- Generation Z members, one of the demographics hit worst by 2020's global economic downturn, are mostly optimistic about their odds of finding work and confident in their skills, according to research published this month by consulting firm EY.
- The company surveyed some 6,000 current and former Gen Z participants in programs run by JA Worldwide, a non-profit youth organization, finding that 82% said they felt hopeful about finding meaningful work and addressing global challenges by 2030. More than three-quarters of respondents said they felt confident using technology, having skills valued by employers and presenting their skills and abilities.
- While 54% said they felt their education prepared them to succeed in 2030, respondents also suggested a number of improvements to educational systems, ranging from real-life work and professional mentorship opportunities to research and community service opportunities. Overall, Gen Z members were less confident that school and teaching methods were preparing them well for life after school.
The results contrast the findings of previous research on the attitudes of Gen Z members in the U.S. and U.K. by Liberty Communications and Opinium, which found many younger workers felt their current jobs were not leading them to their desired careers. A majority of U.S. respondents surveyed by the two firms cited challenges when applying to jobs during the pandemic.
Although EY found survey participants felt they had the skills needed to be successful at work, stakeholders have voiced concerns in recent months about recent graduate preparedness. A recent Association of American Colleges and Universities survey of executives and hiring managers showed respondents were concerned that new graduates did not possess needed skills, continuing a long standing trend. Now that the pandemic has accelerated automation and the need for advanced skill sets, recent graduates could be even further behind in the coming years, job training leaders previously told HR Dive.
That said, respondents to the EY survey conveyed "a strong confidence in their ability to use technology," the firm said. A majority, 72%, said the forces of automation, globalization and other new work norms would have a "positive" impact on their experiences in the workforce.
Employers may seek to expand training investments in order to prepare workers for the changes brought on by 2020. Organizations such as Dollar General have recently announced new partnerships and initiatives to expand training opportunities to frontline and supply chain workers, signaling a growing trend. But HR teams will also need to ensure workers can take advantage of such opportunities without risking burnout, one executive previously told HR Dive.