Navigating the Future – Preparing the Workforce for Generation Alpha

Software, Media & Technology

Preparing the Workforce for Gen Alpha 

The first wave of Generation Alpha have been busy choosing their GCSEs. Despite the generational distance that we have from these 14-year-olds, they will soon be joining us in the workforce. We are familiar with our own generation’s workforce stereotypes, but it is perhaps time to begin assessing what Generation Alpha will need and want from the businesses that they work for over the next decade. 

It is worth noting that not all Generation Alphas are born yet, as this generation includes individuals born between 2010-2025. According to McCrindle, 2.8 million Alphas are born globally each week. This will make Generation Alpha the largest generation in history. A large proportion of these children have been born in India, Africa, and Indonesia, forming the changing global landscape of talent and development. 

Half of all Generation Alphas globally are expected to earn a university degree, ensuring a highly trained global workforce. According to Qustodio, 84% of American students are using technology in the classroom, with 60% of these students using a school-provided device – quite a change from the mobile phone bans we saw in schools across the 2000s-2010s. 

Before moving into the detail, it is important to note that 2 in 3 Alphas are expected to work in jobs that do not yet exist. To begin to comprehend what that means, we can look to the rise of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology and explore the opportunities and changes being built at this very moment. STEM career opportunities are expected to increase by 11% over the next decade, with jobs projected to grow at twice the rate as all jobs combined between then and now. 

Pronouns – Navigating New Norms for a Diverse Workforce 

Generation Z might have led the way in common usage of gender-neutral pronouns. However, according to a OnePoll Survey of 2,036 individuals, 23% of Generation Z now prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns. As business leaders, it is crucial to acknowledge and address these changes before alienating the upcoming enclave. 

While younger generations continue to call for a more inclusive culture, we can begin to see developing and emerging spaces within the training sector. Companies such as Learning Technologies Group have invested in content and services platforms targeted at reaching the full breadth of the workforce. When comparing the company’s two arms of content and service provisions, we can see the clearly defined split between current generational preferences. 

GPStrategies, a “talent transformation” provider, delivers learning and development solutions that supplement the implementation and adoption of learning technologies. The company notes, “The world in which you compete, and your people learn and perform is changing faster and more profoundly than ever before, and it is not going to slow down or become simpler in the future. Change and uncertainty is now the norm, and your people need the skills, methods, and tools to adapt and succeed for you.” This business is not yet targeted to Generation Alpha, and why should it be? They are not yet in the workforce. 

However, Preloaded explores delivering immersive games and connected play through emerging technologies, to facilitate interactive development of purpose-driven play. With the goal to “create playful products which change how people think, feel and act in our world”. These items are currently targeted at a younger generation, with games using Fortnite and Lego to encourage young people to explore “purpose-driven play”, building a defined and mature level of diversity empathy. 

We can expect to see overlap between these two market areas, as the younger generation continues to use immersive technologies in their daily lives. Without adapting to these new technologies, businesses run the risk of disengaging and alienating the younger generation before they even hit the workforce. 

Generation Alpha’s Expectations 

While I found many statistics when writing this post about what Generation Alpha wants from their lives, I think we should take the results of surveys completed by 9-year-olds with a pinch of salt. As, who doesn’t want to have a job saving the world?  Or, love their family more than computer games? 

That being said, by the time I was 9, I knew I would be working on a laptop one day, so perhaps we should respect the views of the generation when it comes to technology. A study by VISA shows, 40% of Gen Alpha think AI, virtual reality, and smart assistants will be integral to their future careers. We expect to see a more seamless world which has the power to reimagine local communities, town operations, and governmental support. 

76% of children aged 8-14 aspire to establish their own business, run a small enterprise, or pursue a ‘side hustle’ compared to only 13% who said they would prefer working for others. If this self-driven workforce plays out, the working landscape as we know it could be profoundly transformed, as could the way that communities operate.  

A similar impact could be felt with the technological transformation expected as Generation Alpha defines the workforce. Studies have found Generation Alpha to be as deeply connected with the online world as the real one. Thanks to a continuous stream of digital content about earning money, children are focused on becoming self-sufficient, with almost half of children using technology to help them secure pocket money. 

Children are more than three times likely to learn about money by watching online content than following more traditional sources such as books. TikTokers and YouTubers have been leading the way as sources of inspiration as these content creators emerge as the most influential factors in stimulating ideas, versus more conventional sources of inspiration such as drawing, writing, and reading. Older members of the generation are turning towards socially conscious methods of earning, using online marketplace platforms to generate income. 

 So, What Should We Do? 

We have time to prepare for the new kids on the block to grace our workforce. However, it is worth considering the long-term changes that will need to be implemented in businesses to ensure workforce retention. Developing tools and remaining aware of shifting social views will be crucial in developing relationships with younger members of the team. This could include the integration of digital tools in the workplace, offering flexible working options or using gamification to make tasks more engaging. 

A generation brought up with non-stop gaming is bound to be competitive. It is important to give this younger generation the space and freedom to learn from us while we facilitate for them. Supporting entrepreneurial spirit, whether this be through encouraging innovative thinking or allowing employees to lead projects, will need to have some guard rail. Businesses will come up with ways of giving their staff that additional sense of support in their own personal ventures. 

As ever, continuous learning and upskilling will ensure the generation is investing in ongoing training and development, will support the culture of lifelong learning – not to mention finding a clear line between inclusivity and fostering healthy competition to give staff defined goals whilst celebrating achievements.

By Ella Bertrand on 24/05/2024