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Toms River author’s work researches Generation Z

TOMS RIVER – Township resident and author Mark Beal has compiled a year’s worth of research into “Decoding Gen Z: 101 Lessons Generation Z Will Teach Corporate America, Marketers & Media,” which is aimed at understanding and recognizing the impact Generation Z has on today’s society.

Generation Z is defined as individuals who were born between 1995 and 2010. The age range is from 13 to 23 years old.

During an interview, Beal said that what stood out to him was the knowledge and skills the members of Generation Z possess in the area of technology.

“Adopting technology at an early age is a centerpiece to their lives in a good way. They are able to embrace new technology, phone and computer applications. Technology allows them to have speed to finish objectives and to perform in a more efficient manner. I had one student who said ‘Why do I even need to go to the bookstore anymore?’ ” Beal said.

Beal said he found that when it comes to media, the members of Generation Z absorb entertainment in clips from late night television shows, information from how to videos, and they stream television shows on computer more than they watch shows on network television.

Beal conducted 50 interviews with members of Generation Z from multiple states, including Maryland, Mississippi, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Alabama.

“When it comes to social media, it was indicated to me that Facebook is old news. They are focused heavily on social media sites Instagram and Snapchat,” he said. “They are serving and viewing a lot of content due to accessibility and quickness in communication.”

Beal said he found the members of Generation Z are purpose-driven, community minded and socially conscious.

“This group is eager to participate in movements and will sign up,” he said.

He also said that when it comes to the workplace, the biggest thing Generation Z will change is the traditional eight-hour work day.

“They feel like with technology they can do work 24 hours a day, seven days a week; that there is not a physical place they need to report to every day. Most of them are also looking for a mentor, not a manager,” Beal said.

Beal has been a Rutgers University professor since 2013 and primarily teaches upperclassmen in the School of Communication and Information.

“I knew it was the right time to do this research and book because the oldest Gen Z’ers were graduating in the spring of 2017. Now was the right time because the first ones are heading out into corporate America for work,” he said.

By 2020, the members of Generation Z will account for 40 percent of all consumers, according to a 2017 Accenture Report, and some estimate their current spending power to be anywhere from $40 billion to $140 billion.

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