October 17, 2019

The Gen Z kids are growing up, and they want to change the world

The generation set to join the workforce is focused on finding careers with purpose and giving back

Members of Gen Z, born between 1996 and 2010, are still determining their career priorities. Photo via Unsplash.

Members of Generation Z are on a mission to change the world. That’s according to a new report released by nonprofit Girls With Impact called “What’s Inside the Minds of Gen Z?”

The report surveyed 500 young people, ages 13 to 22, to learn about the mindset of the upcoming generation, particularly regarding their goals, ambitions, and concerns as they begin to enter the workforce for the first time.

Gen Z, born between 1996 and 2010 according to Pew Research Center, currently comprises 32 percent of the global population and 27 percent of the U.S. population.

While young people are concerned about job security and stability, having a purpose in their career is what drives Gen Z. Of those surveyed, nearly two-thirds said they want to make a difference to a cause they care about, and 60 percent want to create something innovative or world-changing. Almost half of those surveyed said they would like to work for an innovative and impact-driven company.

“We won’t do something unless it’s impacting the communities that we’re in,” said 16-year-old Kristen St. Louis during a Girls With Impact webinar. “I know that I know how to spot an issue and find a solution if I want to.” St. Louis is an alumnus of the Girls With Impact program and founded an organization called Mirror Me, which helps teenagers and parents find books with diverse storylines.

That attitude is also why members of Gen Z prioritize volunteering. According to a survey question about employer preferences, respondents chose “opportunities to volunteer/give back” as the second most important priority when considering a future job.

While Gen Z has an entrepreneurial spirit, there’s still a leadership gap. The survey found 45 percent see themselves running their own business or being an entrepreneur, whereas 31 percent envision themselves as the leader of an organization. Of that 31 percent, more male respondents said they will likely be in a leadership role compared to female, transgender, and gender-nonconforming respondents.

Caitlin Fairchild

Caitlin Fairchild is the Deputy Editor of The Renewal Project.