How Gen Z Is Revolutionizing Our College Approach
Those in Generation Z are the youngest alive, but their advanced wisdom is considered to be ahead of their years. Today, the average teenager and young adult is all business, putting the bulk of their focus on their future.
Gen Zers are privy to a high-level of socioeconomic consciousness, such as the fact that nearly half of the American workforce is living on less than an $18,000 annual income. As their generation approaches adulthood, they’re searching for a better future than the economical climate they’re observing — and 82% consider college the most realistic way to get there.
To do so, the Gen Z population is completely reshaping how we interact with higher education. At large, students are prioritizing scholarship before work, not even showing interest in summer gigs and after-school jobs. Even though 12.6% of their generation is unemployed, Gen Z will go on to make up nearly a quarter of the American workforce by just 2028. More importantly, this is their preference. But why?
Rising student debt has made Gen Z reluctant toward higher education. This isn’t to say our youngest generation isn’t attending college, because this isn’t the case. Instead, students are taking more strategic approaches in the ways they choose which college to attend and the financial packages they receive. Most just want the assurance they’ll get their money’s – and degree’s – worth before enrolling into a specific university.
This is why we’re seeing more K-12 students grow interest in their education. I bet you never thought you’d see a statistic telling you that students are obsessed with learning. Spending almost one hour more per week than within the years of 2005-2009, the average
Gen Z student spends 6.48 hours per week on homework. The number of students engaging in volunteer work has also grown. In fact, it has doubled since 1985-1989, as the average student dedicates 2.66 hours per week to volunteer work.
Furthermore, nearly half of Generation Z high school students have already earned transferable college credits. This is just another example of how today’s youngest generation is ahead of the game. To put it numerically, 74.8% of 2015’s high school students had earned college credit before completing their K-12 career. In 1985, this number was significantly less — only 58.7% of students achieved this. However, the availability for dual-credit courses was not at the level it is today.
Upon entering college, the generation’s ambition still seems to grow strong. Today, fewer college students than ever are working while in school. Why so? To Gen Zers, education trumps all. However, some do work — they’re just working less.
From 2010-2016, college students worked an average of 6.66 hours per week. During 1985-1989, this number was dramatically higher, and the average college student worked 11.26 hours per week. To put these numbers in another form, 57% of college students held a job from 2010-2016. In 1985-1989, 74% of college students held employment.
Now let’s relate this to national employment.
In December 2019, 145,000 new jobs were created in the U.S. The following month, unemployment fell to 3.5%, which was down from the 3.9% unemployment rate the following year. For those aged 20+, the unemployment rate is even lower. Women older than 20-years-old fall into an unemployment rate of 3.2%, men: 3.1%. Interestingly enough, only 0.7% of Americans have been without work for more than six months.
Still, unemployment numbers don’t describe the entire dynamic of America’s future job market that Gen Z is preparing themselves for. Nearly 9 in 10 of Gen Z college graduates took their desired field’s job availability into account before selecting a major. Today, the fastest-growing American employers are within the service industry, including: retail, healthcare, and hospitality.
However, it’s not even in the interest of most Gen Z students to enter the fields they’re cushioning themselves to fall back on. 92% of Gen Z students expect to work for less than six employers throughout their lifetime. In further ambition, 60% plan to start a business someday, and 38% plan to pursue an advanced degree.
For Gen Z, it’s all about employment. In fact, Gen Z is projected to become history’s most entrepreneurial and educated generation yet. Check out the infographic below for the complete analysis explaining how Gen Z is reshaping the college years.
Source: Online College Plan
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Author: Brian Wallace
Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, and hosts the Next Action Podcast. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019.