April 20, 2024

Can AI help Gen Z workers make up lost ground?

This can help them stand out. For example, at VEM Medical, a US-based medical device company, “The ability of young employees to use AI technology to automate tedious jobs and optimize workflows has greatly increased our productivity,” says Derrick Hathaway , sales director.

Additionally, Fan says, “Gen Z’s familiarity with AI helps these younger employees adapt to these changes and understand the implications of AI on their roles, making them flexible and dynamic employees.” Fan adds how these skills are invaluable in industries including technology, finance, healthcare, marketing and manufacturing, where companies are rapidly integrating AI and machine learning.

Young people can also be key in shaping ethical AI practices, a growing concern across all industries, as technology accelerates. “Gen Z, known for their values-based approach to work, can play a critical role in achieving better user experiences and more inclusive technology,” says Fan.

Additionally, one of the challenges Gen Z has faced entering the workforce as remote employees is disconnection from older colleagues. But, Forrest says, their knowledge of AI could help them build those bridges—and even mentor in reverse. Forrest has seen this across TFD’s 20 multi-generational employees. “We’re bringing people with a lot of experience together and learning from each other.”

However, it is important to recognize that fluency in one skill will not necessarily remove some of the professional barriers that Gen Z faces.

While technical know-how will always provide professional value, Parry argues that workers may still have a way to go before AI skills are truly needed in general. “It’s clear to us that every organization is focused on AI, but that’s not the reality yet. Technology is moving fast but maybe not as fast as we think,” she says.

And employers are looking for well-rounded employees and technical skills are only one part of the answer. “Other skills, such as communication, teamwork, problem solving and adaptability, are still highly valued,” says Fan. It also highlights how employees can be trained in AI, so that young workers are not the only employees with these skills.

Ultimately, AI fluency may not be entirely immune to the obstacles Gen Z has experienced entering the workforce during the pandemic. However, it seems to be helping – giving young workers a big advantage, and setting them up well for a career in an ever-changing workplace.

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