By Roberto Mancone
CEO and Executive Board Member
We live in the 21st Century – precisely in 2022 – and yet many times we see candidates that have profiles resembling a CV built back in the year 2000 (it may seem like yesterday but it has already been more than 20 years).
Fintech, like any other digital industry, needs to focus on Gen Z (that is people born between 1997 and 2012), from students in elementary school all the way to college. They are the current and future workforce, and they are our clients, influencers, and judges of our product and services… but they are also the ones determining the success or the failure of a venture initiated today or even a few years ago, either as users or as employees of a said new venture or of an incumbent.
However, they are not the only ones. This chart should remind us constantly who are the clients and who the professionals will have to navigate through a constant super-fast evolution.
- The Silent Generation: Born 1928-1945 (76-93 years old)
- Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964 (57-75 years old)
- Generation X: Born 1965-1980 (41-56 years old)
- Millennials: Born 1981-1996 (25-40 years old)
- Generation Z: Born 1997-2012 (9-24 years old)
- Generation Alpha: Born 2010-2025 (0-11 years old)
In the first part of this article, I would like to focus on Gen Z and then further speak to Millennials and Generation X which are doomed to fail if they do not reinvent themselves in the next 10-20 years (imagine how the world was 10-20 years ago without Smart Phones, Streaming, Video Chat, Digital Banking, Metaverse, NFT and then imagine what it would be like 10-20 years from today).
It might be hard to believe, but Generation Alpha and Generation Z include students in elementary school all the way up through college, which is almost 35% of the total population.
Gen Z is a world apart from the one that precedes it. Such differences have implications for the way they learn, develop, and function in the classroom.
1. Gen Z students are true digital natives
We normally use the term “digital natives” when speaking about Millennials, but Gen Z is really the first generation that doesn’t know life without technology. To this population, Google, Instagram, and smartphones are not just convenient tools — they’re necessary parts of life. Generation Z expects to be connected to the world and able to access information anytime. This translates to education as well.
Gen Z students want immediate feedback on assignments just as they do on social media. They also crave autonomy in their education. These are students who want to make decisions about what they learn, how they learn, and how they demonstrate their knowledge.
Is it the School or the Teachers that need to adapt?
We should not draw students away from technology. On the contrary, we should use it to provide information and engage with them. For example:
- Use educational software — There are a lot of tech tools that can both make the job of Teachers easier and keep Gen Z students engaged. They need to go from full-service learning management systems, to software to create everything from interactive presentations to educational games.
- Begin a dialogue — Long lectures aren’t the best technique for Gen Z students. They’re used to multitasking and skimming for the most valuable information. A variety of teaching methods help to keep the class moving.
- Use visuals to gain advantage — Like lectures, large blocks of text can result in students losing engagement. Using charts, graphics and multimedia can make the material more memorable.
- Hold online office hours — For students who are used to immediately reaching people online, sending an instant message is likely going to be more effective.
- Provide rationale — Gen Z students are used to constantly updated newsfeeds and have come to expect only the most relevant information. For that reason, explain upfront why a lesson is important and how it’s applicable in the real world.
2. Gen Z students are diverse
Generation Z is the most diverse generation yet. Nearly half are of racial or ethnic minorities, and they’re pursuing college at rates higher than previous generations. The majority of this generation also believes that diversity is good for society and are more willing to side with those who speak out against inequality.
3. How can teachers adapt?
Interacting with individuals who are different helps people anticipate alternative viewpoints and recognize that reaching a consensus will take effort. That’s clearly relevant to teachers. But educators need to take extra measures to support a diverse student population. Here are four tips from Imagine Learning:
- Explore your own culture — By understanding the social interests, goals and thought-patterns that influence your culture, you can better identify personal biases and recognize the value of cultural background.
- Make an effort to understand other cultures — Go beyond the surface and aim to understand how the diversity of your students affects how they see themselves and the world around them.
- Think carefully about language — Language and dialect are key parts of culture. By examining how words are used, you can learn to communicate with students in a more meaningful way.
- Use diverse books and materials — Incorporating multicultural literature can help students identify more with the material and foster cross-cultural understanding.
4. What do we need for Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X in the Education System in Bahrain and in any other Digitally Driven Economy that wants to compete on HUMAN CAPITAL?
- Accelerate digital transition of Bahrain shaping the next generation of students, workers and leaders to be digitally savvy and ready for the future challenges.
- Invest in digital education to upskill Bahrain’s tech talent pool, fully capitalizing on the opportunities of advanced tech infrastructure investments (e.g. AWS, Batelco).
- Foster national economic growth capturing the business opportunities related to fintech and digital, attracting investments in the region from the world (e.g. Beyon Money)
- Evolve education to a lifelong experience where business, entrepreneurship, and technologies converge to develop humans ready to lead the digital age Develop a new generation of digital-first talents from primary to postgraduates, continuing with professional update to thrive in cloud-first world and digital revolution
- Help companies to embrace digital-first, to realize the full value potential of digital transformation building on the entrepreneurial mindset to transform and innovate
5. Who do we need to train and prepare to evolve into a continuous learning model?
Supporting the leaders in taking key decisions and to identify risks and opportunities of the digital age CxO, Managing directors, Board members, government leaders
Learning to steer and drive the evolution of companies leveraging digital transformation as Managers, Directors, Senior Vice-Presidents, Vice Presidents, governmental officers.
Employees & Professionals
Mastering specific areas/domains of technologies to accelerate success in digital transformation. College students, newly graduated students, workforce to be upskilled, companies building their human capital
Preparing students with all the hard and soft knowledge to be the best talent pool for success. Students of any age from 18 months to post graduate program students
At Beyon Money we are working on a project with International Schools and Bahrain Stakeholders aiming at developing an Educational Ecosystem that takes into consideration the following factors:
- The creation of new jobs that goes hand in hand with the suppression of many others.
- Vocational schools have to address the need to upskill exiting workforces as well as preparing the newly graduated to be ready and well-equipped to operate proficiently in a digital age, leveraging cloud and state-of-the-art technologies.
Looking ahead, the next generation of humans need to be given the right intellectual instruments to thrive in the digital world. The goal is to create a next-gen of people equipped with the right soft and hard skills to be successful in the knowledge age.
- Mathematics and Statistics
- Robotics and Information Science
- Artificial Intelligence and Data Mining
- Economics, Sales and Marketing
- Psychology, behavioral science and communication
- Philosophy, literature and writing
- Physics and Engineering
- Chemistry and Biology
To be ready for complex scenarios:
- From economy of abundance to economy of scarcity
- Dematerialization of production and supply chain
- Development of alternative world (metaverse, token, and NFT)
- Geopolitical shift from West to East
It seems challenging, sure, but it is also extremely exciting. I like to believe that I have fully embraced the constant need to upskill, learn, educate myself, and educate and mentor others, in a virtual cycle that enriches me as a giver and taker of knowledge, culture, and technology at the same time, while pushing me to be constantly updated for the business I am responsible for, for the people I am responsible for and for the generation that will come and inevitably replace me.
It is inspiring, it is motivational, and it creates value for the company, for yourself, and for the human capital that sustains the development of a healthy digital society.