College Prep

Gen Z Leads the Way in Social Responsibility Careers

Student doing work on a tablet

Those of you born between 1997 and 2012 make up the Gen Z population. You are 70 million strong and currently have $29 billion in purchasing power. You are influencing our culture and workforce with a set of values that centers around corporate social responsibility. The corporate mission statement of the past carries no weight with Gen Zs. As a digital native, you can spot corporate greenwashing (false promises about sustainability) in a heartbeat, and you’re calling violators to task on social media.

A recent report by Nasdaq highlights some key impacts Gen Z is having on business:

  • The disruption of the pandemic only strengthened a commitment to environmental and social governance (ESG).
  • Gen Zs envision a culture that welcomes all people, and they demand that the companies they associate with walk the walk on diversity and inclusion, environmental sustainability, ethically-sourced products, climate change, and waste.
  • For brands to succeed with Gen Z, they need to know the audience that makes up their workforce and consumer base — this is essential.

Debt, climate change, and technology are Gen Z influencers

Your generation carries a significant amount of student debt and tends to have higher balances upon graduation — some as high as six figures. In fact, Gen Z’ers carry 13% more student debt than millennials. Add to that the recessionary economy that currently prevails, and the Gen Z population entering the workplace are asking questions such as:

  • What job categories offer the best opportunity for income security?
  • What careers provide the chance to make a positive social and environmental impact?
  • What careers will survive the rise of automation and continue to be relevant?

Proof of this can be found in a 2022 career survey of Gen Z that reveals five concepts this group is seeking in the companies they hope to work for: 

  1. Equity for all
  2. STEM and healthcare
  3. Love of learning
  4. Seeing the world after COVID
  5. Retiring college debt

One leading news source had this to say: “Perhaps more than any other issue, Gen Z is passionate about environmental causes, including climate change, alternative energy, and conservation. New hires care whether the companies they work for are environmentally sustainable, but for those who are really passionate about these issues, it's worth noting that the fastest-growing jobs are in the alternative energy market.”

So, how do you make the right choice for your future? Start early.

Steps Gen Z can take to future-proof their skills

Want a job in STEM? How about the law, climate change, healthcare, or government agencies that foster social responsibility? This is where Prelum partners excel. This includes leading universities who provide pre-college programs for motivated young people — names like Columbia Business School, Parsons Paris, Wake Forest University, Case Western Reserve University, Georgetown, and many more.

Pre-College Online Programs are a great way to see if a subject could lead to a future career. Here are some examples of what you’ll find at Prelum partner universities:

Case Western Reserve University’s Pre-College Program features courses that are ideal for future engineers, scientists, and social entrepreneurs. Check out biomedical engineering, a course that discusses how technology has improved the science of medicine. Plus, social entrepreneurship, which delves into businesses that not only achieve profits, but do so while delivering on social good. 

For those with an interest in fashion, Prelum partners with Parsons Paris, a pioneer in Pre-College Online Courses for high school students. In addition to options in fashion design and the business of fashion, this educator gives you the future of fashion with their online course on sustainability in fashion design.

Finally, there’s Wake Forest University’s Online Immersion Programs. For Gen Z’ers looking to test their interest in science, medicine, psychology and how these professions embrace social responsibility, here’s just a few courses to consider: bioscience focuses on infectious diseases, how they spread, and the impacts on global health. You can delve into why studying women’s medicine is essential to becoming a good doctor. Their cancer medicine course is a great start for those who seek a specialty in healthcare. You’ll follow a patient on their cancer journey and learn the groundbreaking advances that are making a difference. Psychology is a fascinating look into the human mind, how it processes unconscious emotions, and the effect of psychological disorders.

Discover all the Pre-College Programs available through Prelum.

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*Kaplan may receive compensation upon student enrollment in one of our partner programs.*