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Gen Z vs. Millennials: How to Tell the Difference

When brands talk about "Millennials" do they really mean "Gen Z"? Find out here.

The generation after Millennials has arrived. At The Center, we call this new generation Gen Z, but they’ve also been called iGen, Founders, and Centennials. Born in 1996 and after, this emerging generation brings a new worldview and different expectations as customers, employees, and citizens.


Just like their Millennial predecessors, Gen Z is causing quite a stir with retailers, employers, marketers, and even their own parents! While most people think the generation after Millennials consists of only kids, the truth is that the oldest members of Gen Z and iGen are now up to age 20. They are the newest entrants to the workplace and voting booth and will soon become the fastest growing group of employees and customers.

Gen Z is already the most influential group of technology trendsetters and they offer the best preview of future trends, such as technology usage, communication, banking, and shopping patterns.

So just how different are they from Millennials?

  • Gen Z is better at multi-tasking: Since Gen Z is truly the first digitally native generation, they are able to use their technology to its fullest extent. They can do their homework on their laptops while having several browser windows open at once while Snapchatting their friends and texting their parents. While Millennials are certainly used to this kind of technology, they are more tech dependent, whereas Gen Z is more tech savvy. Millennials know they can’t live without this technology, but they still remember a time without it. To Gen Z, this is all they know.
  • Gen Z is more entrepreneurial: While the media may paint Millennials as being the most entrepreneurial generation, it’s actually Gen Z who carries that title. Millennials are reaching an age where they’re finally buying houses, cars, and starting families, so having a steady and reliable job is more attractive to them than taking a risk. Gen Z is still young enough to take that risk, and to them, starting your own business is a better bet than working for a company who might lay them off.
  • Gen Z wants to work: At The Center, we’re expecting that Gen Z might actually leapfrog Millennials in the workplace! Why? Gen Z grew up seeing their Millennial older siblings and cousins struggle to find jobs after college during the Great Recession and subsequently move back home. We’re suspecting that Gen Z feels like they have to pay their dues in a work environment, and are hungry to work and start making money.

For more on this emerging generation, explore our original research here!

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