Sun Sep 08 2019
Generation Z, those born after 1995, looks set to become the most entrepreneurial generation to date, with over half of them planning on becoming entrepreneurs. Their unparalleled tech-savvy minds allows them to learn new skills, market and sell their services to the world and strike up collaborations. Their introduction to the workforce will surely reshape how we think about work and success.
As Generation Z starts to enter the workforce, they seem poised to reshape the dynamics of working life towards a more entrepreneurial and self-starting landscape. Having watched their parents get hit hard by a recession and face job insecurity in a struggling economy, members of Gen Z seek to work for themselves, with over half of them planning on becoming entrepreneurs. Freelance work is also on the rise: nearly half of young workers in the United States freelance, and by 2027 it will be the majority of the US workforce.
This cohort also leans so heavily towards entrepreneurship over ‘traditional’ employment because its priorities are different from previous generations. While good salaries remain one of the most important factors, Gen Z greatly values things like flexibility, travel, remote work and especially connectivity, better and easier ways to establish links with people and accomplish tasks. In this regard, they prefer social connections over work-life balance and good day-to-day experiences over good benefits.
Gen Z has never known a world without the internet, without having an extraordinary wealth of human knowledge at their fingertips via a variety of screens and gadgets, earning them the nickname ‘iGen’. They’ve been doing independent research and learning things online their whole lives. 33% of Generation Z watches online lessons regularly, using the internet to acquire new skills on their own. They then use their tech savvy abilities not only to market and sell their skills and services to the world but also to strike up partnerships and collaborations with peers and forming tight-knit communities. It is a generation that finds learning and communicating through technology as natural as breathing and knows how to wield it for maximum results.
Gen Z grew up not only in the shadow of the global recession of 2008, but also in the US during an enormous student debt crisis. As a result, many Gen Z-ers have turned to looking for career paths that don’t require getting into large amounts of debt to get started, even considering that higher education is no longer necessary to achieve success. Studies suggest that over half of the Gen Z population would consider joining the workforce directly after high school studies instead of going to college. Alternatively, many wish to skip traditional higher education altogether in favour of finding alternative ways to gain skills, knowledge and experience. These alternatives are mainly online and often free (it is estimated that the e-learning market will be worth more than four times as much as the higher education market by 2025).
In order to keep up, universities and other higher education institutions have begun offering programmes in tech and entrepreneurship, and shorter courses, like STS Education’s Entrepreneurship and Leadership summer course in London, give students a taste of what it takes to become an entrepreneur and equips them with some of the most vital tools and skills any good self-starter needs to have in their repertoire.