If you’re a parent, you naturally want to help your children find a great career when they grow up. As they go through high school and start to consider what comes next, you will be one of their guides through the process of choosing a career path.
So, what does it mean to find a “great career?” Ideally, it should be a job they enjoy and allows them to be successful. Beyond that, what else does a great career entail to this new generation entering the workforce?
Gen Z – typically defined as people born between 1997 and 2012 – have some different perspectives on work and education compared to previous generations. They are digital natives, having grown up through major events like the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic, and face growing threats and challenges such as the student debt crisis and climate change. Their upbringing has resulted in some unique aspirations.
What are some of the big factors today’s young adults are looking for in their professional life and how do those priorities affect their education and career options?
One of the most important things Gen Z workers care about is being able to make a positive difference.
In fact, the opportunity to make an impact is a more significant factor in choosing a career or a job than salary or wages. One study shows that 74% of Gen Z believes jobs should have a greater meaning than just a paycheck. Another survey indicates 71% of Gen Z would take a pay cut for a chance to do more meaningful work.
The younger generation wants to participate in work that benefits other people and society. They want to have a tangible difference in making the world a better place.
Although some factors like meaningful work have superseded Gen Z’s salary ambitions, money is still a piece of the career puzzle.
While some older generations have more narrowly focused on a big paycheck, Gen Z values overall financial stability.
More than six in 10 Gen Z or Millennial Americans report being stressed about finances. Having grown up watching their parents wrestle with the economic downturn of 2008 as well as feeling the upheaval that came with the 2020 pandemic, Gen Z’s main financial desire is to have solid footing. This also includes job security and a lack of crippling student debt.
Gen Z is an ambitious generation that tends to have lofty personal goals. They want a career path where they can develop professionally and have opportunities to advance.
Career growth is cited by 64% of Gen Z as a top priority. On top of that, 49% have goals to own their own business, compared to just 32% across all working generations.
Gen Z values skill development along with having a clear path to better job titles and status. Working at a company that invests in the personal and professional growth of its staff is a major desire.
The newest generation of the workforce does not know of a time without high-speed internet, social media and smartphones. Technology has made many things easier and more accessible, and Gen Z expects technology to be a major part of their career – 91% of the generation says technological sophistication impacts their interest in a job.
Gen Z also seeks to work with emerging technology such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality or augmented reality in a career. With the big push for STEM in education, using high-tech tools and awesome machinery is part of their mindset.
What types of careers can satisfy these desires and priorities? You might be surprised to learn that construction and skilled crafts can check all these boxes. Click here to learn more about careers in construction for your children.
CareerStarter helps you explore careers in construction and maintenance right on your phone! Explore the various construction career pathways, take a career quiz, create your resume and connect to employers and educational opportunities near you!