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 Our Future STEM WorkForce.  What Motivates Them?

According to a Huffington Post article on January 21, 2015,  the United States ranks 52nd in science and mathematics education, 27th  in number of graduates in STEM fields, and of those, two-thirds receiving PhDs are not citizens.  According to the article, “Today’s science education is broken.” OGTV will have more to say about this article in future feature stories.

The Future of Our Workforce: How Motivated are Young People?

Here's a statistic that will probably catch you off guard: by 2020, Generation Z will make up 10% of the workforce (that's 16 million working Americans). That means that the generation that grew up with high speed Internet, smart phones and social media is already starting to find their place in the workforce.

While I'm sure this fact has caused you to marvel at the nature of time and how unwittingly prone we are to its underestimation, there's something else interesting to discuss. The current workforce, young and old, grossly misunderstands generation Z—a fact revealed by the video above.

Almost every answer given by the high school students and recent graduates seems counter-intuitive. For instance, Gen Z's preferred method of communication isn't texting or social networking. Actually, it isn't even electronic: they [greatly] prefer face-to-face communication over all other forms. Interestingly the least preferred methods of communication were something of a hodgepodge social networking, phone calls and video conferencing were the least preferred methods of communication.

Another interesting discovery was that young people want to come in to an office or a co-working space to avoid distractions and focus on what matters. Again, older generations expected the exact opposite: a preference toward working at home and a predilection for a lax work ethic.

Possibly the most interesting is the discussion of what the youngest generation is motivated by. Older employees were unanimous in expressing that they're sure kids today could only be motivated by money, but surveying Gen Z revealed a stark contrast. Opportunities for advancement and meaningful work scored above compensation—that's different from Generation X and Generation Y, who consider money the most important motivating factor.

The video and corresponding research is illuminating because it illuminates disparity after disparity. While these are strong indications that Gen Z is radically misunderstood, the good news is that their true nature suggests a strong work ethic, capacity to collaborate and take the workforce into the future. While this research is by no means conclusive, something that needs to be investigated further is definitely identified here. thanks Orun Bhuyian for his contribution to this disucssion. 

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