Generation Z in the global labour market

  • young candidates waiting to be Interviewed
Published last week

If you're currently pursuing higher studies or you have just graduated, you're probably looking at career prospects that are within reach. Universum conducted a research among students living in twelve of the world's largest economies. Find out more about the long-term ambitions and expectations of Generation Z from the global labour market.

Long-term ambitions

young employees at work

When looking for new career prospects abroad, start by listing your priorities. For example, are you looking for a better living standard and higher wages or for a job where you can become a leader and manage a team more rapidly? Or are you merely looking for work-life balance? Today, work-life balance has become a priority for Generation Z as testified by more than a half of respondents. Most of them live in Germany, Canada, France, China, South Korea and Brazil.

For 44% of respondents, security and stability at work are more important while others are instead looking to have an international career and becoming a leader and managing a team. It's also worth noting that a large number of students aim at using their creativity and innovation to set up their own business in the coming years. The globally booming startup ecosystem is an attractive option, especially for engineering and ICT students. Thanks to the influence of startups that have made a name around the world, students are now very well aware of the prospects available to entrepreneurs.

While most young students seem confident regarding their future, many of them prefer to build and develop their career rather than spending the rest of their professional life with the same employer. In short, students are seeking continuous education and training.

Work-life balance at a glance

young man with laptop sitting at a coffee shop

Work life balance is generally assimilated to being able to look after your family after work, which is not true for Generation Z. Today, work-life balance goes well beyond our imagination. According to students surveyed, work-life balance is mainly the chance to be able to work anywhere and whenever they want. It's perhaps one of the reasons why more and more people are choosing digital nomadism as a career. You must have dreamed, at least once, of working on your laptop by the beach and sipping a cocktail. However, escaping the nine to five routine isn't the only thing.

Generation Z believes that work-life balance is the opportunity to find a purpose and a meaning to their personal and professional lives. While it's not always easy to start your career with a flexible job, more and more young people prefer work-life balance to short-term benefits, especially in countries like Japan and South Korea that have crazy working schedules.

Another interesting fact is that 76% of students surveyed, especially those in engineering and ICT, would instead make a living out of their hobbies. Also, 60% of them want to make an impact on the world.

The most attractive sectors

young IT engineer

Today, management and strategy consulting, financial services, banking, auditing and accounting are the most attractive sectors for young students. Some of them are also interested in media and advertising, as well as tourism, hospitality and leisure while E-commerce attracts just a few of them. For engineering and ICT students, software, computer services and multimedia, as well as aerospace and defence, automotive, technology hardware and equipment, industrial engineering and manufacturing and energy are the most attractive fields. That said, you probably wish to know more about the most promising employers.

The most attractive employers around the world

Google headquarters
Uladzik Kryhin /

Thousands of students around the world dream of working for prestigious companies like Google, Goldman Sachs, EY (Ernst & Young), Deloitte, KPMG, PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), Apple, JP Morgan, McKinsey & Company, and Microsoft. You might have realised what world famous brands mean to students engineering and ICT students preparing to join the global labour market. The rise of major firms like Amazon, BCG, McKinsey, EY and PWC, which are part of the knowledge-based economy, says much about the current trend. These companies are known for the importance they give to the development and transformation of talent while catering to the needs of their customers.

Engineering and ICT students prefer companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, the BMW group, Intel, as well as General Electrics, IBM, Siemens, Samsung and Amazon. Amazon shows the most significant improvement in the ranking thanks to its ability to transform available talent and adapt to market needs along with caring for its customers. Meanwhile, Facebook drops to 32nd spot due to severe criticism during the past year.