Two-thirds of Gen Z and millennial information workers say autonomy in choosing the apps, services and devices they will use for work is a top priority, according to a Forrester report. The firm surveyed 10,000 information workers across generational categories.
By contrast, just 53% of Gen X workers and 45% of baby boomers rate autonomy with the same level of importance.
Gen X and millennial employees comprised 80% of the workforce last year, according to the survey. But come 2030, the same group will comprise 74% of workers as the older generations begin to retire.
Productivity tools were a top software investment priority going into 2021, a response to the need to equip workers with cloud-based tools for remote work. But among the fastest-growing categories of workers by generation, having a menu of work tools to choose from is a more important priority than access to specific productivity bundles.
Gen Z and millennial workers are also more open to trying out bleeding edge technology for daily work. The younger generations are more likely to bring virtual assistants, design, illustration and drawing tools and AR/VR applications into their workflow, Forrester data shows.
But businesses relying too much on generational data "risk introducing ageism into the workplace," according to the report. While age-diverse companies tend to see lower levels of employee attrition, the tech industry continues to grapple with ageism. Tech workers see their chances of a promotion plummet after the age of 36, according to data from Visier Insights Database.
"While demographic data is helpful for anticipating some future technology trends, its usefulness is, at best, limited and, at worst, dangerous," the Forrester report states. "In a high-stakes business environment in which companies must increasingly compete for talent with technology, a strategy that overemphasizes the importance of age is a potential disaster."
By 2030, millennials and Gen Z will make up the majority of the workforce as more baby boomers and Gen X retire, according to the report. Talent market dynamics push leaders to become more intentional about the tools they deploy in the workplace, according to Mike Gaumond, SVP and GM, connected workforce at Insight.
"There's research that shows that a large number of people consider the technology that's available for a job when they make a decision to stay in their current job, and they also consider it when they're looking at accepting a job," said Gaumond in a January interview.