Posted June 29, 2020 by Mark Perna
College, career and life plans might change, but they’re moving forward. Mark’s article, “Why Is Gen-Z Feeling So Good About Life After COVID-19?,” published at Forbes.com on June 23, 2020.
Generation Z is hardworking, focused on their goals and immensely practical—not so different from the Boomers before them. And, like the Boomers, they’re coming of age in a time of dramatic national change and upheaval.
So how is the teen segment of this generation coping with the fallout of COVID-19? A new Cassandra survey of 1,000 13–17-year-old respondents aims to uncover this generation’s perspective on college, career and life in a post-pandemic world.
To college, or not to college—that is the question. With 45% believing they need a bachelor’s degree to be successful in life, it’s not surprising that the majority (60%) are not expecting to change their college plans as a result of the pandemic. On the other hand, 24% say their college plans have already changed or are likely to do so.
Gen Z is already known for their preference for in-person communication and face-to-face meetings. This includes how they take their college courses, with a sizeable minority (43%) saying they would rather wait until they can attend classes in person. However—57% said they’d rather keep moving forward with their college classes on schedule, even if it had to be via remote/online learning.
Will new careers be created as a result of COVID-19? Seventy-five percent of respondents said yes. Further, 66% believe their generation will be more likely to work freelance jobs than past generations.
While they acknowledge the impact of the virus on their education and career outlook, most Gen-Zers believe they can overcome these challenges and live the life they’ve been planning. 45% say their career plans have not been impacted by the pandemic, while 35% say their career plan has changed or will likely change due to the coronavirus.Generation Z is hardworking, focused on their goals and immensely practical—not so different from the Boomers before them. Click To Tweet
But the optimism is tempered with a realistic look at America’s struggling economy and workforce. Thirty-four percent of this generation believe they will make less money in their lifetime as a result of COVID-19.
Unlike the more optimistic Millennials, Gen Z are largely realists. “One of the key characteristics of Gen Z (even before COVID) was their pragmatism, especially when compared to the high optimism and aspirations of Millennials,” says Kathy Sheehan, SVP, Cassandra.
But that isn’t stopping this generation from taking a glass-half-full perspective on life after COVID-19. Only 27% of respondents said it had caused them to lower their expectations of the success they would enjoy in life—leaving 73% who feel that the pandemic will not negatively affect their ultimate success and happiness.
Despite the significant challenges that COVID-19 has created for the economy and workforce, Gen Z is approaching their future with a positive attitude. They’re young, resilient and determined to make things better—and they’re just what our world needs.