Generation Z, also known as Gen Z, is the demographic cohort that follows Millennials. Born between the mid-1990s to the mid-2010s, this generation has grown up in a world where technology is ubiquitous. They are digital natives who are comfortable using technology in all aspects of their lives. However, despite their tech-savvy reputation, Gen Z also experiences a phenomenon called “tech shame.”
Tech shame refers to the feeling of embarrassment or inadequacy that some Gen Z individuals experience when they do not know how to use a particular technology or digital tool. It can be triggered by various situations, such as struggling to operate a new app or device, feeling intimidated by more tech-savvy peers, or being criticised for not knowing how to use a specific tool.
According to a report by Raconteur, tech shame can have significant implications for Gen Z’s professional development and career prospects. As the workforce becomes increasingly digitised, employers expect candidates to have a certain level of digital literacy and technical skills. However, if Gen Z individuals feel embarrassed or ashamed about their lack of knowledge in these areas, they may be less likely to pursue careers in technology or related fields.
Moreover, unlike their older peers, tech shame can also hinder Gen Z’s ability to learn and develop new skills. If they are too ashamed to ask for help or admit their lack of knowledge, they may miss out on valuable learning opportunities. This can lead to a skills gap between Gen Z and older generations, which could further exacerbate their tech shame and limit their career prospects.
So, how can leaders address the Gen Z skills gap and combat tech shame? Here are some potential strategies:
- Normalise asking for help: Leaders can create a culture where it is okay to ask for help or admit to not knowing something. Encouraging open communication and creating a safe space for learning can help alleviate tech shame and foster a culture of continuous learning.
- Provide training and development opportunities: Employers can offer training programs and resources to help Gen Z individuals develop their technical skills. This can include workshops, online courses, or mentorship programs.
- Emphasise the importance of soft skills: While technical skills are essential, soft skills such as communication, collaboration, and problem-solving are also critical for success in the workforce. Leaders can help Gen Z individuals develop these skills by providing opportunities to work on team projects or participate in leadership development programs.
- Celebrate diversity of skills: Gen Z individuals bring a unique set of skills and experiences to the table, including their comfort with digital tools and technologies. Leaders can celebrate this diversity of skills and recognise the value that Gen Z individuals bring to the workforce.
Gen Z’s tech shame is a real phenomenon that can have significant implications for their professional development and career prospects. Leaders can address the Gen Z skills gap and combat tech shame by normalizing asking for help, providing training and development opportunities, emphasising the importance of soft skills, and celebrating diversity of skills. By doing so, they can help create a more inclusive and supportive work environment that enables Gen Z to reach their full potential.
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