Career aspirations of Generation Z

Oct 25, 2018 | Attraction & marketing

The Guardian’s Ami Stewart shares their latest research on the career aspirations of Generation Z. 

The Guardian and VCCP media commissioned YouthSight, the UK’s leading youth research agency, to lift the lid on Generation Z to better understand how young people think and feel about the world around them. 

Gen Z – those aged 24 and under – are entering the workplace for the first time.
They’re about to have a major effect on society. Yet, they’re the most mysterious generation yet. 

They’re the first generation to have never known a world without the internet or social media. They believe there’s no question Google can’t answer. They’re constantly talking to and interacting with their friends via social media in closed conversations that their parents, teachers and colleagues cannot hear.

The traditional generation

Our research has uncovered that Generation Z are the most traditional generation in decades.

Generation Z seems to have very similar life ambitions to their parents. Their top life goal is to get a dream job (34%), then buy a house (25%) and travel (24%), with 55% of Gen Z regularly putting money into savings. They are acting now for the future. 

Career aspirations

We also asked about the career aspirations of Generation Z. Just over a third of young people would consider not going to university because of student debt, however it is still the primary choice for students when they leave school. 

Apprenticeships have recently benefited from a surge in positivity with 80% of students believing that an apprenticeship could land them a long-term job over a traditional degree. In contrast to this, only 45% of students thought that their parents would be happy for them to do an apprenticeship. This means that while it appears that marketing to students has had an impact, there seems to be a long way to go with changing the perceptions of parents.

Of the employed graduates that we surveyed, 36% thought university did not prepare them for their current job and 45% didn’t think that they needed to go to university to do their current role. 

Authenticity appeals

With this generation boycotting brands (33% have done so) it is important for companies to be authentic and have a clear message, which also translates to your employer brand. 

There is now the opportunity to humanise your brand – social media gives you a chance to speak up and share the voices that old brands couldn’t. 

The now reaches one in two 16 to 24 year olds in the UK. Next year will see us tackle topics such as women in technology, how to land a graduate job, mental health and wellbeing as well equality on campus. To receive a full copy of the research email

The Guardian is the ISE’s media partner 

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