New Study Suggests Top Career Paths of Gen Z High-Achievers

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Generation Z is an important demographic cohort that defines the upcoming, new wave of young professionals.

In general, Gen Z is classified as individuals born between 1996 and 2004 (after the millennials) and includes those who are entering high school or have recently completed their undergraduate studies.

The key characteristics of Gen Z include self-confident, self-conscious, and independent.

With such characteristics, Gen Z is starting to stand out from the previous generations, and for good reason.

In addition to its sheer size, these young adults have high expectations for both themselves and their careers

A study conducted by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) unveiled compelling data and insights regarding the career interests and motivations of this generation’s high-achievers.

This group features a large emerging workforce with great expectations in a world that is filled with new challenges.

For employers, marketers, recruiters, and other professionals, the study sheds invaluable light on this blooming demographic.

Career path interests & aspirations 

Gen Z is the most informed generation of humanity. These young people are entering the job sector equipped with both sets of soft and hard skills.

However, research shows that they also have a significant interest in activism and social justice.

It’s clear that this generation is keen on sociopolitical issues.

Well, it can be seen in numerous online campaigns such as #ClimateChange, #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, and even recently, the 2019 #HongKongProtests.

Generally, they expect to progress quickly in their careers. However, these individuals also understand the need for hard work.

From the NSHSS research, over 70 percent of them are interested in going to graduate school from college.

Additionally, over 60 percent are interested in international travel, while around 73 percent are keen on internships. 

Gen Z also has high expectations from their employers.

It’s worth noting that although this is a highly independent generation, their parents and guardians still play a crucial role in determining their career paths.

33 percent said that their parents were very involved in their career choices, while 94 percent of them said their parents were not fully involved.

Based on the survey, the top five expected career paths for Gen Z are:

  1. Medicine and Health-related fields
  2. Sciences
  3. Biology and biotechnology
  4. Business and corporate
  5. Arts

They are least interested in pursuing a career path in the following fields:

  • Accounting and tax-related jobs
  • Finance and FinTech
  • Agriculture
  • Aviation
  • Insurance

International experiences 

New Study Suggests Top Career Paths of Gen Z High-Achievers

According to the study’s findings, Gen Z is the emerging new drivers of the travel industry.

They are more interested in immersive and experiential travel. As a result, international experience plays a crucial role in how they prepare for careers.

Research reports from the NSHSS indicate that almost 62 percent of Gen Z scholars are keen on gaining international experience.

This is not only for their personal interests but also for their educational journey.

Well, they consider this experience important because it has a direct relationship with the type of employers they are interested in working.

The research data indicates that about 80 percent of them are interested in working abroad.

Additionally, 60 and 54 percent of them are willing to go for exchange and volunteer programs abroad. 

STEM-Related Careers

Most high achieving students in Gen Z are interested in STEM careers. Well, the driving force behind this high interest includes high salaries and a wide range of jobs.

Over the past decade, the number of STEM-related jobs has increased almost 3 times compared to other fields.

Furthermore, those in STEM careers have a chance of earning between 12 to 30 percent more than their counterparts.

In some instances, some job spaces are still not filled due to the lack of skilled personnel.

Popular STEM fields are Medicine and Health, Engineering, and Computer Science. Out of the three, there are high numbers of males in Engineering and Computer Science.

On the other hand, females dominate Medicine and Health.

Top employers of choice

New Study Suggests Top Career Paths of Gen Z High-Achievers

Gen Z scholars are more interested in Entertainment, Sports, and Healthcare Sector. There has been a declining interest in Software, Internet, as well as SaaS organizations.

Out of the interviewed respondents, almost 39 percent of them are interested in working in the Healthcare sector.

This information matches the data obtained for Top Employers of Choice.

As of 2018, the top employers included St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Google, Amazon, Apple Inc., Walt Disney, BuzzFeed, NASA, Microsoft, and the National Football League, among others.

Note that there are also newcomers such as Chick-fil-A and SpaceX. 

Important aspects of employers

This is a generation that expects more from themselves as well as their employers. Remember that they are also interested in social and political injustices.

Gen Z is thoughtful and committed to raising awareness. Many of them are, therefore, looking for inclusive and intentional workplaces.

According to NSHSS, it’s evident that they are interested in organizations which also have social responsibilities.

Besides that, diverse corporates, as well as those that are keen on the environment, are highly likely to attract them.

Well, social media, international travel, and multi-culture have been the crucial driving forces for this.

People are now able to connect and interact digitally from different ends of the world. Besides that, most of them are raised in multicultural homes.

In terms of work experience, some of the things that Gen Z look for in potential employers include:

  • International experience
  • Chances of promotion
  • Opportunities for professional development
  • Work travel opportunities within the US

Based on benefits and compensation, this is what Gen Z is looking for in potential employers:

  • Performance bonuses
  • Base salary
  • Benefits such as vacation and work schedule
  • Basic health benefits inclusive of dental and vision

The main channels of communication with potential employers include:

Final thoughts

Globalization, economic uncertainty, social media, and diversity are some of the powerful tools that have shaped Gen Z.

They are empowered, conscious, and knowledgeable. Besides that, they are also interested in traveling abroad and are keen on raising awareness about sociopolitical injustices. 

Gen Z is mainly interested in STEM careers.

Most of them also expect more from their employers by considering factors such as environmental awareness, diversity, and promotion opportunities, among others.

To learn more about the Gen Z career interest study or more insights about this emerging demographic, visit the official site of NSHSS.

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