However, while this Gen Z cohort looks toward the future through a largely optimistic and empowered lens, the survey findings revealed some critical ways in which Gen Z’s proactiveness and desire to create impactful change could be better served by the institutions around them.
When asked to rank how the education system could be improved, the majority of Gen Z respondents stated a preference for greater exposure to real-life work (59%) and professional mentorship (57%), making these the two most popular responses. In contrast, the more traditional teaching methods of lectures, student teaching, and field trips ranked the lowest of 10 options. Similarly, Gen Z rated more traditional school subjects as less important than future-focused, pro-social topics such as environmental literacy and global citizenship by a margin of 20 points. Gen Z respondents also conveyed a yearning for more school courses focused on career development and financial literacy.
Key findings for this Gen Z cohort:
- Global problem-solving, diversity, and original thought are key motivators at school and at work.
- There is a strong desire for a new educational model that includes a blend of virtual and in-person learning, true-to-life work experiences and mentorship, future-focused curriculum and greater levels of creativity and self-direction.
- Their high levels of optimism and confidence about the future are tempered by a collective ambivalence about whether their educational experiences have prepared them well for life ahead.
- The education community and large businesses are viewed as the primary institutions responsible for preparing Gen Z for the future of work.