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What Gen Z wants to be when they grow up

Funny, I'd like to be an astronaut.

What Gen Z wants to be when they grow up

Erica Pandey, author of Axios Finish Line

Jan 21, 2023

Data: Axios/Generation Lab poll; Chart: Axios Visuals

Despite the rise of social media and the ubiquity of the creator economy, most Gen Z-ers are interested in the same traditional careers as generations before them.

Driving the news: Young people today are more likely to job-hop, but they are also looking for stability by pursuing careers as CEOs, doctors and engineers, according to a new Axios/Generation Lab study.

By the numbers: Gen Z-ers surveyed said their top career goals were businessperson, doctor and engineer.

Artist took the fourth spot.

Gen Z-ers also tend to prefer larger companies — with 58% saying they’d prefer a big or mid-sized corporation over a startup or a government job.

Just 14% aspire to work for the government.

Worth noting: Young people’s leading motivator as they advance in their careers is personal fulfillment (49%), followed by wealth (25%).

Contrary to polling that indicates Gen Z cares more about their employers’ stances on social issues more than previous generations, just 9% of respondents said societal impact is their top driver when it comes to work.

Gen Z is also driving the "quiet-quitting" trend, with 82% of them saying the idea of doing the minimum required to keep their jobs is pretty or extremely appealing.

The bottom line: "The most popular careers among young people are those with high-income potential. ... They see that as the best way to achieve personal fulfillment and happiness," says Matin Mirramezani, Generation Lab's chief operating officer.

"They don't see their career path as an end in itself, but rather the means to an end."

Methodology: This poll was conducted Jan. 11-18 from a representative sample of 824 18 to 29-year-olds nationwide. The margin of error is +/- 3.4 percentage points.

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