Gen Z and the Future of Work | Building Confidence and Upskilling

Izzy Hall

Young people are lacking confidence in themselves and careers services when it comes to their future, Voxburner research has revealed. With only 6% of Gen Z claiming to be very confident in their career options and opportunities, it’s clear that this is a generation of overwhelmed, uncertain, and apprehensive about their futures.

Recently, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, Bauer Media, and KISS partnered with Voxburner to understand what support young people need in order to build (and excel in) their future, producing the report Building Confidence From Grassroots – Young People Take Control. To some extent, the data is unsettling: 12% of young people say they’re not at all confident in the support they get from careers services and 30% are only slightly confident.

Building Confidence From Grassroots – Young People Take Control is launching at Voxburner’s YMS London event (more on this later!) and explores themes including career development, mental health, and the impact of COVID-19 in in-depth. Driven by qualitative and quantitative data, this research is vital when it comes to preparing today’s young people for tomorrow.

In this blog post, we’ll be focusing on some of the key insights from the report and sharing actionable takeaways.

Group of Gen Z women

Upskilling the next generation of leaders

Gen Z is the generation of the future: they’re our next colleagues, employers, leaders, activists, and changemakers. And with the world of work changing at an alarming rate, young people are feeling overwhelmed by the pure amount of choice, drowning in ideas and suggestions. Careers that didn’t even exist five years ago are some of the highest earning, words like ‘influencer’ are taking on a whole different meaning and artificial intelligence is changing the world as we know it.

As the employers and educational systems of today, it’s vital for us to take the time to understand young people and to work to produce innovative solutions, all with the view of helping them launch their careers. Whether it’s helping them to overcome the barriers they face or understanding the route to success, it’s our responsibility to help them be the best version of themselves.

What’s important to Gen Z?

Voxburner’s research with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, KISS, and Bauer Media revealed that 1 in 4 young people cite supporting their families as the main motivation behind wanting a career, whilst 21% said saving for a future, and 19% said buying a house. Interestingly, these options were considered to be more important to this young generation that more materialistic things, such as entertainment and shopping. This is an empathetic cohort of young adults who truly care about the bigger picture and want to support their loved ones.

Two Gen Zers on their phones

And, whilst only 6% of young people are very confident in their career options and opportunities, it’s not all doom and gloom: two-thirds of young people are slightly or somewhat confident. This suggests that Gen Z are aware that there are options out there for them, they just don’t align with their visions or are facing compromise or difficulty in landing them.

What jobs do young people want?

When looking at the sectors that young people would like to work in, research revealed a domination from the cultural industries (including creative arts and design, gaming, film and media, and sports and fitness), with 77% selecting this. Additionally, one in four would consider charity/voluntary work and one in four would consider health and social care. It may come as no surprise, but young people are creative, caring, and want to make a positive impact in the world.

And how do young people feel about the future of work when it comes to their finances? Well, despite the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and a lack of confidence when it comes to their future career paths, our research revealed that almost one in two young people feel they would be financially secure in the future, compared to one in three who don’t think they will be.

How can we better support and upskill young people for the future of work? 

So what steps can we, as places of education, brands, and support services, take to ensure that young people’s technical skills, soft skills, and confidence are improved? Based on qualitative and quantitative data gathered, we shared a number of actions in the report, including: better career advice, more training opportunities, increased accessibility to employers, and more mental health support in workplaces. To quote one young person who features in the report: “I feel like there’s more training out there, I’m happy with [the programs] I’ve done. I need something more intense to prepare me and more organisations to come forward and give young people like myself opportunities…”.

Gen Z men sat working. Music.

There’s also a desire amongst young people for more support when it comes to preparing for job interviews, as well as CV writing – things that are completely essential but are overwhelmingly under-taught. The report deep dives into these ideas further.

Key takeaways

So what will all of the above actions give young people? Ultimately, more confidence. Young people want to be mentored by individuals and companies who truly, genuinely champion them, people who will work with them to develop their core and interpersonal skills.

Giving Gen Zers confidence in their abilities and setting them up with the appropriate tools will ensure that they perform to the best of their ability and have a more clear direction about what’s available to them and how to get there.

Like what you’ve read? The full report will be launched at Voxburner’s YMS London event in a session with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, KISS, and Voxburner. Tickets to the event are available now.


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