You’re probably an ageing millennial. This week is Gold Coast Business Week. A week where all sectors that make up our thriving economy come together and reflect, learn and connect with their peers.

On Monday, the Mayor hosted the first event of the week – a spritely 7:30am breakfast meeting with keynote speaker Michael McQueen. We’ve all sat in these keynote pressos and wondered what we might take away. And anyone who promises to make them ‘fun’ usually hasn’t read the crowd. But in this instance Michael was surprising, giving everyone in the room a provocation or thought that has no doubt been replayed in our minds since.

One of key his points that directly spoke to our advocacy pillar is the notion of ‘A Healthy City’ with a particular nuance towards supporting emerging leaders – the Gen Zs and the ageing Millennials – yes, we’re shook too.

One thing that grabbed my attention was that Michael predicts that the ‘Post Millennial era’ is one of the key changes in business over the next 10 years. It’s fair to reflect that when this generation was first raised in the room there was a sense of collective eyerolling and almost distain for this cohort.

But what was particularly interesting from Michael’s presentation was some of preferences of this generation that took us by surprise.

Let’s give the context that this is the first truly digital native generation. They are leading us into a growing digital world and the evolution of the Metaverse is a concept that many of us are probably still grabbling with.

So, it was a surprise, but perhaps a humble relief, that this generation is still craving human connection in the workplace. Recent research suggests that almost 50% of Gen Z and Millennials are looking to be 100% office based. On the other end of the generation spectrum, the Boomers are more likely to be seeking a hybrid arrangement. Surprised? I was.

And so, whatever our expectation is of this emerging workforce, it is that they are surprising and perhaps more conventional than what we might initially have anticipated. At least in terms of their working environment preferences.

What does that mean for the businesses that have flipped to being entirely remote? What about the current leaders, the Boomers, who would most prefer hybrid arrangements and how is that at conflict with the generation it is leading who are craving more interaction and sense of connectedness.

Here are our top key takeaways and provocations:

  • Hybrid and office-based work is the preference for 89% of the workforce with only 11% craving 100% remote working.
  • Gen Z are craving in-person interaction in the workplace and have found it challenging to keep up to date with remote and hybrid working arrangements.

Important factors for this generation are environmental policies, equity and diversity. Employers ignore this at your peril.
Messaging platforms, such as Slack, iMessenger, WhatsApp are more important to this generation than email. Will this be the generation that finally fixes our forever-filling inboxes? 

Author: Matthew Dodds & Grant Brisland