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Here’s What Gen Z Wants To Do as They Enter the Workforce

A trio of women working on computers at an office
Credit: Gorodenkoff / stock.adobe.com

Generation Z is already a big part of the U.S. workforce and it’s only going to get bigger. That could represent a tidal shift in both hiring and the overall makeup of the business world.

A survey by Morning Consult, in conjunction with Samsung, finds that significant changes could be looming for the workforce over the next decade with over half of the people surveyed expressing interest in becoming an entrepreneur and starting their own business. That autonomy, assisted by advances in artificial intelligence, could spur a new era of startup strength.

“Gen Z’s drive to be entrepreneurs, to create their own business and path, is a powerful motivation that those in STEM industries need to acknowledge and cultivate when thinking about our own workforce of the future,” said Ann Woo, head of corporate citizenship for Samsung North America. “We’ve seen that creative drive manifested in the STEM projects submitted each year to our annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition – and to help further encourage that maker spirit, we’ve added a Rising Entrepreneurship Award this year to the roster of prizes presented to winning schools.”

For those who seek a more traditional employment path, tech fields are of the greatest interest. The largest percentage of respondents (33%) said they were interested in the Entertainment and Media industries. Some 30% are interested in tech jobs and 30% are leaning toward design. (Respondents were able to give more than one answer.)

A separate study from the Center for Generational Kinetics also found tech as the chief area of focus. Nearly half of the respondents to that survey ranked technology careers in the top three industries they believe will have the best career opportunities. Others include healthcare (42%), real estate (29%), banking and finance (27%) and education (26%).

When it comes to AI, Gen Z’s feelings are about on par with the rest of the workforce. The Morning Consult survey, which spoke with over 1,000 U.S. students aged 16 to 25, found 40% believed the technology would lead to job disruption in many traditional industries, while 21% felt AI will create more job opportunities in their generation.

Generation Z at present makes up about 13% of the workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s a number that will continue to grow as younger members of this generation graduate and start their adult life. While they might not have been around AI all that time, they’re the first generation to grow up with a smartphone in their hand and to not know a world without tech giants such as Google and in many cases, Meta.

That fluency could work to their advantage as AI becomes more a day-to-day part of the working world. Last May, a poll by Pew Research of 10,701 US adults found that 18- to 29-year-olds were more likely to have heard of ChatGPT than other age groups. And among those who answered in the positive and had a job, 18% said they had already used the technology at work. Compare that to just 8% of workers between 50 and 64.

“To attract Gen Z, employers must be ready to adopt a speed of evolution that matches the external environment,” says Deloitte. “That means developing robust training and leadership programs, with a real and tangible focus on diversity.”

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Chris Morris

Chris Morris is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience, more than half of which were spent with some of the Internet’s biggest sites, including CNNMoney.com, where he was Director of Content Development, and Yahoo! Finance, where he was managing editor. Today, he writes for dozens of national outlets including Digital Trends, Fortune, and CNBC.com.

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