As the so-called 'Generation Z' of 16 to 24 year olds enter the workforce, they will cause chaos by using their own smartphones and tablets at work and snubbing email in favour of instant messaging and social networks - or so the theory goes.
As a result, CIOs are putting in place bring your own device policies to make sure their IT department isn't overwhelmed by these multitaskers. But it could be a waste of time: tomorrow’s workforce are a more conservative bunch than widely believed, favouring email over social networks and work PCs over their iPhones, according to research.
The study, which questioned 1,000 16-24 year olds from across the UK and 200 IT decision makers, found that 'Gen Z' are far less enthusiastic about using personal devices in the workplace than CIOs.
Just under half of the young people questioned believed that personal devices make them more productive at work, compared to almost 70 per cent of IT decision makers. The majority use a PC or laptop at work, with fewer than 10 per cent using a tablet.
And despite growing up in an age of social networks, just 17 per cent of Gen Z said they wanted to use social media to talk to colleagues at work, favouring either face to face chats or email instead.
Barry Hoffman, HR director at Computacenter, the IT supplier which carried out the research, said: “The idea of this always connected, socially mobile and technologically demanding generation entering the workplace is something of a myth.”
Outside of work social networking remains young people's preferred way of talking to their friends, with Hoffman adding that the way Gen Z behave outside of work is distinct from inside the office: ”There is not this blurring of between work and personal life that people think”.
He added that CIOs should not assume that they need to support a bring your own device (BYOD) policy and allow the open use of social media if they want to attract generation Z into their workforce.
”There is a disconnect between what the corporate world are saying this generation wants and what they say they want themselves.”
In reality the employees demanding to be able to use their own devices at work are more likely to be the CIOs and senior management, than young people.
”It’s more driven by those senior people who get very excited by some of the gadgets in their personal life and this is how they enter the corporate world,” Hoffman said.
Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.