Are you more qualified than your grandparents? If you’re Gen Z, then the answer is probably yes

A young person is looking down at their phone next to an older man holding a tablet and smiling at the camera.

New data highlights that Gen Z will become the most qualified generation. 

The world is much different for those entering the workforce now than it was for their grandparents. Many have heard ‘kids today have it way easier than in my day’ or other similar cliches. While that may be true for things like mobility and technology, it turns out that when it comes to getting that first job, the Baby Boomer generation had it better.

New research from Open Study College found that Gen Z will be the UK’s most qualified generation, with over 80 per cent expecting to complete higher education qualifications. That compares to only 15 per cent of the Boomer generation. 

Generation Z are those born from 1997 to 2012, and the Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964.

The study compared each generation’s qualifications, occupation and salary and found out that Gen Z are overqualified compared to the entry-level jobs that the Boomers started out in. As if heading into employment during an economic downturn wasn’t tough as is, this younger generation of future employees will be facing competition from peers who are also overqualified for that same entry-level role. 

Only four per cent of Boomers earning over £70k annually completed their O-Levels or a similar equivalent. Compare that to their grandkids’ generation, of whom nearly two-thirds will complete a Degree with Honours at university or a post-grade degree like a Masters.  

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Gen Z want to be rewarded for their qualifications, with money

The study also revealed that Gen Z entry-level employees expect to be able to negotiate for a higher pay packet than the generations before them, and 60 per cent expect a pay rise after the first six months of employment. While many Boomers would work at one or two places for their entire career, Gen Z is more loyal to their pay packets and will change jobs for a higher salary. 

Open Study College’s report also highlighted that Gen Z faces higher expectations of them from various industry sectors. Nearly one-third of the respondents said that they needed extra industry-specific qualifications for an entry-level position. Despite being overqualified, 25 per cent also said that they’ve struggled to find their first job. 

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Compare that to Boomers, and it’s easy to see why the younger generation is fed up with the traditional concepts of work. Nearly 90 per cent of Baby Boomers said that they didn’t need any qualifications for their first job. Nearly one in three said they have no interest in obtaining more qualifications or upskilling themselves.

A masculine presenting person in a blue shirt smiles as they look into the camera.
Gen Z employees are putting more focus on a work-life balance and employers that match their own personal purpose. (Getty)

The younger generation is reinventing work for themselves

Unlike work attitudes of their elders, the younger generation is carving their own path when it comes to their careers. The old-school mentality of clocking into a 9 to 5 doesn’t fit into Gen Z’s more contemporary lifestyle.

Research from McKinsey found that more Gen Z people are working independently compared to other generations. These first-time job-seekers are looking for work that involves flexibility and more attention to a proper work-life balance rather than the traditional work situations that the Baby Boomer generation established. 

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