Gen Z

Gen Z-ers set their sights on tech-rich employment


A survey shows most professionals in Generation Z feel confident about tech skills, but are less sure of their soft skills

Digital natives are entering the workforce, and they’re bringing with them a strong desire to use new technologies and explore IT careers, according to new research.

A Dell survey of 12,000 high school and college students in 17 countries finds that 80 percent of Gen Z hopes to work with innovative technology, and more than one-third are interested in IT careers.

Members of Gen Z (those born after 1996) feel strong about their tech skills, and 77 percent say they’re willing to be tech mentors to older coworkers in the workplace.

Ninety-four percent are worried about future employment, and only slightly more than half (57 percent) rate their education as good or excellent in preparing them for their careers. Fifty-two percent are confident they have the tech skills employers want, but aren’t so sure about their non-tech or soft skills.

Nearly all surveyed Gen Z-ers (98 percent) have used technology in their formal education, and 91 percent say the technology offered by an employer would be a deciding factor when fielding similar job offers.

Of the 80 percent of Gen Z hoping to work with cutting-edge technology, 38 percent are interested in IT careers, 39 percent want to work in cybersecurity, and 46 percent hope to perform technology research and development.

Eighty percent also say they believe technology and automation will create a more equitable work environment by preventing bias and discrimination.

An overwhelming 89 percent recognize that we are entering the age of human-machine partnerships: 51 percent of those surveyed believe that humans and machines will work as integrated teams, while 38 percent see machines as tools for humans to use as needed.

“It’s almost a given that these digital natives have advanced technology and data science skills, but what is surprising is the level of digital maturity they are bringing to the workplace,” says Danny Cobb, corporate fellow and vice president of technology strategy for Dell Technologies. “Yet we haven’t raised a generation of robots. Gen Z sees technology not only as a tool for enabling human progress, but also as a means for leveling the information empowerment playing field. Their combination of vision and optimism is remarkable.”

Although they have interacted with electronic devices practically since birth and grew up with social media, Gen Z yearns for more human interaction in the workplace:

  • In-person communication (43 percent) is the preferred method for communicating with coworkers, followed by phone (21 percent); messaging apps and texting ranked last
  • 75 percent expect to learn on the job from coworkers or other people – not online
  • 82 percent say that social media can be a valuable tool in the workplace
  • More than half (53 percent) prefer to go to a workplace versus working from home and 58 percent prefer to work as part of team rather than independently

Senior professionals are concerned about being outpaced, and worry a majority of leadership roles in the future will be filled by digital natives. According to previous Dell Technologies research, 87 percent of business leaders fear their organizations will struggle to offer equal opportunities across generations.

Laura Ascione