Generation Z are risk takers – but business leaders mustn’t ignore them

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Advanced report shows newest generation of professionals would risk innovative technology even if it was less secure

Nearly two-thirds (60 per cent) of Generation Z, those born after the mid-1990s, would take the risk of investing in innovative technology even if it was less secure than existing solutions – double that of professionals of all ages (31 per cent). This is according to the new Advanced Trends Report 2018/19, which also reveals that 48 per cent of the newest generation feel disruptive technologies would put their company at greater risk of a cyber-attack.

The annual survey is the third to be commissioned by British software and services company Advanced, with over 1,000 professionals in UK organisations having their say on how British businesses are faring in the digital era. These latest findings are a sign that the line is blurring between the way young people adopt and perceive technology in their personal lives and the workplace.

Over half (58 per cent) of Generation Z believe technology should be a business spending priority for the next 12 months, with 46 per cent wanting to see Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their daily working lives – followed by Business Intelligence (BI) (42 per cent), Predictive Analytics (38 per cent), Virtual Reality (VR) (33 per cent) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) (29 per cent)1.

Despite the perceived security risks surrounding disruptive technologies, Generation Z also feel the IT systems being used today are not secure. This is supported by legacy technology migration being high on the survey respondents’ priority list.  One fifth say their organisation isn’t currently prepared for a cyber-attack – double the figure for respondents of all ages.

“It’s worrying to see that young people aren’t confident that the organisations they work for are secure now – let alone for the future,” says Gordon Wilson, CEO at Advanced. “Generation Z want to see more innovative technologies in their daily working lives and claim they are willing to take the risk even if they were less secure, as the positives clearly outweigh the negatives.

“It’s ironic because the reality is that new technologies like the Cloud, AI and RPA are in fact more secure than legacy technology systems. They are developed with security in mind right from the start – and built to perform in the connected world. Moreover, they are a key productivity enabler and an essential ally for driving business growth and performance.”

The report also reveals that over a third of Generation Z (35 per cent) say concerns about making the wrong technology choices would hold their organisation back from modernising key business processes or systems (compared to 22 per cent of all respondents). Meanwhile, 30 per cent think most people in their organisation aren’t ready to adopt new technology to change the way they work. The reluctance across the workforce to embrace modern technologies, and understand that they are typically more secure, therefore needs to be addressed.

As a new generation of employees begin to shape the future of the workplace, leaders need to look to these people – who are more IT-savvy and open to change – to influence their business strategy in the digital era. Equally, technology providers need to offer businesses reassurance and support on how they can embrace revolutionary technology safely.

Gordon adds:

“The younger generation should be at the heart of British businesses as they strive to succeed in the digital era. After all, they will go on to lead and shape the future of our businesses, so we should help them to help us. We need to create workplaces that will enable and successfully use the skills of a radically more diverse workforce than the one we see today. This means not pigeonholing new starters into often uninspiring roles – rather creating roles based on their skills, knowledge and talents.”

At a time when the IT and security industry is facing a major skills shortage, Advanced’s report also highlights how leaders need to be better at attracting new talent, as well as retaining existing. It suggests that skills development should be higher up on the agenda, because the challenges of recruiting the levels of staff needed to underpin an innovative and secure business must not be understated in this environment.

Other key findings about Generation Z:

  • 36 per cent believe a robot would be better at decision making than their boss if it had access to the right business intelligence (compared to 34 per cent)
  • 52 per cent think having a strong digital skill-set is the most important attribute for a business leader in the digital era (compared to 39 per cent)
  • 24 per cent say they don’t have access to accurate up-to-date (real-time) information to make informed decisions (compared to 16 per cent)
  • 36 per cent think compliance (e.g. the General Data Protection Regulation) would influence their business priorities (compared to 44 per cent)
  • 44 per cent are seeing AI in their daily working lives, while 40 per cent are seeing chatbots (compared to 26 per cent and 18 per cent across all ages respectively)

 

 

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