Research published by Nord Anglia Education shows that 1 in 2 Gen Z’ers think confidence – the knowledge that you’re capable of handling whatever challenges life throws at you – is the most important skill for their personal and professional lives.
Oakridge International Schools based in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Visakhapatnam, and Mohali are part of the Nord Anglia Education family, which has over 81 schools spread across 32 countries.
Nord Anglia commissioned independent research amongst 18–25-year-old Gen Z’ers living in India, UK and USA to better understand the key skills they view as crucial for success. Gen Z was chosen because they are the most recent generation to enter higher education or begin working in a world impacted by the pandemic and economic uncertainty.
As one Gen Z respondent said, “Life constantly throws curveballs at us. It’s inevitable. But it’s how we react to a situation that matters.”
Which skills does Gen Z see as important at work?
When it comes to having a successful career, Gen Z’ers think the following skills and attitudes are the most important: Confidence (51%), Resilience (44%), Team spirit (43%), Problem solving and critical thinking (38%) and Mental and physical wellbeing (35%).
“In today’s workplace, especially for women, confidence in yourself is essential to have your ideas heard,” one Gen Z’er said. Commenting on why resilience is important, another Gen Z’er summed it up as: “It’s about being able to keep going when it’s hard.”
“The Gen Z research findings substantiate the changing needs of modern careers. In addition to subject expertise, one must adapt to constant technological advances through innovative thinking, resilience, and collaboration. At Oakridge, besides ensuring the best academic results, we develop life skills through several student-led initiatives like the annual inter-school hackathon called Codefest, association with UNICEF, and interactions with students and professors of MIT, among other things,” says Pallavi Mishra, Principal, Oakridge International School Bengaluru.
The pandemic and Gen Z
According to the Gen Z’ers who took part in the research, the pandemic has meant that these attitudes are the most important to have in life:
- ‘Looking after my wellbeing’: the ability to know myself and what works best for me to help look after my mental and physical health
- ‘The importance of empathy’: understanding and sympathising with others’ experiences
- ‘Having a global outlook’: understanding and appreciating what’s happening in the world around me
- ‘Problem solving and critical thinking’
- ‘Understanding or being self-aware of how I learn best and why’
When it comes to the importance of wellbeing, one Gen Z’er said, “The last few years have taught everyone that putting yourself first is important because burnout is extremely real.”
Speaking about well-being, Shaila Bhamidipati, Principal Oakridge Visakhapatnam says, “Growing societal expectations force school-age children to push themselves to strive & succeed in everything they take up, which puts them under constant strain and causes anxiety. At Oakridge, we understand that enhancing student well-being in the classroom necessitates a whole-school strategy that includes both teachers and parents. We have a school well-being club with a motto of ‘To nurture the wonderful YOU’. Activities like wellbeing forum, compliment box, Mindful Monday and Mindful doodling are conducted regularly. It is important for schools to create a safe space for discussing delicate wellbeing issues and educating teachers to recognize initial warning signs of mental health problems.”
Christopher Short, Managing Director, Nord Anglia Education India, said, “As the father of 2 Gen Z children, I know that it is important that we understand the outlook and needs of this important part of the world population. They care deeply about having the right skills to use alongside their stellar qualifications to thrive in life and the workplace – with the correct balance between the two. Here in India our Gen Z parents look for schools that can provide this mix of skills and academic rigour and our partners at Oakridge Schools can provide. Whenever I visit the schools, I am so impressed by the opportunities the students have to lead in a variety of areas and how eloquently they can make their arguments for change for the better.”
About the research: The research was commissioned by Nord Anglia Education and carried out online by Kantar, the world’s leading data, insights, and consulting company, amongst a sample of 1,548 Gen Z’ers (adults aged 18-25, with no gender quotas) in the UK, USA, and India, during June 2022. The research focussed on skills beyond academic results.
About Nord Anglia Education: As a leading premium international schools organisation, we are shaping a generation of creative and resilient global citizens who graduate from our schools with everything they need for success, whatever they choose to be or do in life.
Our strong academic foundations combine world-class teaching and curricula with innovative technology and facilities, creating learning experiences like no other. Inside and outside of the classroom, we inspire our students to achieve more than they ever thought possible.
No two children learn the same way, which is why our 81 schools in 32 countries around the world personalise learning to what works best for every student. Inspired by our high-quality teachers, our students achieve outstanding academic results and go on to study at the world’s top universities.