was created. Analytics about Alphas project that when all the members of this generation have been born, their numbers will reach almost 2 billion. They will be the most technology-supplied generation in history, and they may be the most transformative generation ever. Are we ready to attract, manage, and retain this talent? Yes—if we start learning about them now.