Understanding Gen Z

Ensuring Gen Z Teens are Well Equipped to Make Informed, Confident Choices to Achieve Education and Career Success After High School

Contributions by Jean Eddy

Kids today are not adequately prepared to make informed, confident decisions about what they want to do after high school. To address this challenge, ASA makes research a key component of our ongoing efforts to help Gen Z teens know themselves, know their options, so they are prepared to make informed, confident decisions to navigate a path to postsecondary education and career success. Since today is National Youth Confidence Day (October 20), we wanted to share our latest body of research on Gen Z’s confidence level about their future planning as it relates to achieving education and career success after high school. This research is based on a survey of 2,040 students in grades 7 through 12 nationwide, with data representative of the national market for 13–18-year-olds with respect to geography, age, gender, and race.

Key findings revealed that around three quarters (77%) of Gen Z agree they are confident they will achieve their career goals, and they are optimistic (73%) that their education decisions will lead to good career options. However, many (45%) agree that they lack enough information to make a career decision. Under half (43%) agree that their plans for the future are too unclear. Overall, our research shows that kids with the highest level of confidence about the future (9 in 10) are more likely to feel hopeful (9 in 10) when compared to those at a middle level (8 in 10) or lower level (5 in 10) of confidence. Those with high confidence are also less likely to feel nervous about the future compared to their less confident peers.

It’s encouraging to see that Gen Z is feeling optimistic about how their plans will translate to future success, and that their confidence generally increases as they are acquiring more knowledge and taking actions to prepare for their future.

And while we’ve reached millions of young people in and beyond the classroom through impactful digital career exploration experiences and opportunities to test and try career possibilities, we know that there is much more work to be done to ensure that middle and high schoolers have the right information they need at the right time to make informed, confident decisions to achieve long-term success after high school. We hope you’ll join us on our mission to provide increased access to effective career readiness learning experiences and opportunities for all kids.

Thanks for reading, and we hope you found this helpful. For more thoughts on career readiness learning for kids, you can subscribe to ASA’s newsletter, PivotED.