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“Generation Z is Courageous and Innovative”

Jo Dietrich, 23, and Yaël Meier, 19, founded ‘Zeam’. The Swiss agency brings young talents from the Z generation together with companies in a good atmosphere and with self-confidence

You pair Gen Z talents together with various companies. How did this idea originate?

Actually, it’s very simple: My co-founder Yaël and I have both already done a lot. Yaël, for example, played her first leading role in a film when she was 14, then wrote her own column in one of the biggest newspapers in Switzerland, hosted a podcast and worked as an editor. I was the first Swiss student to study Digital Business Management, while also initiating my own projects and scouting and analyzing start-ups for the two largest private Swiss media groups. Now I’m doing my Master in International Management in Lisbon and so I have my finger on the pulse of tomorrow’s business leaders. Companies have been asking us for our opinions for some time and at one point we asked ourselves: “Why are we doing this for free?”. About 20 percent of the population belongs to Generation Z – the oldest of them will be 25 this year, but when it comes to project teams, they are practically not represented and if yes not taken for full. An incredible amount of potential is being lost! The youngsters in our team are already so successful, that everyone must take them seriously. When they work on a project, companies recognize the potential of Generation Z – as customers and as employees.

How do you recruit people?

In some cases, we already know them or have heard a lot about them. Others are suggested to us. You cannot apply directly to us; we have an “invite-only” rule. The only criteria are: You must be young and have already achieved a lot. At a meeting, we check how the interest from their side looks and if we think they fit to Zeam. Diversity and interdisciplinarity in our network is particularly important to us.

What are the special needs of companies? In which fields or even which industries is Gen Z particularly in demand?

We see the interest in Zeam from all sides. Companies from a wide range of sectors – from medicine to construction come to us. A major field is, for example, recruiting, or help with communication and product development. Companies do not know how to address, reach and inspire Generation Z.

How diverse is your recruiting?

We have set ourselves the goal of recruiting as many women as men for Zeam, in order to ensure a gender balance in the team. So far, women and men seem to be equally enthusiastic about our vision. We are confident that a 50/50 Zeam team will work. However, we do not have a fixed quota. If fewer men or women want to take the opportunity and this creates an imbalance, we will continue to accept promising talent – regardless of gender.

There are a lot of rumours about Gen Z – what does this generation really think?

I see Gen Z as an incredibly courageous and innovative generation. They grew up with social media and an ever-changing world, and they know how to take advantage of the opportunities it offers. They do this in an entrepreneurial way – but also in an activist way, as the climate debate, that is currently shifting our world shows us very clearly. We must not forget: After all, it was a 17-year-old who mobilized thousands of students and made their voices heard in the world politics!

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