This week, the Screenshot will be answering questions from members of our network. If you would like to ask a question for the December Q&Z, fill out this form. We would like to note that the answers below are the opinions of our Screenshot team and are not all-inclusive of our generation. Though we are reporting as accurately as possible, we can’t capture the sentiments of all of Gen Z here. If you have any questions or comments on this edition, reach out to harmonie@juvconsulting.com

What are the pros and cons of TikTok? (Y, Puerto Rico) 

Click the TikTok here to see this answer. 

How quickly does Gen Z cycle through trends? (T, USA) 

The advent of technology has brought our trend cycles from the 20-year rule to a rotation feeling more like 20 days. Trends used to “trickle down” from couture and fashion shows or “bubble up” from word-of-mouth, according to EDITED. With social media, content “trickles down” from popular influencers or “bubbles up” from the online dialogue around a topic. Our fashion trends still remain largely evergreen, as the era of microtrends becomes part of our past. However, TikTok “Audio” trends have become a quickly-shuffling source of entertainment for Gen Z. These audios operate on a two-week cycle, for the most part. For example, this sound originated on August 13 and went out of fashion by the end of the month. To lengthen a trending sound, another song is often added to remix the original, from the combination of “CPR” and “Misery” to “Savage” and “Rich Flex.” The Elm Magazine at Washington College notes that “it is common to go back and grab a past trend, but this time through the lens of nostalgia.” Whether this is on a small scale (“Savage” was originally popular in March 2020) or a large scale (the Y2K aesthetic is extremely trendy online), nostalgia extends the shelf life of popularity. Quoting the Guardian, “the Gen Z trend is all about cultural reinterpretation as a form of empowerment.” So, though we do shuffle through smaller two-week trends, many others are around to stay. 

What is your generation’s favorite celebrity? (K, UAE) 

Click the TikTok here to see this answer.  

What does a career mean to Gen Z? What do they look for? (A, USA) 

If there’s one thing to know about Gen Z, it’s that we are so much more than our jobs. We love to create, cook, listen to music, and spoil our pets — all activities that are financially supported by an occupation. With 91 percent of Gen Z interested in switching jobs, it’s important to understand what our generation looks for in a career. More than any other group, the youngest generation in the office values a living wage. Many of us are experiencing living without financial support for the first time and, combined with today’s widespread economic instability, salary is a crucial factor to attract young professionals. In fact, Glassdoor found that the most common “pros” for a business from Gen Z were positive work environments, flexible hours, and good pay. The “work environment” and “flexible hours” options are relics of the COVID-19 pandemic, where most of this generation had either our first full-time job or a part-time job/internship online. This new format of balancing work and personal life appealed to those who wished to break up our work day into periods of personal enjoyment and professional growth (in a perfect example, I read a few chapters and walked my dog between answering these questions). Some other reasons to stay with employers, as reported by Daily Capital and Betterteam, are company values, benefits, frequent feedback, and external motivation. Essentially, Gen Z is looking for somewhere we can thrive that appreciates and supports us. 

How does Gen Z define “cool?” (G, USA) 

What are the go-to apparel brands, and which brands is Gen Z over? What trends are the most exciting this season? (N, USA) 

Click the TikTok here to see this answer.  

Is Gen Z dependent on social media? (S, USA) 

One of the most common misconceptions about Gen Z is that we are glued to our phone and obsessed with online communication. In fact, our generation is the only with a declining social media presence in the past three years. Many have chosen to go against the pull of platforms like Meta, with those using social apps favoring the ~anti-social media social media~ ones like TikTok and BeReal. More than a way to find validation, digital platforms have become a space for curating micro-communities, connecting with friends as we experience life changes, orchestrating social change, and searching. Algorithms bring us into conversations with others passionate about our interests, whether it be biking, social justice, gorpcore, or film photography. These factions inform our purchasing decisions and shape our lifestyle habits. In fact, 97 percent of Gen Z reports using social media to decide purchases. Technology like Pinterest Lens has digified the purchase process as well, letting users virtually try on outfits. To learn more about social media as a search engine, check out “Is TikTok the new Google?,” JUV’s latest blog. Is Gen Z dependent on social media? In a way — but not how older generations expect us to be. 

What are Gen Z’s thoughts on dating post-pandemic? (S, Canada) 

Click the TikTok here to see this answer. 

How is Gen Z adapting to their jobs? What skills or support do they need? (M, USA) 

Gen Z is emerging from the pandemic ready to make that bag! As we enter the workforce for the first time, young people are looking for job environments that aid our personal and professional growth. For a generation that is expected to have 10 different jobs between 18 and 34, companies should encourage retention through their practices. Two of the largest places management can support their staff: skills development and positive workplaces. Only about 40 percent of Gen Z believe their education (high school or university) trained them for the working world. We missed out on learning soft skills like communication due to the pandemic, while not receiving hard skills that actually translate to our careers. This developmental gap means that many young professionals lack the expertise that allows them to grow and experiment in the workplace. 89% of under-35 workers want to improve their skills in 2023, and 74 percent are considering quitting in the coming year due to a lack of skill development opportunities. This makes it more important than ever for employers to provide these chances, whether through increasingly-popular MOOCs like “Intro to Artificial Intelligence” or management training programs. Gen Z also looks for workplaces that make them feel like a person more than a machine. JUV team members listed “constructive spaces to talk about growth,” “flexibility of work location,” “the opportunity to connect with coworkers in a more casual manner,” and “the ability to go to my superior” as facets of a supportive workplace. These all connect under the wish for worker-centered jobs, where each employee is deeply valued for their opinions and time. Gen Z wants their managers to check in with them at least once a day, and looks for work that is hybrid or come-when-you-wish. Creating a workplace that that is inspired by all of these best practices means retaining young employees that are an increasingly valuable asset in the office. 

What is your generation’s favorite pastime outside of phones? (G, USA) 

Harmonie Ramsden