The years fly by and before you know it, you’ll be sitting opposite a client or a potential employee who never saw the nineties.
With the new generation slowly gearing up to enter the business environment, they’ll be bringing a vastly different set of perspectives, attitudes and principles, and those principles will guide their decision making and drive business direction for many years to come. Understanding these principles is quickly becoming vital to long-term industry players, especially in sectors which have remained largely unchanged for a long period of time.
According to Mhairi MacLeod, founder and principle broker of Astute Ability Finance, Gen Z’s defining feature is that it is far less interested in pure price terms than its predecessors. Instead, Gen Z is more concerned about corporate social responsibility – it cares about sustainability, society and preserving the planet, and will certainly think twice about taking a cheap deal if the company behind it still dumps its plastic into the ocean.
MacLeod says the financial services industry needs to address these shifting views, especially in light of Australia’s recent Royal Commission, and to embrace corporate social responsibility in order to ensure its future.
“We already know that Gen Z works very virtually, but the next generation is also looking for more corporate social responsibility when it comes to the people they deal with – both on a corporate level, and as part of their everyday transactions,” MacLeod told NZ Adviser.
“They’re choosing who they want to deal with for reasons other than simply price. This means they’re open to not necessarily being as price sensitive, but instead thinking about who is doing what for the planet, and for the community.”
“Everyone right now finds themselves needing to be more responsible,” she explained. “The results of the Royal Commission mean we’re first and foremost looking for good customer outcomes, and we have to start looking at corporate social responsibility on all levels. Brokers are truly aware of it, and society is also aware of it – in that sense it’s nothing really new, but it’s never been highlighted or showcased quite like this before.”
MacLeod says the key to attracting talent and securing customers will increasingly depend on your role within the community. Things like the Living Wage Accreditation and the Rainbow Tick are just some of the programmes businesses are increasingly getting involved in, and making a tangible difference in employee treatment, inclusivity and community wellbeing will become more valuable across the board.
“We’re now having to demonstrate as an industry that we are doing the right thing, not only in our businesses but throughout the community. By embracing the importance of the link between corporate social responsibility and Gen Z, we can continue our growth. We can attract and retain top talent. And we can continue to make a difference in the lives of our customers.”