What Would Gen Z Change About Events?

The results of a recent PCMA survey of the next generation of attendees reveal what they like about business events and how they would like to interact with them going forward.

Author: Michelle Russell       

Gretta Kissell

Gretta Kissell

If Gen Zers — aged 25 and under — could change something about the business event(s) they’ve been to in the past, what would it be? If you said better entertainment or better speakers, you’re partially right. But the vast majority — 69 percent — of 560 survey participants to a recent PCMA survey, conducted by JUV Consulting and sponsored by the PCMA Foundation, would like to see more engaging activities. And that’s followed by more inclusive events, chosen by 39 percent of survey participants.

When asked what she interprets “more inclusive events” to mean, JUV Managing Partner Gretta Kissell said, “One thing that I really love about Gen Z is that we’re pushing for all aspects of that word to be included. Inclusion means everything from people with different sexualities, religions, and race, to different experiences growing up. A key part of that, that maybe isn’t always considered within inclusion at these types of events, is making sure that that also means young people who, within the business world, are going to have a very different perspective if they are a couple of years — versus 20 years — into a career.”

The PCMA survey was sent via text and email in late fall of 2020 to “The Receipt,” JUV’s network of 4,500 individuals from around the globe (29 percent of the network is non-U.S. based). These are Gen Z members “who not only help with our research, but also are part of our larger community that we engage with to provide them with different opportunities,” Kissell said. Some of JUV’s network members are in high school, “with a decent amount in college and some that are on the older end of Gen Z,” she added, “who have graduated and have a couple of years in the workforce.” And some, like Kissell herself, are on gap year.

Read our previous story about the survey by clicking the headline: “Digital or In-Person? Gen Z’s Surprising Pick for Future Events.” Below are more highlights from those results.

The question of whether “some type of business event” meant online, hybrid, or in-person was deliberately left open to interpretation, Kissell said. “Because with COVID and with the pandemic, it’s not 100-percent safe to assume what’s online and what’s not, and also allowing, then, for people to think more about “the concept of a business event — regardless of whether it’s virtual or in-person — and whether that is something they’re interested in.”

Respondent comments

“I’ve become more interested, as due to the online format, attending events has become more accessible.”

“I’ve had a lot more free time on my hands and want to learn how to use it best.”

“I am more interested because I’ve spent time on professional development this summer as I further my college career.”

“I am hesitant to go to business event due to concerns over COVID. Also, normally at business events there is a more relaxed atmosphere in which food and drinks are served, which would not work well during a pandemic.”

“I was really interested to find that LinkedIn and Instagram were the top platforms for respondents wanting to interact with business events,” Kissell said. “But I think this is a really great demonstration of our versatility as a generation. We know how to navigate standard avenues of business, and are comfortable doing so, but we also expect and encourage business connections to come to platforms that are more casual and most natural to us as well. This is also a great indicator of our generation continuing to push innovation on how we connect with each other in not just personal but also professional ways.”

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