Gen Z’s role in shaping the digital economy

Today, we’re releasing a report in partnership with Oxford Economics that looks at the role of Gen Z in driving the post-pandemic recovery and digital economy. It builds an evidence-based view of what the future looks like for young people across six markets - Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States - and includes a mix of new field research, analysis of an extensive range of data sources and expert insights from entrepreneurs and policy experts.

Over the past 12 months, young people have had to navigate enormous challenges and disruptions to their education, career prospects, mental health and wellbeing. Whilst the dominant narrative has been that the future of Gen Z is likely to be full of uncertainty, the research from Oxford Economics shows there is a real case for optimism.

As the first generation to have grown up with technology, Gen Z are uniquely placed to bounce back and make the most of the growing demand for digital skills. 

Key takeaways from the report include, by 2030:

  • Gen Z will become a dominant force in the workplace with the number in work across the six markets trebling to 87 million by 2030

  • They will become an engine of consumer spending with projections that they will support $3.1 trillion of spending in these markets in 2030

  • Technology and COVID-19 are set to transform skills demand - with the majority of jobs to require advanced digital skills

  • A greater emphasis will be put on skills such as agility, curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving, which play to the natural strengths of Gen Z

Furthermore, the study highlights the increased potential of Augmented Reality - one of the fastest growing digital technologies during the pandemic and a market expected to expand four-fold by 2023. It’s expected to grow beyond industries such as e-commerce and marketing to transform how we experience healthcare, education, architecture, entertainment and manufacturing. Jobs in the sector are becoming increasingly more popular and require a blend of technical skills and creativity that will ultimately favour Gen Z. 

The report also includes recommendations from Oxford Economics to businesses, educators and policymakers to help young people fully seize the opportunity of the shift to a more digital economy by closing the attainment gap in the short-term, as well as rethinking traditional models of education in the longer term.

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