Generation Z is certainly unique from other generations that have preceded it in our country’s young history. Growing up in this generation, I’ve had a significant opportunity to analyze myself and my peer’s tendencies. Practically growing up with technology by my side, you tend to see a lot of how the world thinks, operates, and looks all through a screen. The view is confusing and inspiring – sometimes all at once.

Five Things Generation Z Offers the Defense Industry

I’ll be the first to admit that we aren’t perfect, but overall, the defense industry should be excited about what Generation Z brings to the table.

1. Passion

Generation Z has put a great deal of thought into exactly what they want to be when they grow up. Only 38% of Generation Z workers have said they don’t care about their work-life balance, and interest in STEM has grown mightily in the last twenty years. The defense industry is about to get an abundance of new workers unbelievably passionate about what they do. Devoted workers will always out-produce workers who do not care about their job. With an influx of intrinsically motivated workers, defense offices around the United States will get an energy boost.

2. Individualistic

An overwhelming majority of Generation Z grew up with smartphones, and we were early adopters for a slew of social media outlets. As a result, we are a bit accustomed to having everything tailored and targeted to us. Whether that’s playlists, social media, or even advertisements, it’s always been a component in how we live life. With that upbringing, Generation Z employees are more apt to want to create a personal brand or lead the way instead of just following along. Individualism has been celebrated in us over the years, and while that isn’t always good, it can offer benefits to the national security field at the same time. Generation Z arrives ready to bring new ideas and perspectives to the defense table.

3. Inclusion

Over the last 100 years, the United States has slowly but surely become more inclusive to others. That’s still the case with one of the youngest generations creating more opportunity for all individuals. Generation Z is more diverse in the United States than any of its predecessors, with 48% of the generation considered non-Caucasian. With a different social norm in our upbringing, we tend to lean more towards accepting all individuals regardless of gender, nationality, or ethnicity. This has clear benefits to any workplace, and this generation will do a great job in executing inclusivity benefits.

4. Problem-solving

This generation is awfully young, with some of the oldest members only in their mid-20’s. With this youth comes inexperience, which isn’t always a bad thing. Since we haven’t seen the same solutions implemented the same way over many years, we often look for new ways to find solutions. This is already a very passionate generation. Add that passion to troubleshooting and problem-solving, and it’s a recipe for success.

Tech-Savvy

Generation Z is, without any doubt, the most digitally advanced generation in history – until the next set comes along. Around 96% of this generation owns a smartphone, and almost half of Generation Z spends at least 10 hours a day on an electronic device. The defense industry is dominated by technology, so Generation Z has a lot to offer that will lead to success in this industry. Technology is advancing so quickly, and luckily, this generation moves right along with it.

Of Course, No One is Perfect

However, even though Generation Z shows a great deal of promise in the workplace, we’re not perfect. We do appreciate movement and growth, which could make job retention a little bit more challenging. However, the mission of national security is one that Generation Z employees can latch on to, which can decrease retention struggles. Also, confrontation is not Generation Z’s strong suit. While confrontation is a part of life, it might be beneficial for everyone if we work out issues privately instead of publicly. This struggle can cause problems in some workplaces, but it can also create opportunities for leadership to adapt and adjust strategies. At the same time, my generation can work on growing another layer of skin in order to keep up with the needs and pace of the defense industry. Just like every generation that has gone before us, we also have our strengths and weaknesses to add to the national security team.

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Brandon is from La Vista, Nebraska, and is finishing up his degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Management major and minors in Economics and Marketing. Career aspirations are dealing with human relationships, in whichever way fits best.

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