What Will Young Workers in 2030 Be Like?

Did you know that there’s another baby boom on?  Since the mid 2000s, the fertility rate in the U.S. has been at its highest since 1971, meaning that the generation preliminarily known as Generation Z is actually larger than its predecessor, the mammoth Generation Y.  The new boom is thought to be caused by a confluence of factors including a greater number of procreating immigrants and a high population of childbearing-age women – including those who have put off having children until their 40s.

Generational expert Neil Howe coined the term “Homelanders” to describe today’s children, stating that they are growing up in a time of “greater public urgency and emergency, both at home and around the world.”

Generation Z-ers/Homelanders are speculated to be similar to members of the Silent Generation, who grew up during the Great Depression and came of age during World War II.  Like the Silents, Homelanders are likely to be focused and hardworking.

Return of Pragmatism

Says Tim Elmore, founder and president of the international non-profit Growing Leaders: “The Homelanders exhibit far more realistic expectations than Gen Y.  It is my guess this generation will be more practical when choosing majors in college and subsequently careers.  The downside to this:  because of their calculated nature, they will likely be a much less entrepreneurial and innovative generation than Gen Y.”

Expanded Global Outlook

The Homelanders will also be the first truly global generation, interacting with peers around the world at a young age and paying close attention to world events via technology.  With America’s first African-American president as a role model, diversity is a given and they will not be phased by ethnic, racial, or cultural differences.   Due to parental emphasis, they will be more interpersonally savvy than their device-crazy predecessors.

Education is King

As they grow, the Homelanders are likely to be debt-ridden, but still optimistic about their futures.  Accustomed to having information about anything they’re curious about immediately available, they will be more formally and informally educated than previous generations.

Change on a Dime

Coming of age in the 2020s, the Homelanders will go to work in a society that moves at the speed of Internet 3.0.  Their highly developed multi-tasking and cognitive processing abilities will come in handy because many will be contingent workers, meaning they are employed for a variety of organizations doing a variety of tasks.  And with the aging Baby Boomers and major skills shortages to contend with, there will always be plenty of work to do.

The Homelanders won’t be particularly motivated by salary because they won’t own (or want to own) as many things as their parents and grandparents, and they won’t bat an eye about moving overseas if that’s where opportunity takes them.

Do you have young children?  What traits do you see in them that will be relevant to their future lives as employees?

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  • Interesting/good article! I work with youths as well and I find that in today’s economy, most parents are too occupied with sustaining their own careers; leaving their high school and college students to generally fend for themselves. Sharon Cooper, “A” List Candidates, LLC.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for your comment, Sharon!  Today’s college and high school students, for the most part, are part of the Millennial generation.  Do you see a difference between these students and the ones who were entering the workforce 5 years ago?

  • Kendra

    This is so interesting, Alex. You have the best posts!

    • Anonymous

       Kendra, thank you so much, this made my day!

  • rwilcox

    An interesting entry, although I disagree with your conclusions about salary.

    Here’s why: I have a newborn. I’m assuming/dreading the fact that her college education will probably cost somewhere around $200,000- $300,000, when it’s all said and done. Obviously I can’t save that kind of money up for her, and grants will only go so far. So she’s going to have to take out some massive loans – I’ll help of course, but even if we split it 50/50 it’ll still be massive.

    Add the rising amount of unpaid work (either unpaid internships, or “work 100% for equity/stock options”). Yes, maybe there’s going to be some backlash against the former, but I also think that once employeers find out they can have their people work for free for equity that’ll change the equation. Imagine getting a job at a hardware store and working not for money, but for stock options? Sounds like a great deal for the employeer – I actually can’t believe we’re not seeing more job offers like this now.

    Add the rising cost of health insurance and the shrinking in benefits, and I think that Generation Z will be very focused on salary, assuming they can find a job that actually pays them. First to take care of their debts, then to replenish their savings (oh, sorry – “personal runway”) for the next round of equity-based work that may or may not pay off.

    And seeing their parents struggle with money and their boomer-generation grandparents struggle to get through their “golden years” retirement… I think those are strong life-lessons imprinted on Generation Z. Granted, yes, they’ll probably not want/not miss things that their parents cut out of the budget long ago (cable, new cars, etc etc), so they probably will be more frugal than their parents or grandparents.

    • alexandralevit

       Hi, R – I have two Homelanders too.  I personally believe that the college market is going to implode before our kids are of age.  There’s just no way the value can keep pace with the current rate of tuition inflation.