Gen Z, typically defined as people born after 1997, is a cohort that prioritizes equity, education, healthcare, and STEM, according to a new survey from the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS).
With personal experiences shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, gender and racial inequality, and healthcare-related issues influencing their career searches, the values of younger Americans are reflected in their choice of desired employers. Conducted in February and March, the 2022 NSHSS career interest survey includes responses from more than 11,000 high school- and college-age Americans. It found that:
- Gen Z wants to go big: 40% of respondents want to work at a large corporation, while 31% prefer the idea of working for a small business.
- Brand-name employers are appealing: Although “local hospitals” placed No. 1 among desired workplaces in 2020 and 2022, the majority of Gen Z’s top 10 most desirable employers are well-known corporations. The list includes Google, Amazon, SpaceX, and the Walt Disney Company.
- A lot more people want to work for Spotify. The music streaming platform ranked at No. 3 this year, skyrocketing from its No. 42 ranking in 2020.
- Other well-known companies rose, too: In 2022, Starbucks placed at No. 16, Airbnb at No. 27, E.L.F. (Eyes, Lips, Face) at No. 31, and Target Corporation at No. 45. Two years ago, those companies ranked at No. 44, No. 66, No. 69, and No. 89, respectively.
- The pandemic has influenced career aspirations: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came in at No. 18 this year, despite not ranking anywhere in the top 100 in 2020. Pfizer and Moderna—also absent from 2020’s rankings—placed at No. 48 and No. 97.
- BuzzFeed’s popularity fell significantly: In 2020 the company was the 18th most desirable employer among respondents—this year, it placed at No. 50.