Edgers Are the New Millennials: Emerging Obama Generation Differentiates Itself

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Some 42% of those in the post-Millennial generation, born after 1995 and known as Generation Edge or Gen Z, want to start their own business, and 38% want to invent something, according to a study by BridgeWorks, a generational consulting company.

That's part of the independent spirit that's set to define this up-and-coming generation in the economy and workforce. 

"Generation Z has access to more information on how to survive in the world, which will give them financial stability sooner," said Terri Liselle, who authored the book The Millennial Woman (Amazon Digital Services, 2014).

Part of that survival ability from the constant stream of information to which this generation has grown accustomed. Surrounded by selfies posted on social media, embedded videos on twitter, unending Facebook feeds, and video capabilities on their smart phones, Edgers make up a more tech-savvy generation that is adept at spreading their focus across at least five devices.

"Gen Z interacts daily across a plethora of screens that can be their smart phone, tablet, iPad, traditional television, desktop and gaming consoles or devices," said Matt Smith, chief evangelist with Anvato, an advertising and content delivery platform. "This is up from the number of screens that Millennials grew up using and is likely to grow again with the next generation after Gen Z."

Perspective on the Crisis 

Those in Generation Edge, also known as Edgers, are also set to use their economic autonomy and constant access to information to be more proactive in avoiding financial hardships.

“Millennials grew up in a booming economy and were only affected by the recession during high school or college,” said Hannah Ubl, researcher with BridgeWorks. “Edgers saw their parents, aunts, uncles or neighbors lose their jobs or possibly their homes when they were nine years old. Their older siblings moved home after graduation to work as a barista and sleep on the couch.”

This exposure to economic hardship is forming an emerging generation that will likely make more sound financial decisions.

Some 44% of Edgers worry about college debt, and 64% are concerned with landing a job after college.

“The Edgers' Gen X parents were hit hard by the recession and aren’t in the best position for retirement, therefore the conversation around debt has had to be serious and transparent from a younger age,” said Ubl. “Gen Edge is pragmatic and more likely to stay close to home for college rather than fly to a private school.”

Diverse and Willing to Fail

Edgers, remarkably the last generation of Caucasian majority, are watching the nation’s first president of color rebuild the economy after the 2008 financial crisis.

“This generation is growing up in a more diverse and inclusive society therefore they will have high expectations of diversity and inclusion represented in the workplace,” said Ubl.

Gen Edge is also more comfortable failing with 71% expecting to fail before achieving success.

As a result, employers will struggle with the Edgers' mentality of not reaching out to their management team when they make a mistake.

“Edgers may be more likely to prefer to face a challenge alone without seeking advice,” Ubl told MainStreet. “Millennials collaborated from a young age and generally prefer to seek consensus from every person before making a final decision, but Gen Edgers don’t have the patience for that and learned self-reliance from their parents.”


Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet

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