Newsroom

Gen Z aspires to save the world

Image showing BAE Systems employee
Young Brits want to follow in the footsteps of scientists such as David Attenborough and Brian Cox
New research reveals career aspirations for young people in the UK, with scientists the most admired; above musicians, influencers and sports stars
 
  • Almost one third of Brits aged 16-24 reveal they admire scientists more than famous Instagrammers, musicians and sports stars
  • More than 80 per cent of young people surveyed believe that a career in technology will be important for the future
  • A third are future-proofing their career by studying science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) subjects at school
  • Our study for National Apprenticeship Week also found that three-quarters would consider an apprenticeship
 
Almost a third of young people aged 16 to 24 are inspired to follow in the footsteps of high-profile scientists; ahead of musicians such as Stormzy and Billie Eilish and sports stars such as Jordan Henderson. The A-listers were deemed less aspirational for a generation where nine in ten are concerned about future-proofing their career.
 
We commissioned the research which polled 2,000 young people during National Apprenticeship Week. The results reveal that science is one of the most popular career paths for Generation Z (Gen Z), alongside teaching, gaming and engineering.
 
Seeking purpose over pay
 
Concerned about what their future careers might look like, a third of young people agreed that they don’t want a solely desk-based job. Gen Z is prioritising purpose over pay, with 30 per cent wanting to choose a career that will make a difference in the world. In addition, two-thirds of those surveyed want to work with emerging technologies, while a quarter want to pursue a career path that will allow them to travel and broaden their horizons, while continuing to develop their skills.
 
Future-proofing careers
 
The results also highlighted that common misconceptions of engineering remain amongst Gen Z, including that it involves physically intensive work and is a predominantly male environment. Despite this, 34 per cent of those surveyed studied STEM subjects at school, with nearly a third of young people aged 16-18 planning to continue studying these subjects in further education.
 
In the hope of future-proofing their careers, many young people are looking to apprenticeships as the answer. More than three-quarters of Gen Z would consider an apprenticeship, with nearly 60 per cent wanting the opportunity to earn as they learn.
 
Khadijah Ismail, a third year Engineering Degree Apprentice, said: “My apprenticeship is exciting and diverse; no two days at work are the same. It gives me the opportunity to obtain valuable hands on experience - learning from some of the best engineers in their field - while earning a competitive salary.
 
“I want to inspire anyone who's unsure about studying engineering or pursuing an apprenticeship to go ahead and do it. The possibilities really are endless and you will be given the best start to your career.”
 
Richard Hamer, Education and Skills Director, said: “It is great to see more young people considering a career in STEM and becoming more aware of the range of opportunities and roles available to them by studying these subjects.
 
“Our apprenticeship programmes give young people award-winning on the job training, alongside prestigious qualifications, whilst undertaking vital work on some of the UK’s most exciting and nationally important programmes. From developing future combat air technologies to world-class cyber security solutions, engineering can lead to a long, successful and varied career.”