Gen Z Wants More Diverse Representation In Research

On a recent panel, we spoke to a Gen Z audience about ways to make research a truly diverse and safe space for all participants.

One example of a company stepping up and filling a void regarding diversity and inclusion is Vice. It launched a binary and trans stock photo library since one didn’t exist.

The diversity in younger generations fuels the need for more inclusive definitions. Gen Z accelerates the demand for better representation—and experiences—in research. The marketplace then adjusts to these demands, creating higher awareness.

Here are five ways companies can improve research to make it inclusive and welcoming for all.

Handling the preference not to answer. Researchers tend to put questions like annual salary at the end of questionnaires because they are deemed sensitive, leading to a drop-off in responses and completion.

But what’s the definition of a sensitive question? It’s different for everyone. For some, checking a box can be an action that’s fraught with anxiety. Checking a gender box can be more sensitive than income. We need to give people a safe space to answer questions.



Do we make questions optional vs. mandatory? Do we include an area for participants to write-in or type answers, so people can express what they are comfortable, with since it may not be an option in a provided drop-down box.

Fixed to fluidon sexuality. The way Gen Z identifies depends on the situation. The hierarchy will shift, so ethnicity will take precedence over sexual preference in one instance, but LGBTQ+ identity will be higher during Pride Month, for example. Companies must keep this in mind when building personas for customers.

Redefine brand sentiment. Brands must walk the walk. Customers will challenge companies on performative marketing efforts. Companies need to do more than place a Pride flag on company letterhead for one month a year. The commitment must run deeper. What is your company doing regarding same-sex couple benefits for employees?

Universal aspirations. Not everyone defines happiness and success in the same way. A gay man not married and child-free by choice, for example, may not need or want to see ads of a gay couple with children. Not everyone under the same ethnicity or sexual identity is painted with the same brush stroke.

Representation means authenticity. Tell stories that connect with consumer segments. They can tell the difference between a genuine connection and phoning it in because it’s the top news subject of the week.

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