How Generation Z Makes Career Decisions


Generation Z currently makes up about 20 percent of the U.S. population, with ages that range from 9 years old to 25-26 years old. These individuals are entering the workforce and changing the landscape of what is expected from employers. Generation Z investors have different priorities and are making their career decisions differently than generations before them.

While many Generation Z investors are still just dreaming of “what they will be when they grow up” there are many individuals in this generation that have completed their education and have entered the workforce. Every individual entering the workforce must weigh various factors when considering different employment opportunities. Salary, retirement benefits and healthcare benefits are just a few of the factors to consider when contemplating a career.

Generation Z investors place the greatest importance on having a career that provides for an ideal work/life balance, according to recent research from Spectrem Group with Generation Z investors. What the ideal balance between work and personal life is must be defined by each person individually, but finding a firm that values their employees having personal lives is what Generation Z desires for their career. Compensation is the second most important factor for Generation Z investors regarding their current and future career decisions. Personal enjoyment is a very important factor in employment decisions for Generation Z investors as well. Healthcare benefits, and flexible hours round out the top five factors for the career choices among Generation Z investors. 

Student loan payoff programs and tuition assistance programs are not as important of a factor among Generation Z investors. Despite the significant increase in working from home since the pandemic, only a third of Generation Z investors feel that an employer having work from home opportunities is an important factor in their employment decisions.

Employment is one measure of success in life, and it also factors into obtaining financial stability, which Generation Z investors feel is the best definition of success. These young investors also define success as achieving financial independence. Raising a family and being in a marriage or committed relationship defines success for 47 percent of Generation Z investors. This is in stark contrast to Millennial investors, with only 30 percent defining success as a marriage or committed relationship and only 19 percent defining success as raising a family. This indicates a shift back to feeling marriage and children is a measure of success.

Generation Z is creating their own priorities, and redefining what success means for their generation. It will be interesting to see if these investors maintain these attitudes as they continue to come of age.