Half of Gen Z says no Thanks to a 4-Year University Degree. Here’s why!

Currently, Millennials are emerging as power players, managers and leaders of today’s economy. In the same time, Generation Z will take a major presence in the professional and online education market. (For reference, Gen Z is the newest generation. They are currently between 4-24 years old. Millennials are between 25 and 37 years old).

While Gen Z has similar preferences and traits as young Millennials, there are dissimilarities as well. One of the major differences compared to Millennials is that Gen Z tends to not be willing to invest in traditional or higher education any more. But what drives them to do so? Read more to learn why!

1. Internet & Technology

A recent study conducted by Dell Technologies showed that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. It is no surprise that a growing number of Gen Z asks themselves how a four-year university degree will sustain them for a 100+ year career. At a time when information is readily available 24/7 through technology and the internet, the relevance of higher education is increasingly debated. Additionally, Gen Z is aware that they are required to continuously learn in order to keep up with today’s changes driven by technology & innovation.

2. Education Alternatives 

75 percent of Gen Z finds that there are better options to the traditional 4-year degree. Whether it is Entrepreneurship, remote online courses or one-year college programs with no upfront costs, there are countless alternatives for them to explore. 

Corporate Education

A good example is the company SAP who recently announced to bring internal university education to their employees. The program is currently rolled out in Germany & Bangalore. Goal of the initiative is to hire Gen Z employees (without them going to college). According to SAP, what really matters are an employees’ skills and not necessarily a college or university degree. 

Growing Gig Economy

70 percent of younger generations who are currently still in high school prefer a career as an entrepreneur than being a traditional employee upon graduation. Today, the so called “gig economy” is estimated to be 34 percent and expected to further grow in the coming years. This growing trend has changed the way Gen Z views employment and education. 

Social Media

The influencer marketing industry is predicted to be worth $10 billion by 2020. Besides, 66% of influencers used sponsored social media posts to generated revenue in 2018. Given those stats, it is no surprise, that the “Power of Social Media” is used by many younger generations to make a full time or side income as a digital influencer. Whether it is YouTube, Instagram, TikTok or Pinterest, more and more social platforms evolve to an influencer driven community. 

3. Changing parent priorities

Many argue that today the only reason a degree remains relevant is due to social recognition and pressure. For both, Baby Boomers and Gen X having kids without proper education constituted failure. This is why they instilled the belief and need to attend college into their Millennial children. However, for Millennials priorities are different. Only 40 percent of Gen Y believe that a college degree is necessarily required to get a good job and higher earnings. This faith in college will come through in their parenting. 

Final Words

Gen Z make up the latest wave of young professionals entering the workforce and will make up 40% of the working and consumer population by 2020. While there are certain similarities with their millennial predecessors, there are distinct differences as well. To better understand those, it is recommended to explore the key elements and trends that drive & influence their behaviour.

How do you feel about Gen Z? Have you recently employed this generation into your organization? What is your onboarding & ongoing training program to respond to this generation’s needs?

Lindsett Consulting helps companies lead, engage and sell to the emerging generations. If you’d like help to solve generational challenges inside your organization, please feel free to contact us.

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