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Plenty has been written about millennials and work. After all, they are already the largest generation in the US labor market and are expected to outnumber the baby boomers altogether in 2019. But with the oldest millennials in their late 30s and many assuming leadership positions, a new, younger generation is now entering the workforce — Generation Z. And the oldest members of this new wave (born in 1997, according to Pew) are graduating college this year.
So how are Gen Z and millennials (born 1981-1996) different? Though we are still in the early stages of seeing Gen Z develop, there are some key differences to point to. Gen Z grew up in a world of geopolitical and economic turmoil; the oldest Gen Zers were only four when the events of 9/11 happened, and they watched their parents struggle with the stress brought on by the 2008 global economic recession. The oldest millennials experienced decades of relative peace prior to 9/11 and, with many already in the workforce in 2008, they felt the recession as a shock as opposed to the norm.
Gen Z also has a unique relationship with technology. Millennials are often thought of as the first “always connected” generation, but many grew up with dial-up internet and landlines. Gen Z had access to smartphones from childhood — the oldest Gen Zers were 10 when the iPhone launched in 2007 — and many have likely never even seen a floppy disk! In this sense, Gen Zers may be the first true digital “natives.”
Gen Z demonstrates a strong interest in “future-proof” jobs
So what do we see as Gen Z enters the workforce? How are their unique life experiences affecting the type of jobs they want?
To learn more, Indeed’s analytics team crunched the numbers on Gen Zers of graduation age compared to everyone else. We also calculated a “popularity index” to show how much more frequently this group clicks on certain full-time job postings compared to all other job seekers.
Initial surveys identifying what Gen Z wants suggest that job stability is a priority, in stark contrast to the stereotype of their job-hopping millennial counterparts. Given that they grew up during the Great Recession, this is understandable, and we certainly see that reflected in searches on Indeed, where we see a strong showing for tech and health-care jobs — strong career choices for people who seek security as both fields suffer serious talent shortages.
In fact, almost half of our list is made up of tech-related jobs, including the top four spots. Fittingly enough for a generation of digital natives, Apple, the world’s first trillion-dollar company, is a strong draw. The number-one iOS developer was clicked on 3.2 times more often by graduation-age Gen Zers than by other job seekers.
This was followed number-two computer vision engineer, number-three machine learning engineer and number-four audio engineer. Computer vision engineer (#2) and machine learning engineer (#3) work with some of the most advanced tech currently being developed — artificial intelligence or machine learning. Number seven (junior software…