12 Dec 2016

Bold Gen Z: Australia’s graduating generation eager to forge new ‘social’ pathways to success

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As the first of Australia’s Generation Z* prepare to enter the workforce in 2017, a new report shows this group will shape the country’s future as creative and social entrepreneurs, intent on forging new pathways to success.

Gen Z think starting a social media-based business is the best pathway to success, followed by networking or launching a start-up, according to the second chapter of NAB’s whitepaper, Rethink Success.

The report also reveals that young Aussies, influenced by Generation Y** trailblazers and the likes of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Australia’s fitness entrepreneur Kayla Itsines, consider being creative and willing to take risks as ‘key attributes of a successful person’. These attributes weren’t included in the top seven of any other generation surveyed in the research.

Andrew Hagger, NAB’s Chief Customer Officer Consumer Banking and Wealth Management, and a father of three kids, including two Gen Z’s, said this different perspective on personal success and how to achieve it is one that bodes well for Australian businesses willing to leverage the attributes of the next generation.

“Gen Z wants to make a difference in the world, and they want to do it by being personally fulfilled, feeling passionate about their work and taking bold decisions,” Mr Hagger said.

“Australian businesses that are willing to embrace Gen Z and harness the characteristics and skills they offer will certainly benefit.

“This is the age of innovation and disruption, and Gen Z’s are uniquely placed to thrive in it, and to help their employers thrive too. This generation, if understood and engaged by employers, has a lot to offer. There is great hope for the future.”

Success for Gen Z

Gen Z say having a purpose in life and having good friendships are among their top measures of personal success. This differs from all other generations, which don’t view these two factors in their most important measures of personal success.

But if opportunities in Australia don’t fulfil Gen Z’s career aspirations they are likely to try overseas, with one in five intent on moving to another country to work in the future. Only half believe Australia is the best place to live and work, compared to almost 70 per cent of respondents of all generations questioned in the Rethink Success study.

Gen Zs are feeling the pressure

Being successful is incredibly important to Gen Z, with 77 per cent agreeing with the statement ‘success is important to me’, but they have very real fears about the future.

When it comes to Gen Z’s attitudes towards success, close to 70 per cent feel under a lot of pressure to be successful and make money, compared to less than half of all generations.

Gen Z’s concerns for the future include not having the skills for the jobs of the future, job security, equality in society and looking after their ageing parents.

“While Gen Zs are eager to pursue unique pathways to success and have real concerns for the future, like all generations, they still see being happy as their number one goal in achieving personal success. The future of Australia will be strong if we’re able to embrace the younger generation and the skills and attributes they possess.

“At NAB, we want to help empower all Aussies to feel confident with their money, so they can achieve success in their lives, regardless of what pathway they take to get there,” Mr Hagger said.

About the Rethink Success whitepaper

To explore Australian views on success, NAB commissioned global research firm Ipsos to research the views of more than 2000 Australians aged 16 – 70, exploring the importance and relevance of quantitative measures of success such as wealth, status and home ownership against qualitative factors such as experience, personal fulfillment and wellbeing.

Find the Rethink Success whitepaper here.

*Generation Z surveyed for this study were aged 16-21
** Generation Y aged 22 to 35

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