Gen Z Career Aspirations & the Future of Work

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What do Gen Z aspire to be when they grow up? Social researcher Eliane Miles was recently asked to unpack the latest findings from the Australian Institute on Family Studies on ABC The Drum.

Gender-based career preferences

The research identified there are significant gender differences among Gen Zs aged 14 and 15 when they think about their possible futures. Boys gravitate most towards engineering (14% of those who stated an occupation), information technology (10%), construction (9%), automotive (8%), or sports (6%), while the top five occupations chosen by girls were medical professionals (13%), education professionals (11%), legal (11%), personal services (7%), and performance arts (7%). Just three occupations (health, design, and performance arts) overlapped among both genders when looking at the top ten list.

Girls need more inspiration to move towards STEM

While are naturally career preferences that appeal to each gender (with Eliane’s commentary highlighting that this is strongly linked to parental influence, as shown in our work with the Career Industry Council of Australia), there are challenges that may emerge for women in future-proofing their careers.

We know that Australia’s workforce is at the cusp of significant change. In 2030, the majority of the jobs that we will do (85%, according to Dell Technologies) are not yet invented. Yet 75% of the fastest growing careers require STEM skills – qualifications and skills in science, technology, engineering and maths. As we look across Australia’s educational landscape, just 16% of STEM graduates in our nation are female, highlighting the continuing need to lift the profile of STEM careers for female school-leavers among parents, educators, and media personalities.

Fantasies or a new work order?

There were a disproportionate number of ‘fantasy-type’ occupations listed in the AIFS study, things like ICT (‘games developer’, ‘YouTuber’, and ‘blogger’), sports (professional AFL player), and performing arts (actor, ballet dancer). And, not surprisingly, 41% of young people aged 14 and 15 didn’t have a clue as to what they want to do when they are older.

This uncertainty of the future is to be expected, and not only among Gen Z. In an era of multiple careers, lifelong learning, the gig-economy, in which digital disruption is bringing whole sectors to an end, and new jobs are emerging each year (nanotechnology, virtual reality engineers, user-experience managers, data designers etc.), what will the future of work look like?

Our average length of job tenure is now less than three years, and three in ten workers now work casually or contractually (up from one in ten three decades ago). Today’s school leaver will have multiple jobs (17) across many (5+) careers, and part of their reality on the job is that they will constantly be learning. We all will be. By 2030, workers will be spending at least 30% more time on the job learning.

As the workforce shifts (with 32% of our workforce comprised of Gen Z in a decade’s time), so will our mindsets in regards to careers and the future of work. Yes, Gen Zs will bring idealism and self-assuredness, but they will also bring a new wave of entrepreneurialism that might just be what we need to face disruption and manage change. They, and we all, will need to increase our level of critical thinking, problem solving, and digital skills as we move towards this new reality.

About Eliane Miles

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, business strategist and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. From the key demographic transformations such as population growth and the ageing workforce to social trends such as changing household structures and emerging lifestyle expectations, from generational change to the impact of technology, Eliane delivers research based presentations dealing with the big global and national trends. 

If you would like to have Eliane Miles speak at your next event, please feel free to get in touch. 

Download Eliane's full speakers pack here and view her show reel video below.

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


population map ultimo New Zealand public holiday baby boomers property development social research housing affordability workplace social life baby names leadersip future of education Births school students visual safe home mccrindle in the media FPA Financial Planning Association of Australia daily commute education future sector wide australian real estate community event travel graphs global generaion consumerism entrepreneurs of today builders Australian Families innovation school media commentary insight Macquarie University teachers spirituality JOMO Hills Shire Council unemployment Charlotte brand sunburnt country outsourcing business Population Clock property australians staying home more baby names australia report brand experience mobile water seasons the lucky country choice workers social researchers village events 1968 Netflix Black Friday in Australia ACF2017 surnames retirement mccrindle dream Mark McCrindle in the media wealth distribution impact wealth and income millionth motivate the hills TED paying to work challenge emerging generations Research Director shbc Gen X financial planning cash identity infographic wall DESTEL James Ward Caregiver professional services wealth inequality brisbane responsive office opening customer high density crime economy Christmas presents social lives Andrew Duffin cost australian communities trends report Christmas data language Christmas in Australia Black Friday Sales nativity scene teacher work mates communication Australian demographics Australian Dream ethnography GPO internships educhat storytelling nfp Channel Seven Financial Planning Week event belief Mount Annan-Currant Hill Lower Hunter Region Jura Australia households city royal baby renter of the future sydney hills McCrindle Speakers Work place faux-cilise Real Estate micro etiquette product Scouts infographics Geoff Brailey entrepreneur apartment healthy future ease of travel moderators guide cancelling plans researcher program tertiary education 2017 CBD qualitative research neutral bay life australian social research church housing trends demographics surname demographer lifestyle experience schools students Australia street census data NBRS global financial future focus group in the media easy rider cars urban Love Channel 7 networking equip high density apartments rising house prices English employmee Word Up social trends news investing organisational culture cultural diversity coffee teleworking in depth interviews culture work award Tuesday Trends manly employmer cloudy days sustainable vegemite futurist cancelling event ACF real community consumer schools annual income ashley mckenzie Generation X tea speakers google for education new office wolloomooloo alpha IT Specialists WA snapshot publication social commentary giving participants wage supply and demand showreel wealth and income distribution dare to dream travelling megatrends infographic university degree 1975 grave decision urban development plans money tuesday seasons greetings January 26th Australian Census NT year 12 politics 2016 census results rule keeper shifts housing growth earning sydney property market research on coffee trends analyst lalor park Australian Trends growth of sydney know the times priorities weekly earnings the average aussie eliane ACT Report keynote Bathburst Aussie 2016 investment speaker area Canberra national crime rates digital economy australia house price rise CPI google learn collaborative train non profit conference presentation baby name post rationalism going out trends of 2017 thrive Christmas research communicate growing population pharmacies workplace culture interactive christian average sydneysider 40 million kate middleton Melbourne Australian schools optimistic case study volunteering data volunteers forum list mortgage marriage do people still change their surname after marriage? research data February 16 jobs generational trends focus groups Australia Day 2017 household earn sun business index environment EFF millenials child care Northern Beaches Christian School innovative charity sector divorce selfie mythbusters mining boom results hello fresh 23 million wages FOMO conference vegetarian McCrindle Speaker REIV National Conference owning a home The Daily Edition small business hopes Australia Day Australian communities mccrindle tea social impact faux-cilising children leadership workshop not-for-profit Willowdale teach social commentator social change Social Trend youth speakers pack NFP event professional resilience volunteering research services Queensland divorce rate buildings careers ABS new york times TEDx research report local community System's Architect suburb world holidays poor sydneysiders cica 2015 global financial crisis house price repayments casual US who is generation z chairty faux-ciliser friendship earnings social analysis NSW 2013 stay home New Zeland online shopping debate employers clothing newspaper trend ACT TDE parents Christmas lunch christianity Res Vis 2020 the australian dream ideas intern Hunter Valley VET sector VET leader mccrinlde hobart DIY sector wide study trades staff future of work engagement donation professional development goals live the dream screenagers home owner home ownership McCrindle Keynote Speakers social enquiry curiosity learning define office trends celebration click names debt typical australian data visualisation future proofing greatness Australian Bureau of Statistics dreaming Western Australia baby ipswich relevant authenticity australian communities forum university huffington post states wealth Myth potts point world youth day research pack mover and shaker high density living Real Estate Institute of Victoria Education Future Forum school satisfaction car Christmas Stats financial dreams population weather keynote speaker data high school finance REIV Conference Merry Christmas low density Financial Planning Association SMART twentyseventeen shopper's pick Australian Population cost of living shopping mentor house prices commuters young australians geomapping optus sydney metro resource royal influence food bank conference speaker royal hornsby growth energy society trends dessert meals average Australian offenders panel ACF 2016 Assistant Store Manager Vocational education pharmacy hunger Skilling residents state Wodonga marriages anzac generation living future-proof recap What is food insecurity? gen z communications aged care puzzle the great screenage future marrickville hills shire urban living index story narcissism education research happiness education sector visualisation family litter media activity pyrmont baby name predictions World Water Day Sydney Lifestyle Study overcast collaboration Christmas season survey mccrindle research Adelaide volunteer Research Executive public speaker society happy holidays South Australia breakfast baby names report generations house 1980 balance online training follow darwin capital cities sydneycity workforce dreams survey design VIC the changing face of insights Sydney population generation Z learner medicine fears moreton bay urban taskforce SMSF census 2016 sydney event financial Tasmania spend SA Territory baby name trends socialising generation alpha presentation public transport gold coast urban living financial fears aged care christmas trees woolworths gig economy crows nest optus my business awards mother's day housing housing market education social researcher 24,000,000 aussie culture economic gig future of shopping gender deloitte social media Royals Australian Communities Trends Valentine’s Day transport Hornsby Shire Council trend tuesday royal family learning styles sunny days rain data analyst income 10 years poker master Kirsten Brewer slideshare youth unemployment changing face of sydney logan HR sports census fail "know the times" Performance Sentiment Index Duchess of Cambridge ashley fell communities micro apartments 1994 national wealth TED talk conferences purpose NBRS Architecture baby boom sydney speaker Lower Hunter government 2014 blaxland younger generations fresh social Northern Beaches report analysis commuting ageing population Australians New South Wales Gen Y students Jura Coffee millennials christmas 2017 digital entrepreneurial bondi australian Sydney cultural diveristy organisations education future report Elderslie-Harrington park Wagga Wagga ferry tattoos group public speaking affordability personal growth NEETs Aussies suburban living skills demographic group session meetings eliane miles cold #censusfail community engagement average aussie population milestone social analyst the hills shire demographic transformations families holiday local communities coffee lovers 24 million maiden names summer salary rich Generation Y donate father's day australian community trends report emerging trends demography grandparents increasing densification wellbeing Queensland: QLD career SRE marketing personalities cooking global generations bureau rental stress culturally diverse environmental scanning ACF17 Engineering Manager emerging technologies food insecurity criminal Gen Z Expert Northern Territory census results Crime Rates renting stats technology goal Kiwi cartodb easter TAS bus property price religion Deaths rent educated trends of 2016 menai business performance monarchy mythbusting market research census young people PSI suburbs men Sydney’s south west hills perth proactive land of the middle class student Wellington Australian community trends shopping centre Sydney Hills Business Chamber wedding professional speaker Maxim Accounting sydney market Retail TEDx Speaker speajer commute social issues apartments jobs of the future engage maiden work from home parenting social shifts winter blues HSC food leadership internet care support tv national private wealth toys presentations Cobbitty-Leppington year 7 Business analysis office space media release charities capital city prince george research McCridle socialites workshop not for profit research forecast domestic study sydneysider research visualisation gen alpha unaffordable Christchurch friends quote affordable tips internship relational Australian Home thought leadership daily telegraph tableau local statistics media award winner Black Friday forecasting acf15 faith 2012 christmas cancel plans budget global generation women work-life investor long weekend Do It Yourself contiki ageing staying in brands Christmas day weather employment teaching princess charlotte rise of local winter entertainment norwest not for profit waverton Mark McCrindle population growth Northern beaches Event mateship future proof demographic trends financial independence video omnibus global retail change The ABC of XYZ Tuesday Trend sentiments victoria middle class 2016 census facts Sydney keynote speaker screenage Christmas day couple professional presenters townhouses property market