Generation Z is savvy, it’s hot – it’s everything I’m not! Young job seekers should exploit their security knowledge
The most sensible well adjusted people in Cyberia are the females of Generation Z, according to a study by security company Blue Coat.
Generation Z (defined as those born after 1990) is the demographic that knows how to communicate via social media. The female half of that group, according to the study, is the most conscious of all, this being the demographic that is most likely to know all the security settings on their communications platforms, and how to use them all.
The least security conscious, meanwhile are their polar opposites, the middle and upper middle aged men of Generation X. Hang on, that’s my lot. The shame of it! By an unfair quirk of nature, the demographic I belong to seems to have erected some social firewalls of its own. The glass ceiling, the biological clock and the old boy network have worked to put the grumbling old buffoons of my social demographic (Generation Why-Oh-why) into a position where we have by far the most control over the wealth and responsibilities of most organisations.
Ironically, the very people who should have the greatest responsibility, pay the least attention to detail over security, according to the study. Twice as many 18 to 24 year old women (62%) will check the identity of a stranger before connecting with them. Whereas we 45 to 54 year old men are only 33% likely to take such precautions. Not only are we open to manipulation by social engineering, we are a leaking liability too. Whereas 52% of Gen Z females will configure their privacy settings to their safes levels, only 36% of Gen X men pay attention to this important detail.
Now that hurts. OK, we can hold our hands up to being gullible and easily exploited, but the Settings Failure (or #Fail as I believe the hipsters say) is the one that many will find particularly galling. Aren’t we supposed to be the techy ones? Is nothing sacred?
These figures exemplify the principle of the survival of the fittest, according to Ash Patel, director of business transformation at Cobweb. Some of the old constraints (such as the old boy network and the glass ceiling) are going the way of analog. Those who adapt best to the new digital environment will thrive.
“It’s no surprise at all that females are wary about security when you consider their online lives,” says Patel, “they are showered with unwanted, often aggressive attention simply because of the sheer number of lonely men on Tinder, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat.”
For the MySpace-to-Facebook generation social media was too new and fascinating to care about the long term consequences of what we do online, says Patel. So they were oblivious to the fact that anything you put online stays there forever. “Generation Z arguably has grown up with these lessons already learned – which is why apps like Snapchat exist. Security become second nature when your personal and your work lives both contain sensitive information and you know how easily it can get out,” says Patel.
Lets not get too complacent though. Even though female Generation Z leads the way in security, there is much room for improvement. They got the top mark (52%) for configuring social media settings, but that leaves 48% who don’t take any precautions.
According to Blue Coat’s study, only one in five people have ever had any training in security. So there’s a gap in the market there surely. If you’re a recent graduate struggling to get your first job, you might want to differentiate your skill set. While every other applicant’s CV is boasts about their social media skills, yours should position you as a Security Expert. That could make you the outstanding candidate for the crucial – but hellishly difficult – first appointment.
No, no, it’s alright, you don’t have to thank me for that free career advice. But if you could help me with my Facebook settings, I’d be massively grateful!
Hell oh Hell, as I believe they say in Generation Z.