“Generation C” enters the workforce

strategy + business (a Booz & Company house organ) has a piece on the “rise of generation C.”  The “C” stands for connectivity, not for their grade-point average.  These are people born after 1990 who have grown up with their reality mediated by digital technology.  They are just beginning to enter the workforce, which should, the authors argue, have a profound affect on the workplace:

Among the changes that will be wrought by the arrival of Generation C in the workplace will be the continuing consumerization of corporate IT. More than half of the CIOs in a recent Booz & Company survey said that in the next three to five years, most employees will bring their personal computers to work rather than using corporate resources. The trend of redefining employees as resident consumers will be led by Generation C, given its familiarity with technology and its expectation of always-on communications.

This trend will, in turn, encourage the increasing virtualization of the organization. As 24/7 connectivity, social networking, and increased demands for personal freedom further penetrate the walls of the corporation, corporate life will continue to move away from traditional hierarchical structures. Instead, workers, mixing business and personal matters over the course of the day, will self-organize into agile communities of interest. By 2020, more than half of all employees at large corporations will work in virtual project groups. These virtual communities will make it easier for non-Western knowledge workers to join global teams, and to migrate to the developed world. As they do, they will bring with them the innovative ideas and working behavior developed in their home territories.

Moreover, the proliferation and increasing sophistication of communication, interaction, and collaboration technologies and tools, and the economics of travel itself, will result in knowledge workers’ traveling much less frequently. The opportunity to meet face-to-face will be accorded primarily to top management, and business travel will become a valued luxury.

So the trend that began with Gen X and Gen Y will accelerate as this new generation joins the workforce.  Assuming this paints an accurate picture, it strongly suggests that organizations that don’t re-organize into “agile communities of interest” are going to have a hard time recruiting younger workers.

You can read the full article here.  You can download a whitepaper on Generation C here.

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