Generation Z (those born from 1995 to 2009) are coming of age in a world that is vastly different to generations before. The rate of change is increasing, and the world is living in a time of VUCA – volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. For older generations, this is another unique experience in the tapestry of their life, but for the emerging generations, it is the world they are being shaped in.

Gaining insight into the context shaping today’s students is important because tomorrow they will be global leaders. To educate and lead Generation Z students well, it is important to first understand their worldview, hopes, fears and values before overlaying the experience of education. A holistic view of today’s students with an understanding of the external trends that are shaping their world equips leaders with greater clarity and confidence for their future decisions.

Students want to live a life of independence and impact

Today’s students are a globally connected, socially-minded, technologically integrated generation, who prefer visual communication and have an openness to change and mobility.
In a changing global landscape, it is essential to understand the key drivers of this emerging generation.

The great Australian dream is still alive and well among Australia’s young people, with 72% of Gen Z students hoping to own their own home one day. This is followed by having full financial freedom and independence (67%) and excelling in their career (67%). Travel is still an aspiration among young Australians, with two in three students (66%) hoping to travel and see the world.

A sustainably-minded generation

Half of Generation Z students (51%) have a desire to live a sustainable lifestyle and more than two in five (45%) aspire to work in an organisation that aligns with their values.

The desire to live a life of impact is important with three in ten wanting to have an impact on their local community (30%) or to have an impact globally (27%).

Students fear a lack of finances and fulfilment

The greatest fears for students today centre on not achieving their hopes and dreams for the future. In alignment with their hopes to own a home and have full financial freedom, the greatest fear for today’s students is not having enough money to live comfortably (65%).

While more than two in five (45%) aspire to work in an organisation that aligns with their values, three in five (61%) fear being stuck in a job that they don’t enjoy or find fulfilment in. More than half (54%) fear not reaching their full potential while 41% fear not making a difference with their life.

This generation want to live a life of financial freedom and independence, but they are also deeply purpose-driven. They value authenticity and living a life where their values and actions align. They fear not reaching their full potential and not making a difference with their life.

When it comes to facilitating a learning environment for this generation, understanding the key drivers enables leaders to focus on curating meaningful content and tapping into real-world examples that create an engaging and impacting learning environment.

Future of Education report download