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Generation Z study: unease about work and education

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They’re probably one of the most technologically adept generations ever but Zers are still concerned about their future work lives and whether education is giving them the right grounding to thrive in a future career.

To wit; 92% are concerned about starting work and only half (56%) rank their education as good or excellent at preparing them for their future.

However, most are excited about the prospect of working in a high-tech field and most see a future working with technology, 73% want to work with cutting edge technology and 83% say that the type of technology offered by a company would be a deciding factor in choosing between similar job opportunities. 

There’s also some optimism around the rise of the machines with most expecting humans and machines will work together; 49% believe this will happen as an integrated team while another 42% expect machines to continue to be a tool for humans.

Gen Z is also displaying a high level of ‘wokeness’; they are looking for more than just cutting-edge technology and a good salary, 38% wanted to work for a socially or environmentally responsible organisation and 62% wanted to learn new skills and have new experiences through their work, more than half (58%) also want work that has meaning and purpose beyond getting paid. 

The results came from global study conducted by Dimensional Research which was fielded in 17 countries and 12 languages including 723 individuals from Australia and New Zealand aged between 16 and 23.

Angela Fox, MD Commercial and Public Sector, Dell EMC says, “These findings confirm that the youth of Australia and New Zealand are confident with technology and keen to share their skills with older co-workers. As the digital landscape evolves, this is a trait that will put us in a favourable position to continue as a technology leader.” 

And despite their tech infused lives Gen Z yearns for more human interaction in the workplace saying in-person communication (46%) is the preferred method for communicating with coworkers and texting and messaging apps ranked last. Only 11% would like to talk to a colleague on the phone, compared to 21% globally. 

Further, 71% expect to learn on the job from coworkers or other people – not online, 83% say that social media can be a valuable tool in the workplace and more than half (52%) prefer to go to a workplace versus working from home and 56% prefer to work as part of team rather than independently.

Michael McQueen, Trend Forecaster said; “Technology has become a staple at work and in our home lives, and this study shows that Gen Z are well equipped to bring the skills they’ve developed naturally throughout their lifetimes into the workplace. The challenge in Australia and New Zealand will be empowering this generation to see these skills as transferable and recognise how they can be applied to a professional environment.”

The survey also revealed that 99% have used technology as part of their formal education; 41% want to use technology that can help others or the environment while 35% are interested in a career in cyber security and 32% aspire to do technology research and development. Half are confident they have the tech skills employers want but not necessarily the non-tech skills

For more information on Gen Z: The future has arrived, visit Read the blog on Perspectives.

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