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Generation Z favours economic conservatism in public policy and seeks career stability, survey finds

Sep 28, 2018
Generation Z (Gen Z) is concerned for the economy and their job prospects, according to a new survey published today by IFAC (International Federation of Accountants). The survey of over 3,300 individuals aged 18-23 across 19 G20 countries takes the pulse of next-generation attitudes on public policy and career expectations.

Understanding Gen Z priorities will be critical for policy makers and employers alike, as public policy debates increasingly confront inter-generational trade-offs in wealth and as Gen Z is set to comprise the world’s largest generation.

Politically engaged, economically conservative

This generation's top public policy priorities are advancing economic stability, quality education and job availability. However, views on how to achieve desired outcomes depend on geography. The survey found 51% of Gen Z'ers globally favour a nationalist approach to public policy, while 32% favour globalism and international collaboration.

Gen Z'ers in France (52%) and Germany (43%) most strongly support international policy collaboration, while preference for a nationalistic approach to public policy is strongest in China (65%), South Africa (63%), India (60%) and Russia (59%).

"Gen Z views appear to reflect the tension between national protectionism and global policy cooperation playing out in contemporary geopolitical and economic debates," said Russell Guthrie, IFAC Executive Director. "The emphasis on economic stability speaks volumes about what the future will hold, given that this generation is already exercising its active and passionate voice on the global stage."

Beyond the clash between national protectionism and globalisation, other concerns include healthcare, especially in Canada, France, Germany and the US, and tackling systematic corruption, which was rated a top priority by respondents in Argentina, Brazil, India and Indonesia.

Desire job security in stable professions

Gen Z's desire for stability is also apparent in its workplace expectations. They anticipate digitalisation and emerging technology to be a double-edged sword, bringing new ways of working but also the decline of traditional jobs as a result.

Contrasted with the "live the dream at all costs" outlook commonly attributed to the preceding Millennial generation, Gen Z's top priorities in choosing a career include a stable career path (89% important or very important), competitive salary and benefits (87%) and work-life balance (84%).

Gen Z's perception of professional accountancy is highly aligned with its top two priorities in choosing a career. 87% of Gen Z see professional accountancy as attractive or very attractive in offering a stable career path, while 86% see the profession as meeting or exceeding their salary and benefits expectations.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Gen Z respondents would consider a career in professional accountancy, and over one fifth of respondents (21%) indicate that they have already decided to pursue a career in the profession.

"Generation Z brings a great wealth of new and unique talent to the global workforce. This survey identifies why the global accounting profession is well positioned to attract and retain next-generation talent, particularly as the role of the accountant becomes ever more strategic," said Fayezul Choudhury, IFAC CEO. "Employers from all industries would be well suited to understand Gen Z perspectives as they come to shape the future of the workplace."

Source: International Federation of Accountants.