The next generational cohort following Millennials is currently referred to as Generation Z. Sometimes it takes a while for a name to stick with a generational cohort, just as Millennials are also called Generation Y because they followed Generation X, but also had a multitude of other names before the majority settled on calling them Millennials. After that there has been a tendency to continue the alphabet. Some are referring to the generation of babies being born at this time as Generation A or AA or Alpha, starting back at the beginning of the alphabet. Only time will determine how that evolves.
Generational studies are not an exact science and the next big question is when does Generation Z start. Since I started my research more than 15 years ago, I have been following some of the leaders in this area designating Millennials as those born between 1980 and 2000 even though not everyone agrees with those years. That’s a big age span and many, especially the Millennials, will say there is a big difference between the older and younger Millennials. For that reason, I often divide them at the middle and call them the older and younger Millennials. Pew Research, regarded as an authority on collecting and evaluating data and trends, has recently revised the dates for Millennials and Generation Z. They now classify Millennials as individuals born between 1980 and 1996 and Generation Z as those born 1997 and later. No one seems ready to set the lower age of Generation Z yet.
Generation Z has it’s own set of characteristics that make it unique. To start with, they are the first truly digital natives, having grown up in a time when the Internet was available, cell phones were common, and social media kept everyone connected. They have no memory of a world before smartphones. This is a very well-educated and a very diverse generational cohort. I will be researching and looking more into how this affects them as leaders and what possible leadership styles will be dominant for this group and will keep you updated on my findings.