INFORMATIVE: How to spot the differences between Centennials (Gen Z) and Millennials (Gen Y)

While we still are adjusting to the massive influx of Millennials or Generation Y (young people born in the eighties and nineties) into the labour market, we are beginning to hear about a new, and as yet unknown, younger generation that is beginning to come up, the Centennials or Generation Z, (people born during 1994-2010).

Baby Boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964

Gen X:  Born between 1965 and 1980

Gen Y or Millennials: Born between 1981 and 1994

Gen Z:  Born between 1995 and 2015.

Gen Alpha: Born between 2015 – Now

Although Millennials and Centennials are both generations emerging right in the midst of the digital age, there are substantial differences between the two. Millennials seek freedom to develop their work and personal projects; they are innovative, question authority and are experts at using technological tools and social networks. In contrast, Centennials are characterized as being self-educated, loyal, creative, and favour financial security. They are also deeply concerned about their employment options and thus show a much more realistic attitude than the preceding generation on their career conditions. According to data extracted from the articles “ Gen Z: The New Grads Entering the Workforce in 2016 ” and “ 39 of the most interesting facts about generation Z “, three out of four Centennials firmly believe they must work harder than previous generations tofulfil their career aspirations.
While HR professionals are still adapting specific practices to attract, retain and motivate talent among Millennials , they must now also take into consideration this new generation due to the significant differences, despite the similarities.
Differences between Milennials and Centennials
Recent articles and studies (*) describe theshared characteristics as well as the differences between these two new generations that must be taken into account. Centennials (people under 25, currently representing more than 50% of the world population) unlike Millennials were born and raised in the shadow of the financial crisis. However, the article “ Getting to know Gen Z ” states that the biggest difference above all between the two generations is marked by the labour market fluctuations occurring in recent years.
As with most Millennials, entrepreneurship becoming stronger. More than 62% of Generation would also like to be their own boss and/or lau their own start-up; currently 3% are already runn their own business. However, even though th aspirations are latent, both generations welco support, guidance and communication from t managers to guide them in developing their caree Therefore it will be important to maintain perman feedback with them as well as roll out plans interpersonal learning by assigning a mentor (some with experience and expertise) to support these n professionals in their development.
Another important aspect to bear in mind betw these two generations is that technology and so networks are pervasive in their lives, even though t differ in how each generation handles technology. Centennials technology is not a consumer item bu tool that facilitates access to communicati exchange, education and entertainment (a m pragmatic attitude). Furthermore Centennials are t digital natives; they are considered as the generat best prepared for understanding and using fut innovations.
Born in a highly technological environment, both generations opt forflexibilityon the job that enables them to work from anywhere and at any time. Additionally they value constant, immediate and informal communication with their managers. The report,” Jovenes Z, El ultimo salto generacional ” by Deusto Business School and Atrevia discusses the new Generation Z anddeclares, “In consequence, companies must offer a message of flexibility and diversity by changing the hierarchy through participation.”
Implementing new recruitment methods to attract talent among these new professionals, having succession plans in place for detecting future leaders of organizations, and establishing training and development plans tailored to these new profiles—all this will become part of the new challenges that HR professionals must address.


The New York Times published a couple of articles distinguishing the emerging generation as those who are born after Millennials and from the mid-to-late-1990s and onward. While this generation is still young, there are already a small series of identifiers that divorce them from Millennials.

  1. Most obviously, they are the first generation to never know life without the Internet and social media. As Generation Z arguably begins in the mid-1990s — the earliest estimation is approximately around 1995 — and the blow-up of mobile devices and social media began in the early 2000s, this generation has never experienced a world where technology wasn’t ever-present and all-encompassing, research was done using a card catalog and papers were handwritten, or people waited for a parent to hang up the phone before they could use it to call a friend. We hardly recall those times now they are so far behind us, but never having experienced them certainly molds a unique perspective.
  2. At present, their sense of style is a lot more simplistic than that of Millennials. If Millennials are the generation of layering, Centennials are the generation of basics. Check out Brandy Melville — or literally any Centennial Instagram account — for evidence of this hypothesis. Millennials embrace the classic wardrobes of generations past, especially our affinity for timeless and antiquated fashion and sophistication (see: Anthropologie and Banana Republic). And while this isn’t entirely untrue for Centennials, there is a strong inclination toward the simpler styles of the early 1990s and the grunge period.
    Certainly, not all Millennials are well-dressed, but even the grungiest among us feel some pressure to conform to societal notions of event-appropriate fashion. For Centennials, basics get the job done. They’re accustomed to a much less formal upbringing, what with the prevalence of Millennial upstart companies and the like, that they value practicality above formality. It is not uncommon to see a Centennial sport a dress with sneakers, and in five-to-ten years this will probably work for everyone.
  3. They are a lot less judgmental. This is generally speaking, of course, but culturally, Centennials have not had years to internally debate morally liberalistic versus authoritarian views, such as gay marriage, the existence of transsexuals, and female bodily autonomy, so there is a lot less debate on these issues amongst this generation. These realities are simply accepted, just as Millennials accepted racial equality with greater ease than generations before.
  4. Furthermore, they are slightly more serious than Millennials. This is, after all, the generation who only know a post-9/11 America, who see school shootings in the media on the regular, and who probably have a much harder time cutting class than we did, especially with the relatively recent security measures that exist to protect them. It seems this is manifesting in the form of pragmatism. They still like to have fun, but they’re less dreamy than their Millennial predecessors.
  5. As we can all attest, they have very short attention spans. Another result of the Internet is that Generation Z gains and loses focus with great ease. They are accustomed from birth to sensory overload, so naturally, the amount of time they require to filter through information is substantially decreased. This is both beneficial and detrimental, but it certainly contrasts the status quo. Millennials are the generation of overwhelming possibilities, whereas Centennials possess a keen and sharp ability to decide .
    Are these the tell-tale marks of a Centennial? Perhaps, and honestly, it sounds like a breath of fresh air to this Millennial. I say, bring ‘em on!

Related posts

Leave a Comment