Global survey by INTO shows young people remain upbeat despite the pandemic as they explore new options and international education tops their list of priorities
The Covid-19 pandemic has led more than half of Gen Z to consider a different career path, a global survey by INTO University Partnerships reveals.
The research conducted by the leading international education organisation shows that since the onset of the pandemic 55 per cent of under 25s have actively considered new career options which never previously featured on their list. Also, half of Gen Z now want a career that offers better work-life balance.
More than 1200 Gen Z students from 93 countries took part in the INTO survey, conducted in August 2021. This included China, India, Nigeria, Kenya, Japan, Australia and Brazil among others.
Gen Z make up 30 per cent of the global population. CEO of INTO University Partnerships Olivia Streatfeild said the survey shows a strong trend among young people wanting to start their own business as a preferred career option. A total of 45 per cent of students said they hope to one day become entrepreneurs and launch their own businesses. The majority also consider an international degree as the gateway to realising their career dreams in the new normal.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has radically altered the attitudes and career aspirations of Gen Z. This change will come to define the world of higher education and work. It is absolutely critical that governments, universities and the industry are primed for this shift among young people to support a whole generation that is eager to learn and work differently,” said Streatfeild.
The survey also shows that the catastrophic impact of Covid-19 on lives and economies has failed to dent the hopes and aspirations of Gen Z as they are more optimistic than ever about their future. An overwhelming 91 per cent of Gen Z students have a positive outlook on their future after a year and a half disrupted by the pandemic – and they believe an international degree offers them the best chance to realise their dreams.
“Young people are faced with the toughest challenge in a generation to forging their future as the world strives to emerge from the shadows of the pandemic. It is therefore heartening to see that Gen Z are unfazed by the catastrophe and determined to achieve their dreams. Excellent international education opportunities and innovative programmes that boost students’ career prospects will be pivotal in this recovery,” said Streatfeild.
The survey shows studying abroad to be inextricably linked to career goals in the minds of Gen Z students. Acquiring knowledge and skills needed to succeed in life came out as the top reason to pursue an international degree, with 90 per cent of students surveyed agreeing that this motivated them to study abroad. Many students – 84 per cent – also agree that training for a specific career is an important reason to go overseas for higher education.
“The current generation of students are more outcome-oriented than their predecessors. They demand concrete returns on their investment in an international degree. It is on those of us in the international education sector to facilitate their success and work to ensure they get what they deserve from their studies abroad,” said Streatfeild.
Highlights from the survey
- 55 per cent of Gen Z students worldwide report that their career aspirations have changed in light of the pandemic; 29 per cent indicate their aspirations have changed a little, and 26 per cent indicate they have changed a lot.
- 91 per cent of Gen Z students have a positive outlook on the future despite the COVID-19 setback; 43 per cent report they feel optimistic and excited about their future, and 48 per cent indicate they feel hopeful but sometimes anxious.
- Indian Gen Z students are the most optimistic in the wake of Covid-19 – 94 per cent indicate they have a positive outlook on about their future.
- 88 per cent of Gen Z students have the goal of making it to the top of their profession one day.
- 90 per cent of Gen Z students believe an international degree will help them get the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in life.
- 84 per cent of Gen Z students seek an international degree to train for a specific career.
- 83 per cent of Gen Z students agree that overseas study gives people a competitive advantage towards a career.
- 76 per cent of Gen Z students want to work overseas one day.