The Academos organization recently published a report aimed at presenting the career aspirations of young people between the ages of 10 and 29. The objective behind the approach is to better support them in their career path and choices. The main points of the report were presented during a webinar.
First, let's remember that when we refer to Generation Z, we are talking about young people born between 1993 and 2011. The sample of young Quebecers consulted by Academos for the study was aged 14 to 30. They answered the questions between December 21, 2021 and January 9, 2022.
On academic motivation
There was a slight uptick in academic motivation from the report conducted in 2021. The motivation of young people is 6.7/10 in 2022 and was 5.8/10 in 2021. The most demotivated say that they have lost discipline since the arrival of online courses. This unusual mode of delivery for most has been a great source of demotivation for them. The finding was that students who had a clear opinion about their career choice were more motivated to go to class and to be diligent.
45 % of respondents reported anxiety about their career choices. In this report, two sources of anxiety were identified. The first is anxiety related to the field of study or career chosen. The second is related to the decision-making process and the fear of making a bad choice of studies or career. The finding is rather alarming in that almost half of the young people surveyed suffer from anxiety.
On career concerns
55 % of young people have a primary career goal of fulfilling themselves in a field they are passionate about. 36 % say they want to have fun in the day-to-day work tasks they have to perform. The evidence is clear on this point, Generation Z youth are looking for fulfillment and pleasure in their work.
On the daily work
9 out of 10 students (88 %) say that work is and will be important and integral to their daily lives. 66 % of youth are aware that future job prospects will influence their careers.
Young people are also aware of their needs in terms of guidance: 51 % of respondents express that doing an internship or a virtual meeting with a professional in a trade that interests them is useful. 20 % of respondents say that discussing their career choices with their parents is important to their decision making.
Telecommuting has led many young people to become aware of their parents' work reality and to ask them questions. Some children discovered the nature of their parents' work, their schedules and decided to take an interest in the professional world through what they saw every day at home.
On the role of parents
Parents have a big role to play in their children's lives. They need to be present, listen to their needs, and support them in their choices. This can be done over dinner or on a movie date. However, the panelists insisted that it should be done in the least formal way possible (e.g., "You seem to be comfortable with this; you seem to like it; why don't we explore this together?"), to ensure that the youth are listening.
On the role of guidance counsellors
The goal for guidance professionals is not to appear to decide for young people. They must first listen to their needs in order to guide them towards their own path. The work of professionals consists of listening, not judging, making young people aware of their knowledge of themselves, helping them and teaching them to make choices. It's about pushing their decision-making functions to the limit. Young people need to understand how they function and what they want.
The panelists were Josée Landry, guidance counsellor and president of the Ordre des conseillers et conseillères d'orientation du Québec, Louis Cournoyer, guidance counsellor, professor-researcher in career development and counselling, and director of the master's degree in career counselling at UQAM, and Audrey Dupuis, doctoral candidate in education at the University of Sherbrooke and guidance counsellor. The webinar was moderated by Academos' founding president, Catherine Légaré.
To view or replay the webinar: