Product School

Meet the Gen-Z Product Manager: How the Emerging Workforce Will Change Product Management For the Better

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Matt Leppington

May 30, 2023 - 8 min read

Updated: April 25, 2024 - 8 min read

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology and innovation, a new generation is making its mark on the world of Product Management. Enter the Gen-Z Product Manager, armed with a unique blend of digital fluency, collaborative prowess, and a passion for driving change. As the torchbearers of the emerging workforce, Gen Z is poised to revolutionize the art of Product Management and reshape its future for the better.

While their idea of humor may be a little out of touch with the other generations, they would surely argue that they see something that we mere mortals just aren’t capable of seeing. And it’s that exact attitude that primes them to revolutionize entire industries.

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But besides their surrealist meme culture, what makes Gen-Z so special? 

Gen-Z: The Future of Product Management

There are several traits that are commonly associated with Gen-Z, i.e people born between 1997 and 2012. While the oldest of the bunch may only be 26, they are bubbling with ambition, and more than ready to pounce at the chance to become the next Product Manager. And don’t treat them lightly: Gen-Z makes up more than 60 million people in the USA alone, and they’re well underway to becoming the most influential group in the workplace.

At the risk of sounding like an astrologer, here are a few of Gen-Z’s standout traits for Product Management:

Tech Savvy

Gen-Z grew up in the digital age and are more than comfortable with using modern technology. It’s their bread and butter.

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Real life footage of a Gen-Z Product Manager at work.

This familiarity with technology could help them better understand and leverage tools and platforms that can be used to develop, launch, and manage products. It also ensures they’ll be ready to take on new tech as it arrives.

This generation literally grew up with the internet. They’ve been connected to the web since they were kids, and, while that has some downsides, it also means they take to new technology easily and are more than willing to try new things. They’ll already be knee deep in AI, whether that’s generating images or trying to get ChatGPT to psycho-analyze itself to the point of self-destruction. 

It also means they will be at the forefront of mass adoption of emerging technology, bringing state-of-the-art technologies like AI, blockchain, and quantum computing into Product Management. This is already happening with groundbreaking AI meeting recorders for user interviews such as tl;dv. What lies in the future is for Gen-Z to show us…


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Collaboration and communication are indispensable cogs in the product development machine – they are vital skills to any Product Manager. Without them, your team exists in a vacuum. It’s the Product Manager’s job to weave together a narrative behind your product, to bring different stakeholders and team members together so that the product development process goes smoothly.

Gen-Z, despite growing up with a lot more digital interaction than other generations, are surprisingly collaborative. They thrive in cross-functional teams and can successfully bring together different perspectives to turbocharge product development. 

Growing up in the age of social media, Gen-Z doesn’t need to be taught how to use the most popular digital platforms and communication tools. They’re comfortable with instant messages instead of email, they’re used to video calls, and sharing documents is second nature to them. They value constructive criticism, seeing it as an opportunity to grow and improve.

Gen-Z is also the most diverse generation yet. They have a strong inclination towards diversity and inclusion. Generally speaking, they appreciate and celebrate different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. This inclusive mindset allows them to create an environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute their unique insights, fostering a more collaborative and productive work environment.


As if they didn’t already sound like a dream come true, Gen-Zs have grown up with near limitless amounts of data and information. With unrestricted access to the internet since they were pre-teens, Gen-Zs are accustomed to making decisions based on data and analytics. This translates well into Product Management where data-driven decisions are king. 

Gen Z understands the importance of measurement and metrics in evaluating success. They prioritize setting clear goals and defining key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress and measure outcomes. By utilizing data-driven metrics, they can assess the effectiveness of their strategies and make informed adjustments when needed.

This up and coming generation places importance on ethical considerations when it comes to data too. Growing up in a world of Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, how could they not? They understand the potential impact and risks associated with data collection, storage, and utilization. They are mindful of privacy concerns and advocate for responsible data practices that prioritize user consent, transparency, and data security. They are determined not to repeat the mistakes of current Product Managers.


Gen-Z is disruptive. Many members of Gen-Z have an entrepreneurial spirit, and are passionate about creating new products and businesses. This mindset, if nourished correctly, could lead to innovative new ideas and a surge in creativity. There isn’t a more exciting aspect of Gen-Zers, in my opinion, than the potential groundbreaking ideas that could flourish under their management, from actual products to new methods of working

This fresh entrepreneurial eye allows them to look at the market from an extraordinary perspective, finding gaps for them and their Product teams to slip into. They challenge the status quo and try to find new ways of doing things that they view as outdated – and they have no problem voicing their opinions if they have the data to back it up. 

Rather than following a traditional career path, Gen-Zers are from the future. They are as unorthodox as it gets. They know that traditional career methods are not at all necessary anymore. New opportunities are available and they will happily forge their own path to achieve their entrepreneurial goals.

They walk a tightrope between fierce independence and collaborative networking. They understand they can’t do everything alone and are excited at the prospect of building meaningful connections, mentorships, or other collaborative opportunities. Learning from their peers is important to them and exchanging ideas can lead to innovation. 

Diversity and Inclusion

Briefly mentioned earlier, diversity and inclusion deserves its own spot. As the most diverse generation to date, Gen-Z is highly committed to promoting diversity, equality and inclusion. In a pair of Product Manager’s shoes, this could help develop products that appeal to a wider range of users and reflect a variety of different perspectives. 

Inclusion is not enough for Gen-Zers. They want everyone to feel respected and valued, regardless of their background. This is an essential part of forging a successful team. By giving everyone a voice, the Gen-Z Product Manager creates an environment that combines the team’s diverse experiences and perspectives and dilutes it into the recipe for success. More creative and innovative solutions will be generated from a thoroughly diverse team.

The Downsides to Gen-Z Product Managers

While Gen-Z Product Managers bring numerous strengths and unique perspectives to the table, like any other generation, they face some challenges too. Here are a few of the potential downsides to having a Gen-Z Product Manager in 2023.

Limited Experience

With the oldest of the generation being only 26, Gen-Z Product Managers aren’t exactly rolling in professional experience. In fact, due to the unemployment spike during the pandemic, Gen-Z was the hardest hit. With their comparative lack of experience, they found it more difficult to find or hold onto a job than their older and more experienced counterparts.

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Source: Visual Capitalist

Overreliance on Technology

While being hot on the latest tech can come in real handy for Product Managers in the modern age, it can be a downside if the Gen-Z candidate is overly reliant on technology. If they need to rely on Google or ChatGPT to find the USA on a map then they’re not a great choice. More realistically, Gen-Zers could struggle with face-to-face communication compared to their seasoned peers.


Gen-Z is often categorized by their desire for instant gratification. Growing up with social media apps designed to keep you hooked will do that to you, not to mention streaming services like Netflix and YouTube which allow you to binge watch whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want.

As Product Managers, they may expect an unfeasible immediate impact. This will need to be balanced with a long-term strategic mindset and a willingness to invest time and effort in achieving sustainable results.

Work-Life Balance

Gen-Z values a healthy work-life balance and prioritizes well-being. While this is a positive trend, it can clash with the potentially daunting hours expected from Product Managers. The high level of dedication required for the role may throw some Gen-Zers off balance. 

Let the Product Management Revolution Begin

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Like all human beings, Gen-Zers have  a number of benefits as well as some flaws. There is no doubt, however, that they will have a huge impact on the role of Product Management and business in general. 

With a razor sharp focus on modern technology, Gen-Z might just be the generation to revolutionize the industry, bringing new innovations and creating a more idealistic way to work in the process. 

Updated: April 25, 2024

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