Generation Z is made up of 61 million people in the U.S. born between 1996 and 2004. Since most of this generation is in high school or college, they soon will be entering the workforce and altering the landscape for employers all over the world. The climate that Generation Z has grown up in has shaped the way they see their futures, so we wanted to ask the question “what type of careers does Gen Z want?”
This year, NSHSS partnered with Hanover Research to produce a study on the preferences and attitudes of the highest achieving high school students, college students, and college graduates specific to education, career and employment aspirations, and civic involvement. This is the 11th year that NSHSS has compiled the career interest survey and the third year working with Hanover Research. This survey has revealed numerous insights into the careers Generation Z wants and the types of companies that they hope to serve.
Generation Z shows a growing interest in social justice and activism, and in turn, tends to be motivated by purpose while also having a clear view of how their career should play into their lives. This comes with high expectations in striking an optimal work/life balance while living out a purposeful career path that has a positive impact.
These individuals are known to be a more thoughtful, intentional generation. As such, they hold high expectations for employers to display corporate social responsibility and create a workplace where all employees are treated equally and fairly. While you may expect that a generation motivated by social justice and activism would have an interest in politics, the majority of respondents (63%) say they are not interested in running for office, compared with 61% in 2017.
As a generation that has constantly been surrounded by digital innovation and technology, there is a distinct shift toward STEM-related fields of study. STEM-related jobs have grown at 3 times the rate of non-STEM jobs in the past decade and with 2.4 million STEM jobs unfilled in 2018, Gen Z-ers are set to close the gap between the jobs available and talent needed in STEM-related opportunities. Almost ¾ of recent college graduates reported majoring in a STEM-related field which means Generation Z is aware of the shift towards technology focused work and making the choice to pursue meaningful and fulfilling careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Medical and health related fields dominate interest for Gen Z-ers with women more likely than men to want to work in medicine or health. However, men do still dominate engineering and computer science despite efforts to engage more women in these fields. Given the serious interest in medicine, it’s no surprise that St. Jude Children’s Hospital was selected as the top employer of choice for 2018 and that 40% of the top 10 companies selected as top employers fall into medicine or health-related fields.
Growing up in the age of mobile devices has changed the way this group of people communicates. According to the career interest survey, Generation Z has “been shaped in powerful ways by connectivity, economic uncertainty, and globalization” which in some ways empowers them with useful skills for employers & in other ways creates unique challenges.
With Generation Z representing a more civic-minded and politically-interested group that’s passionate about the future, there’s no doubting that these young adults will have a huge impact on the workforce at large. Overall, the results of this year’s NSHSS Career Interest Survey are an exciting look at what the future holds for this bright generation of minds. To get a full breakdown of the information and a thorough look at the types of careers that Generation Z wants, see the full report here.