It wasn’t too long ago that students felt going to university would lead them to a guaranteed job or a choice of careers. Having a degree meant you would be certain of earning a good living. With no university fees, the student lifestyle to enjoy and a job at the end of your course it really was a win-win.

Today’s generation of students are living in a very different world – high university fees and prohibitive costs without the guarantee of a job. Students of today are anything but lazy; they need to work on side projects to get ahead, create portfolios and a learn a range of extra skills to keep that competitive edge so that once they have their degree, they can be in with a chance.

There seems to be a disconnect between the traditional routes to success (university equals job equals success) and the reality of what they are facing when they enter the ‘real world’.

And on top of the fact that there are no guarantees, there has been a shift for students and their viewpoints of success and happiness. While not all students feel their chosen course offers the skills they need for their future career prospects, they are also unwilling to choose a course that can help them get a job and would rather follow their own interests. They realise that happiness is the most important thing to them and they want to enjoy what they do. Happiness equals success rather than successes leading to happiness.

Only 28% of our students chose a course that would help them get a job, whereas 37% chose something they enjoyed learning about at school.

When asked, only 18% of them chose a course subject because they were good at it, while the rest didn’t need that security as long as it was of interest to them.

Brands such as Dyson, Net A Porter and Zalando are now designing bespoke courses to train students straight into jobs. However, as attractive as this may sound, the fluid nature of Gen Zedders is at odds with being tied to one specific job or company – they crave variety.

What is clear is that a happy employee is a productive employee, and businesses are stepping up to this challenge. This is why it may be difficult for employers to hear that their new employees don’t value their workplace as much as they had hoped. However, they shouldn’t lose heart. Businesses are inheriting the most entrepreneurial generation yet. They are natural problem solvers and social navigators.

As a company, take a fresh look at your workplace through the eyes of your student audience, and identify if your culture is the right fit for them. They aren’t being given a job for life (which is something young people no longer want anyway) so what can you provide them with? Can you offer them enough opportunity to grow, to keep their interest, invest in their future potential to be a stepping stone in the journey of career-fluid young people?

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