Young people will work in new-age tech careers, prioritise purpose over pay and put an end to the traditional 9-5: A kids’-eye-view of the future of work

  • Jobs that didn’t exist a decade ago in social media, app development and virtual reality to become mainstream
  • 42% of kids want a career that will positively impact society over a bumper pay packet
  • ‘Jobs for life’ and 9-5 working hours to disappear

Ambitious kids expect to be working in new-age tech careers, have fully flexible roles and bosses with a strong social conscience, according to new research from GoHenry, the prepaid debit card and financial education app for kids aged 6-18.

The insights into kids’ predictions on the future of work – gathered from nearly 480,000 UK GoHenry customers and a sample of over 2,000 young people aged 6-17 – indicate Gen Alpha and Gen Z will turn the traditional 9-5 on its head by using emerging technologies, challenging employers on social issues such as diversity and choosing purpose over pay.

Generation AI driving demand for tech roles that didn’t exist a decade ago

As digital natives, young people are looking to the tech world for their future careers, with many roles being so new that they didn’t exist as standalone jobs just 10 years ago. Of these new-age careers, kids most want to become a social media influencer (23%), an app developer (8%) or a virtual reality (VR) developer (7%).

Even in more traditional jobs, emerging technologies will also become mainstream as young people anticipate that mobile phones or tablets will replace computers (35%), they will have robot assistants (23%) and be using virtual and augmented reality as part of their day-to-day work (23%).

Future workforce will prioritise purpose over pay but worry about job security

Growing up during Covid, the cost-of-living crisis and climate change has mobilised younger generations into action, with 42% of respondents saying they would rather have a job that positively impacted society but didn’t pay as well, than one that paid well but did not positively impact society.

Employers should expect to face extra pressure on key issues such as diversity and inclusion as 68% of Gen Alpha and Gen Z think businesses need to do more to provide solutions to social issues, 65% believe businesses need to do a better job of making workplaces more inclusive and 60% think businesses need better representation in leadership positions when it comes to gender and ethnicity.

Despite more than half (53%) of Gen Alpha and Gen Z claiming they would quit if an employer didn’t deliver on its promises regarding social issues, these topics remain a source of anxiety for younger generations.

When asked what worried them most about their future job security, UK kids cited:

  1. The cost-of-living crisis (56%)
  2. The environment crisis (50%)
  3. War and the state of the UK economy (both 49%)
  4. Lack of help from the UK government (46%)
  5. Lots of people getting unwell, toxic work culture and mental health (all 45%)
  6. Lack of financial education (43%)

Traditional 9-5 to become a thing of the past 

A ‘job for life’ is set to be a thing of the past, with 43% of young people predicting they’ll have between 5-10 different jobs over their lifetime. Traditional working patterns will disappear too, with almost a third (31%) of Gen Alpha and Gen Z expecting flexible or compressed working hours. A quarter (25%) want a fully remote job, 23% crave unlimited holiday, 22% want a 4-day week and a fifth (20%) don’t want set working hours at all1.

Side hustles also look set to stick around despite HMRC’s new ‘side hustle tax’. 31% of young people want to have a job with a regular salary and a side hustle to work on in their own time1.When it comes to earning potential, a third (33%) of kids expect to be making at least £30,000 for their first full-time role, which is roughly in line with the median gross annual earnings for full-time UK employees.

This ambition looks to be on the cards for the next generation of workers, with GoHenry’s data showing that UK kids are making more money than ever before. In 2023, kids earned £168 million, an 8% rise on the previous year, and were paid an average of £9.52 pocket money per week, representing a 25% uplift.

Louise Hill, Co-founder and CEO of GoHenry, comments on the results: “At GoHenry, we’re all about empowering kids with the financial skills to thrive in any workplace – whether that’s in a traditional job, a new-age role, or running their own business. It’s inspiring to see younger generations so confident about what they want and don’t want from their future careers. Growing up amid Covid and the cost-of-living crisis, it’s unsurprising that so many young people have developed such strong views and employers must listen or risk losing out on top talent. “

GoHenry customer, Isla, age 9, said: “I want to be a professional gamer or game developer and I attend a gaming academy every weekend to help me build the skills I need. I think I will need to use VR a lot so I can play and test new games. I want to be able to work from home so I can spend more time with my friends and family. I think it’s important that whatever you do has a positive impact on society. If you enjoy your job, money doesn’t matter as much, especially if you are helping others.”

Featured Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash.

Latest articles


Related articles