Generation Z, often referred to as Gen Z, faces a unique set of challenges when it comes to skills in the workplace. Last year, research that showed Gen Z were less tolerant of other people’s views than their parents or grandparents was published. Now, new research shows the harmful effects of short-form content on their ability to function properly in a job.
A Concern for Communication Skills
According to Alex Mahon, a UK Channel 4 TV Chief Executive, young people from Gen Z are entering the workplace and workforces without the skills to work alongside people with different views, communicate properly, or handle disagreements effectively.
Impact of Social Media Consumption
Mahon recently addressed this concern, shedding light on the impact of social media, particularly short-form content on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, on the communication skills of Gen Z.
Short-Form Content’s Influence on Gen Z
In a talk at the Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge, she emphasized that the consumption of bite-sized content has left many young individuals ill-prepared to consider diverse viewpoints and engage in meaningful discussions.
Lack of Understanding Of Diverse Viewpoints
“What we are seeing with young people who come into the workplace, Gen Z, particularly post-pandemic and with this concentration of short-form content, is that they haven’t got the skills to debate things,” Mahon remarked.
“They haven’t got the skills to discuss things. They haven’t got the skills to disagree.”
Research on Video Content Consumption Habits
The trend of short-form video content has reshaped how Gen Z consumes information.
Research commissioned by Channel 4 has shown that individuals in Britain now spend an average of five hours per day watching video content, largely favoring this over traditional live television.
Short-Form Video Dominance Among Younger Age Groups
For those aged 16 to 34, short-form videos, typically lasting a minute or less, amount to a substantial 45 percent of their viewing, compared to just 25 percent for older age groups.
Algorithm-Driven Content Selection
Mahon pointed out a crucial aspect of this trend – the role of algorithms that curate content for users.
Short-form videos are often recommended to users based on algorithms, essentially dictating what individuals view daily.
Emotional Instability and Lack of Control
Mahon highlighted the consequences of this algorithm-driven content consumption, noting that it can lead to feelings of emotional instability.
The Science Behind It All
“When the algorithm is in charge, people say they feel emotionally out of control – the immediate dopamine hit fades rapidly, and they are left feeling empty,” Mahon explained.
The consumption of short-form content has become associated with a sense of “feeling a lack of control” among viewers.
Watching Unusual Content
This suggests that the content these users engage with isn’t what they would choose.
Concerns Surrounding Gen Z’s Content Consumption
Gen Z’s reliance on this form of content selection has raised concerns about the consequences of this lack of control.
Different Viewing Habits Across Age Groups
This trend isn’t uniform across all age groups. Despite the rise of streaming services and the decline in traditional television viewership, older viewers continue to show loyalty to public service broadcasters.
The Professional Implications for Gen Z
The challenges Gen Z faces in the workplace when it comes to communication and interpersonal skills have broad implications for their professional development.
Equipping Gen Z for Effective Communication
For Gen Z to thrive in the workplace, it’s crucial they are equipped with the ability to communicate effectively, navigate disagreements, engage in constructive debates, and consider diverse perspectives.
Developing Crucial Skills for Workplace Success
While the digital age provides unprecedented access to information and content, it also poses significant challenges in nurturing the ability to engage in meaningful discussions and disagreements – a skill set crucial for success in the modern workplace.
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