Many members of Gen Z are still in school or just beginning an entry-level job and are still in the early stages of their careers. A 2022 survey by the National Society of High School Scholars found that many intended to work in medicine, healthcare, engineering, and business, but roughly 30% of undergrads change their major within the first three years of school, so it’s too early to say if those will be popular fields later on.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2020 and 2030, there will be plenty of demand for various jobs in technology, trades, and customer service. But information from the NSHSS suggests that Gen Z is less focused on a specific job title and more on the social impact of their job and employer. Check out the most popular traits of jobs that Gen Z hopes to have.
1. Jobs with Fair and Just Treatment
Inequity and unfair treatment have recently been at the forefront of politics and social media. Quite a few Gen Zers have been directly affected by racism, sexism, sexual orientation discrimination, bullying, and human rights abuses. With that in mind, it’s expected that Gen Z places a high priority on working for employers who treat their employees fairly, regardless of demographics like race or gender.
2. Jobs with Diverse Workforces
It’s not surprising that Gen Z wants their career to value diversity and inclusion. According to the NSHSS, 22% of respondents reported their career paths have been directly impacted by racism and racial inequality, 20% reported gender inequality, and 13% reported discrimination based on their sexual orientation.
Gen Z doesn’t just want an employer who claims they value diversity: they want the employer to prove it. Many members of Gen Z reported that they would consider roles in a company based on diverse workers, women and people of color as leaders and higher-ups, and (again) fair treatment.
3. Jobs with Work-Life Balance
Nobody wants to enter the workforce and never leave, and the younger generations have made that especially clear. 61% of incoming Gen Z workers prioritize finding a career and employer who cares about work-life balance, and 32% prioritize careers that provide benefits off the job, like paid time off.
Flex work is also becoming a higher priority. Between 37 and 40% of Gen Z want their jobs to have a flexible schedule. Remote work is much farther down the priority list: 23% of respondents would opt for remote work over in-person work. This may seem surprising since Gen Z is often considered the first “always online” generation, but the NSHSS believes that online schooling may have quelled the popularity of remote work among the younger generation.
4. Jobs with Positive Social Influence
With so much pain and negativity in the world, many members of Gen Z want to use their role in the workplace to change things for the better. Of the students polled by the NSHSS, 35% want to influence the direction of human rights, 34% want to contribute to social justice, and 31% are motivated by environmental or energy efforts. 34% report interest in the healthcare, science, and tech industries, hoping to contribute to positive development in the field.
Gen Z is thinking about more than just their individual impact, however. They want their employers to have a positive social influence, too. When ranking the most important traits of a potential employer, “corporate social responsibility” came third on the list, just behind fair treatment of employees and work-life balance.
5. Jobs with Supportive Employers
Since Gen Z will put energy into supporting their employer, they want careers where their employer will support them too. On-the-job career support is one of the most important: 63% of respondents want an employer who will provide on-the-job training, and 35% hope for a mentorship program. Online training is far less popular, being preferred by only 13% of respondents.
Many Gen Zers hope their employers will support efforts to develop their careers, whether those efforts are on or off the clock. With 78% of respondents expecting to take on severe student loan debt, a significant amount hope their employer will help pay for higher education. 44% of respondents want to work for an employer to help pay off their student loans, while 38% want an employer to reimburse or cover the cost of a graduate program.
Off-the-job support is also popular among Gen Z. 47% hope to have a job that covers health benefits, and 32% are looking for time-off benefits.
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