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13 Reasons Why Gen Z Stress About University

13 Reasons Why Gen Z Stress About University

In this 13 Reasons Why series we explore the different problems Gen Z are dealing with as told to us by them. Through their own words we’ll see what leads to young people’s mental health problems.

How does university stress thee? Let me count the ways.

You don’t want to go there but you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders saying you’re a failure if you don’t. Or you do genuinely want to go there but you’re in a competition against your hyper-competitive classmates to get into the best one. It’s sandstone or nothing.

Or how about when you’re at university but the honest to god truth is you don’t even know if you’ve picked what it is you actually love. Do I really want to do this for the rest of my life?

Then there’s when you’ve picked what you love but you’ve got the weight of your own expectation on yourself not to fail. Maybe it’s not just to not fail, but you’re driving yourself to exhaustion to get your name up on the dean’s list.


There’s also just being able to keep your head above water. You’re working a job so you can feed yourself while trying to fit in the time to study for your big exams. Everyone has their own unique set of circumstances, maybe you’ve got a family to help out, or your own personal problems to juggle with unforgiving deadlines.

Then after you’ve got that bit of paper there’s the huge debt waiting for you. And then there’s that cherry on top, that sweet taste of insecurity and uncertainty when you don’t even know if that bit of paper is gonna get you the job you dreamed of. Did you just do all that for nothing? Who knows when the stress of that question hanging over you will ever end.

There’s no doubt the whole process of getting into, passing and then building your life after university is one of the most stressful parts of many people’s lives. This is especially so for the 20% of first-year uni students who drop out of their degrees each year which you can read more about in our free report Here Comes The Drop.

Stress. Anxiety. Depression. For some it all becomes too much. And it could be more widespread than you think. Through our research surveying over 2000 young Australians aged 15 to 19 we’ve found 68% have experienced struggles with their mental health. When we asked them what they see as their biggest struggles, the top four were figuring out their future, money/finance, their studies and their mental health.

At YouthSense with the trust of our Year13 audience we’re in a privileged position where young people tell us things they often don’t even reveal to their friends and family. From the issues affecting them today to their concerns for the future, we dive into what’s on their mind so our readers can better respond to their needs.

Here we’ll take a look at why young people stress about university. And what they do to deal with it.


1. Square peg in a round hole

“The future causes the most stress for me as I am confused about what exactly I want to do. I have such a variety of passions and like so many things and want to go to uni. However nothing there really makes me more interested and excited to learn. I find it extremely frustrating not knowing what I want out of life and this makes me stress even further. Currently I am at uni knowing I am going to drop out because I don’t like it but I just don’t know where to go next and need some help deciding but don’t know who to reach out to for the answers. I am trying to deal with it by staying optimistic but am recently struggling and trying to find new ways to deal with it.” 18/F/NSW

2. Alone in the crowd

“Suddenly becoming so much more lonely. In high school you are surrounded by people you know all the time, even if they aren’t your best friend you can get a long with anyone there. Completely surrounded by people at uni, I still feel completely alone. The stability of the friendships made at uni are like high heels on cobblestones – moments from falling apart. It’s hard to know where to start after being in a school environment for 13 years. I never knew what it felt like to feel so isolated while still surrounded by over 800 people in a lecture.”


3. Uncertainty

“Currently my biggest stress is not knowing when a depressive episode will hinder my ability to perform at university. This is dealt with by voicing my fears, speaking to others about my problems, and not dwelling on the idea as that can in itself trigger mental health problems.”


4. Financial pressure

“At the moment, it’s mainly university applications. It’s ground I’ve never treaded before so it’s nerve wracking not knowing if I’m sufficiently organised. The fact that I also have to consider my family’s financial situation as lower middle class immigrants also adds pressure to get into a university that either has low tuition or offers scholarships. I also feel the need to find the right course for me on the first try so as to not waste time or money or unnecessary courses. Just the whole unknown territory of being independent and applying successfully to a uni is my main source of stress.”



5. Feeling torn

“The thing that causes me the most stress in my life is finding where I want to go in life. As I am in my senior year of high school there is a very heavy amount of pressure placed onto me regarding where I want to head in the future. My mother is strongly for me going to university as I have the grades to get in, however, do not know what I would want to study. Which is why, on the other hand, my stepmother is very much against me choosing to go to university. I struggle to deal with this stress and break down a lot. To be honest, I deal with my stress by ignoring my problems which is a very unhealthy habit.”


6. Trying to keep up

“The most difficult thing will be the dramatic amount of responsibilities and expectations for people after they leave school. For example getting into uni, and whether or not they got into an affluent uni, and are they studying a degree that will make them successful in the future, and how if one doesn’t go to uni they are heavily questioned as to why.”


7. Great expectations

“Academic performance. I’ve been on the dean’s list since I started university and I work myself to sickness every semester to make sure I stay on it. I keep my end goal in mind, and remind myself that it’ll be worth it in the end.”


8. More to life

“The pressure placed by society on the idea that college determines how well we will do in the future and only by achieving a very high result will we be successful in employment/life. I try to meditate and practice yoga/do something that makes me remember there are more important things and/or spend time with special people in my life. To remember that although I would like to do well there are other options for future education and employment.”


9. Scrimping and saving

“For me at the moment the thing that makes me stress is the thought of how much my university and living fees will cost when I move out and start uni. I plan to take a gap year to try earn as much money before I go to university to try and lessen the debt I will likely have.”



10. Indecisive

“Being unsure about what career I want to pursue, as through year 12 there was pressure to have your life planned out before you even left school. Although I am currently at university I am constantly considering different careers/pathways but I just don’t know what to do or choose. Where everyone around me seems to be studying something they are passionate about or have an interest in. And I haven’t found that yet.”


11. Balancing act

“The most stress at this time is trying to balance university study and earning money/maintain a job. My university expects students in the masters to not have a job and focus solely on university but unfortunately that is such poor and detrimental advice as you can’t live day to day without maintaining a job. It’s stressful keeping up with your work load and trying to earn enough money with little support from both work and uni so at times it becomes stressful having to choose one or the other leading to a win lose situation. It’s dealt with through comprising work and holding a casual job that is open to change and can be moved around university and also using the university counsellor to talk too and support your special consideration requests to help with achieving quality learning.”


12. Family matters

“My family and study causes the most stress in my life as I do want to spend time with my family but I have a very big university workload and as my parents didn’t finish school they don’t understand this and complain that I never do anything with the family. I then feel guilty and stress about how I can manage my time to do both of a somewhat equal time. However to deal with it I go to libraries after attending university to try and complete the most amount of work I can so that when I get home I can spend as much time possible with my family.”


13. Working for who

“The thing that causes the most stress is the overwhelming expectation put on you throughout high school and university. Everyone demands you to do your best in order to achieve the best results which is incredibly stressful because now you have to make others proud at the cost of your mental health. I deal with it through seeing my psychologist and trying to prioritise my own goals over the expectations of others.”

Why Parents Need To Wake Up To the Benefits Of TAFE NSW

Why Parents Need To Wake Up To the Benefits Of TAFE NSW

Every parent wants what’s best for their child but sometimes we get tunnel vision.

With Year 12 students currently preparing for their final stretch of exams, it’s easy to get swept away in discussions about your child’s post-school plans. There’s a level of urgency that comes with the end of school so close in their sights. But like a racehorse that’s only focused on the prize ahead, our discourse around these options tends to be limited to, “so what are you studying at uni next year?”

It may not be intentional, but university has become somewhat of the default choice for students, parents and schools alike. In reality, there are a variety of different pathways to success for young people.

With a national skills shortage and the changing pace of the job landscape, TAFE NSW is considered to be a great option for your young people looking to prepare themselves for the future of work. Our research, which surveyed thousands of Gen Z’s aged 15-24, highlights these benefits.

Better understanding leads to better decision-making

In one survey, 66% of respondents said their parents had a well-rounded understanding of university. Comparatively, just 16% said the same for vocational education and training (VET), one of the many educational offerings at TAFE NSW.

In the classroom, 46% of young people claimed they faced ‘too much’ pressure from their school to enter university and only 10% said they faced no pressure at all.

This biased view of post-school education pathways filters down to the students themselves and affects their decision-making, with the majority choosing or preferring to go to university despite what individual goals or strengths they may have.

“I think that teachers, as leaders, need to make clear the opportunities that TAFE can provide,” said one respondent, an 18-year-old female from NSW.

“[They] need to discuss with students the importance and benefits of [TAFE and university] at an equal level, so that students can make a decision for themselves, without pressure or persuasion from their family/teachers/peers.”

Alignment of skills & passions

TAFE NSW offers a wide range of courses that suit all kinds of skills and passions. Everything from IT Security and Web Development to courses in Business, Finance, 3D Art and Animation, Film and Television, Floristry, Photography, Aged Care, Early Childhood Education, Agriculture and more.

One respondent, a 17-year-old female from NSW, spoke highly of this variety.

“I think TAFE is a good option because it can often be more hands on and cheaper than a university degree that you’re just pressured into by society. It gives so many opportunities to students finding their way and following [their] passions,” she said.


TAFE NSW is also lauded for its real-world approach to learning. Class sizes are smaller than in university, are taught by teachers with current industry experience and students have access to cutting-edge facilities and industry contacts.

Another respondent, a 17-year-old male from NSW, had this to say about his experience at TAFE NSW:

“Honestly, I feel like TAFE is one of the best things Australia has to offer for people. It gives people the option to pursue their passions without the need to conform to the school system, much like many other countries.”

Positive employment outcomes

According to NCVER research, in 2018, 83.9% of TAFE NSW graduates were employed or in enrolled in further study after completing their training. Meanwhile, just 72.9% of university undergraduates were in full-time employment after completing their degrees.

TAFE NSW emphasises skills that are transferrable across a wide range of jobs and occupations, such as effective communication, teamwork and problem-solving which are necessary to succeed in any field. They’re also becoming even more important as automation changes and disrupts our job economy.

One of our survey respondents, an 18-year-old male from NSW, agrees.

“I think the best advantage TAFE has over a university is the fact that their courses are made to get a student into a specific job, while some uni degrees can be really expensive, but not really practical,” he said.

An important influence

While your child’s post-school pathway is ultimately their choice to make, parental influence is both inevitable and important to acknowledge. In fact, our research shows that the highest portion of youth (48%) get their most trustworthy advice from their parents/caregivers.

It’s clear that the discussions you have with your children about their future play a significant role in their decision making, and as such it pays to be well informed.

By understanding the benefits of TAFE NSW and communicating this to your children, they get to develop an informed view of their options for further study that prepares for a strong future.

What Steve Jobs Can Teach Gen Z About Life Choices

What Steve Jobs Can Teach Gen Z About Life Choices

Steve Jobs was a smart guy.

Not just because of the iPhones, iPods, iPads and Macintosh computers that have defined him, but because he knew what was right for him. After his first semester of college in 1972 he dropped out. Dropping out can feel like the end of the world for some, but for Steve it was just the beginning of creating his.

Sitting in physics and philosophy classes at Reed College he was bored. So he left. Instead of slogging away in a vain attempt to please others or delude himself, he embarked on some life-changing exploration of the world and himself.

From Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography:


Jobs quickly became bored with college. He liked being at Reed, just not taking the required classes. In fact he was surprised when he found out that, for all of its hippie aura, there were strict course requirements. When Wozniak came to visit, Jobs waved his schedule at him and complained, “They are making me take all these courses.” Woz replied, “Yes, that’s what they do in college.” Jobs refused to go to the classes he was assigned and instead went to the ones he wanted, such as a dance class where he could enjoy both the creativity and the chance to meet girls. “ I would never have refused to take the courses you were supposed to, that’s a difference in our personality,” Wozniak marveled.< guilty, he later said, about spending so much of his parents’ money on an education that did not seem worthwhile. “All of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition,” he recounted in a famous commencement address at Stanford. “I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out okay.”

He didn’t actually want to leave Reed; he just wanted to quit paying tuition and taking classes that didn’t interest him. Remarkably, Reed tolerated that. “He had a very inquiring mind that was enormously attractive,” said the dean of students, Jack Dudman. “He refused to accept automatically received truths, and he wanted to examine everything himself.” Dudman allowed Jobs to audit classes and stay with friends in the dorms even after he stopped paying tuition.

“The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting,” he said. Among them was a calligraphy class that appealed to him after he saw posters on campus that were beautifully drawn. “I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.”

After that Jobs went and trekked through India for eight months where he dove into hinduism and spirituality. When he came back home Steve Wozniak and him started Apple Computer on April 1, 1976. This same month would have been when he graduated from his four-year degree had he stayed on. It’s the sort of symbolism that the lives of legends are made of. The fork in his life diverging in movie-like fashion just as the script of one of the modern world’s great lives was starting to be written.


And while every young person isn’t going to drop out and become a billionaire tech visionary, Steve Jobs’ lesson is simple. Follow your passions.

When we asked our Year13 Gen Z audience what’s the most important factor when deciding on their career, the number one most important they told us is a career that matches their passions. It’s more important than money, flexibility, work culture and the opportunity to travel. While the latter are all important and desirable in their own ways, they’re meaningless without the first.

Despite this, students uncertain about their futures regularly end up in university even though they might be better suited to something else. This is because university today, just as it was in the 70s when Steve Jobs was a teenager, is widely perceived by young people, parents and schools as the default path to success.

In Australia 20% of first-year university students drop out from their degrees each year. While there are many reasons for students dropping out, it is clear that for some it is due to the fact that they are pursuing an area of study they are not passionate about and so are likely not suited to. While it might sound bad on paper, these dropouts have probably just made one of the best decisions of their life because they’re one step closer to finding what it is they should be doing with their life.


As Steve Jobs said in that Stanford speech of dropping out, “it was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

He went on to say: “Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later.

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that will make all the difference.”


Jobs then told another story just as profound as the first.

“My second story is about love and loss. I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents’ garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started?

“Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.


“I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down — that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologise for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

“During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world’s first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.


“I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

At the risk of simply copying Steve Jobs entire speech out in full, here I’ll leave you with one last snippet of his wisdom which every Gen Z should read.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

6 questions the C-suite must answer to achieve digital transformation

6 questions the C-suite must answer to achieve digital transformation

by Alison DeNisco Rayome in CXO on May 23, 2018, 9:53 AM PST

In the book What’s Your Digital Business Model?, MIT researchers uncovered what makes top performing companies thrive in the digital era. We’re sorry, but a problem is preventing your video from playing.

While most leaders of large legacy companies recognize both the threats and potential opportunities inherent in digital, they tend to lack a common language to assess their specific situation and give them direction about how to move forward.

Enter the digital business model. In a presentation at the 2018 MIT CIO Symposium in Cambridge, MA, Peter Weill, chairman of the MIT Sloan Center for Information Systems Research, and Stephanie Woerner, a research scientist at the Sloan Center, explained the concepts behind their new book What’s Your Digital Business Model?: Six Questions to Help You Build the Next-Generation Enterprise, and what makes top-performing companies thrive in the digital era.

In the book, Weill and Woerner collected data from more than 1,000 companies globally. They uncovered six key questions that senior management teams must engage honestly with if they are going to successfully digitally transform their organization:

1. What is the digital threat and opportunity?

Take the case of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), a major European bank. The bank examined the threat landscape, and found a tough economy, pressure on margins, waning customer satisfaction scores, new regulations around privacy and open banking, and competition in the form of online banks and platforms offering financial services. However, each of these areas opened a new opportunity for the bank, particularly between customer behavior and retail banks, Weill said in the presentation.

2. Which business model is best for your enterprise’s future?

Banks fundamentally sell products, such as car or house loans, Weill said. But customers are now looking for ways to solve life events like finding and buying a house or car, or booking a trip, from end to end. “You have two choices,” Weill said. “You can manage the first model, which is under significant threat and will be a lot of cost, or you can say, ‘We’ll move to a different model that tries to meet the life event needs of our customers.”

“It’s not just about being a bank, it’s about being a knowledge-based information company,” BBVA executive chairman Francisco González told Weill in the book. “We are building the best digital bank of the 21st century,” to “bring the age of opportunity to everyone.”

3. What is your digital competitive advantage?

Legacy organizations often have several digital competitive advantages that they may not immediately realize, Weill said. For BBVA, these included customers, branches, products, and data. “You might not use them or integrate them all as well, but you have significant competitive advantages,” Weill said. “One of the hardest questions when working with senior management teams is ‘What are our advantages, and how do we make most of them?'”

4. How does the digital era help connect you?

This question involves determining how you can connect customers and systems using technologies like mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT), Weill said. “The opportunity for you as a bank is to put customers in control through mobile devices, and maybe IoT, big data, and other technologies,” Weill said. The CIO can play a particularly large role in taking on this question, he added.

At BBVA, a customer’s mobile device acts as their remote control for the bank, with most products purchasable on the device. They can also use their phone to book an appointment at the branch, or direct message their account manager.

5. Do you have the critical capabilities to reinvent the enterprise?

If not, you need to determine what abilities you have to develop to do this, Weill said. It might involve partnering with other organizations, such as, in the case of a bank, realtors or insurance companies. You also need to integrate siloed products to deliver on life event needs, and draw more on analytics, Weill said.

BBVA created a number of new groups that provide core competencies across the entire bank, González said in the book. For example, it created an engineering department that combines what was previously operations, IT, and a number of products–the argument being that in the digital era, those three are the same, and should be one group.

6. Do you have the leadership to make the transformation happen?

The researchers found that at companies that successfully transform, half of the executive committee members turn over–and that’s okay, Weill said.

After going through this process, BBVA has seen a number of positive outcomes, Weill said. In the past 10 years, the bank increased its net promoter score by 20 points on average across all markets. Digital now accounts for 36% of all products and services sold. And the digital customer based grew by 44% in 2017 alone, to reach about 18 million customers.

CIOs at top-performing organizations (defined as those in the top 25% of net margin relative to industry) take on five particular tasks, Woerner explained in the presentation:

  • Work with their organization to identify the threats and opportunities that digital brings
  • Work directly with customers, and help amplify their voices throughout the company
  • Innovate, by setting the vision, integrating data, and consolidating organizational silos
  • Work with, or join, executive committees, to set a plan for transformation and open up that plan to the organization
  • Open up systems. Top-performers think about APIs, and work with executive committees to find the crown jewels of the company that they want to open up and use as a basis for innovation throughout the company.

Executive committees at top-performing companies spend 44% of their time identifying digital threats and opportunities, the research found. And at these successful organizations, 51% of systems are enabled with APIs for external users–a key part of ramping up innovation, Woerner said.

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The 10 most in-demand tech jobs of 2019

The 10 most in-demand tech jobs of 2019

by Alison DeNisco Rayome in CXO on November 28, 2018, 4:00 AM PST

Experts predict companies will continue to hire cybersecurity, AI, and developer roles throughout the year. We’re sorry, but a problem is preventing your video from playing.

The tech jobs landscape of 2019 will likely look largely the same as it did in 2018, with roles in software development, cybersecurity, and data science dominating across industries.

“Emerging technologies will be key catalysts for the in-demand jobs we expect to see in 2019,” said Sarah Stoddard, community expert at job search site Glassdoor. “From artificial intelligence, automation, virtual reality, cryptocurrency and more, demand for jobs in engineering, product, data science, marketing and sales will continue to rise in order to support the innovation happening across the country.”

More and more often, traditional companies are beginning to resemble tech companies, and this trend will likely continue throughout the next year, Stoddard said. “As employers across diverse industries, from health care to finance to automotive and more, continue to implement various technologies to streamline workflows and boost business, the demand for top-notch workers who have a balance of technical and soft skills will continue to rise.”

Here are 10 of the most in-demand tech jobs of 2019, according to recruiters and career site experts.

1. Cybersecurity engineer

Security is a major concern for companies and consumers alike in our connected world, said Marc Cenedella, CEO and founder of executive job search site Ladders.

“Because of this emphasis on organizational safety, we’re seeing a huge upswing in the number of security engineer jobs meant to be the first line of defense to safeguard lucrative products and services,” Cenedella said.

Internet of Things (IoT) security will become a particular area of focus, as connected devices become staples in daily life and cybercriminals look to exploit them, said Stephen Zafarino, vice president of national recruiting for recruiting agency Mondo. “Companies are definitely looking to figure out how we can protect these new products that we’re putting online and make sure they’re not a vulnerability,” Zafarino said.

2. AI/machine learning engineer

The explosion in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies across the enterprise has led to increased demand for these professionals. “Everyone’s trying to figure out ways to optimize their businesses and their practices, and how to automate and make their day-to-day lives a little bit easier, or a little bit more productive and functional,” Zafarino said.

3. Full stack developer

Full stack developers are among the most in-demand by employers right now in terms of open job postings, according to data from job search site Indeed.

“Some companies are moving away from siloed back-end and front-end development teams, which requires hiring developers who can work on all levels of the application stack,” said Paul Wallenberg, head of technology recruiting services at staffing and recruiting firm LaSalle Network.

4. Data scientist

Named the no. 1 best job in America by Glassdoor for the past three consecutive years, data scientists are expected to remain in high demand in 2019, as nearly every company now has the ability to collect data, and all need employees who can effectively organize and analyze this information.

“Companies are continuing to increase their own proprietary data, but are also looking at ways to incorporate third-party data to understand problems impacting their business, and having data science competencies internally enables them to do that,” Wallenberg said.

5. Python developer

The rise of AI and machine learning technologies has led to increased demand for Python developers in the enterprise, Zafarino said. The fastest-growing programming language, Python is also relatively easy to learn, and has a large developer community.

6. Java developer

Java developers will remain in high demand in 2019, according to data from Indeed and Glassdoor. Despite the growth of programming languages like Python and R, Java continues to dominate the enterprise, with the growth of the cloud keeping it on top.

7. JavaScript developer

JavaScript also remains popular in the enterprise, and will continue to in the new year. “Companies that have development teams structured between front-end and back-end teams are hiring technologists whose strengths lie in using various JavaScript libraries and frameworks to deliver more compelling user interfaces,” Wallenberg said.

8. Cloud engineer

Job postings that include the terms cloud computing or cloud engineer have gone up 27% since 2015, according to Indeed. “As companies move away from an on-premise infrastructure model to a cloud-first approach when upgrading or designing new environments, the need to hire technologists with cloud experience has increased dramatically,” Wallenberg said.

9. Scrum master

Organizations are increasingly turning to Scrum to organize software development, and this method will break out even more in 2019, Cenedella said. “Thousands of companies are hiring so-called scrum masters for the purposes of achieving excellence in self-organization and making changes quickly in their Agile environments,” he added.

10. DevOps engineer

As the DevOps workflow grows increasingly popular, more organizations are seeking DevOps engineers, according to Indeed. The number of job postings mentioning DevOps rose from less than 1% in 2012 to more than 24% in 2017, another Indeed report found. These professionals also ranked no. 2 on Glassdoor’s 2018 Best Jobs in America list.

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6 Gen Z Stats Every Boss Should Know

6 Gen Z Stats Every Boss Should Know

There’s a constant problem in the workplace and it goes beyond colleagues nicking the avocados you’ve kept hidden in the fridge.

Sure, that kind of crime is enough to ruin your week, but the problem being addressed here is that bosses tend to be overwhelmingly and irrevocably out of touch. That’s not being provocative for the sake of being provocative, either – that’s just how the world works.

You see, by the time one of us has climbed the ranks high enough to be in charge of hiring other employees, chances are an entirely new generation has sprouted up to join the workforce.

Today, employers know very little about what makes their new and prospective Gen Z workers tick. What they expect from the workplace, what motivates them to work hard, the issues they’re facing – it can all be a bit of a mystery.

Yet we know they and Millennials already make up the largest share of the labour market – more so than Boomers and Gen X. This means that for organisations to remain relevant and attract the best young employees, they need to adapt and actually listen to what they’re asking for.

Meanwhile, a report by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) has revealed that if youth unemployment and underemployment were brought to the same levels as the rest of the population, it would create up to $11.3 billion addition GDP for Australia.

It’s clear that the communication gap between employers and young people is causing problems that ripple throughout society. To help alleviate these problems, here are some Gen Z stats our research has uncovered that every boss needs to know.

1. 40% say the hardest thing about finding a job is that they have no experience

In our After The ATAR II report we collated the data from over 4,000 survey responses to create a picture of Gen Z lives in Australia. We found that for those that are unemployed, nearly half found their lack of experience to be a major barrier to getting a job in the first place.

It’s a cruel kind of catch-22 that’s symptomatic of the struggles young people regularly face. In today’s labour market, entry-level jobs have been replaced by unpaid internships and a university degree no longer guarantees immediate employment.

Employers dealing with Gen Z applicants should be understanding of this current climate and are encouraged to be part of the solution, not the problem – especially when considering previous work experience isn’t necessarily an indicator of future performance.

2. 73% won’t work for a company that isn’t making positive actions for the environment

The majority of Gen Z don’t just believe in human-made climate change – they’re actively making decisions that reflect their conviction. This means they’re paying close attention to organisations and their environmental track records before engaging with them, whether that’s working for them or buying their products.

The key takeaway here is that it’s time for bosses and business owners to acknowledge the economic benefits of doing good for the environment. More than just a social stance, it’s quite simply a savvy business move for companies hoping to future-proof their organisation.

3. 39% would like to work for a company remotely while travelling

Today’s young people are more travelled than any generation before them, but when it comes to Gen Z travel isn’t just for fun – it’s a work opportunity, too.

Growing up as digital natives means the world is both profoundly smaller for them and more connected. As such Gen Z are never far from their emails or Instagram feeds, even when they’re on the other side of the globe. Their entire understanding of the workplace is being redefined, with many believing they no longer need to be tied to a specific location to be productive and preferring the freedom of remote working.

For more unique insights into the lives of Gen Z, be sure to attend our Youth Engagement Summit 2020. You’ll hear from the experts at Year13 plus other keynote speakers, and we’ll be releasing our annual report After The ATAR III.

4. 42% have had a side-hustle to earn extra money

A side hustle is anything you do to make money outside of your regular job. Whether it’s photography or e-commerce, the prevalence of hustle culture among Gen Z reveals two things – that they’re more money focused than you’d think, and they’re willing to work harder when it comes to something they’re passionate about.

Due to stagnant wages and rising housing costs, it’s also a necessity for many to simply stay afloat. Don’t be surprised to find out your young workers are actually doing extra jobs on the side. If that bothers you, maybe it’s time to pay them more.

5. When taking into consideration apprenticeship earnings vs university debt, 64% of Gen Z would consider an apprenticeship more seriously

Apprenticeship employers throughout the country are struggling to fill their positions, often referring to a lack of interest amongst younger generations. However, our research has continually shown that young people are not considering these careers because they don’t fully understand what the pathway entails.

Simply informing Gen Z about apprenticeships and their benefits can improve consideration. In this case, we highlighted that an apprentice electrician could earn just under $130,000 over their four-year apprenticeship.

Conversely, the average university Arts student graduates with $20,000 worth of HECS debt. Knowing that they could come out up to $150,000 ahead by doing an apprenticeship instead of a degree meant a whopping 64% of Gen Zs told us they would consider an apprenticeship more seriously.

6. 32% say they did or will take a gap year

While gap years were once reserved for the economic elite or perpetually aimless, these days they’re viewed as a common occurrence – and favourably, too. This is because what happens on gap years is shifting. 78% of our Gen Z respondents say the purpose of a gap year is to figure out what they want to do after school and 54% say it’s to gain work experience.

Nowadays common features of a gap year include working, volunteering and studying short courses, both abroad and within Australia. Gap year takers told us they left them feeling better prepared for their post-school education and their careers. As a result, workers who’ve taken gap years should be seen as an asset.

Do You Agree With This Student’s Defence Of The ATAR?

Do You Agree With This Student’s Defence Of The ATAR?

Just as we presented one student’s astonishing rant for why the ATAR needs to go, here we’ll present one student’s thoughts for why it should stay.

This 18-year-old from NSW methodically laid out his case for why the ATAR, even with its problems, is the best system for HSC students wanting to enter into university.

However, with just 35% of Australian Gen Zs agreeing with the ATAR system according to our research, his position would almost certainly put him at odds with the majority of his classmates who want to dump the ATAR.

Read on and see what you think about his defence of the ATAR. Is it fair? Or is it just keeping with the status quo and lacking bold vision for change? We’d love to know your thoughts.


“Unpopular as it may be, the ATAR system is the only way to objectively judge people’s abilities, and provide some standard for who gets in and who doesn’t. I acknowledge it has issues where people will optimise themselves to beat it, but that would be true of whatever system they put in place.

If ATAR was replaced with a more comprehensive objective score, that took into account more time (say years 10-12), students would be forced to start working harder earlier.

If the ATAR was replaced with an indicator that included extra curricular activities, you’d be making it worse for the poorest people who need the time to work/manage their lives/study, and who would now have to do extracurriculars (look no further than the US college system).

If the ATAR was replaced by uni applications, that would preference those who were inner city majorities because they tend to have better interview skills, more relatable things to talk about, it’s easier for them to travel, and because of bias (either conscious or unconscious) on the part of the admittance panel.


I’ll also acknowledge here that the ATAR also has bias towards inner city majorities, but it’s important to note it’s easier to overcome a lack of study material than an interviewer’s bias, and tragic as it is, if you grew up in a place where your education did not allow you to get a great ATAR, chances are you don’t have the educational background for a high achieving uni course. Obviously that’s terrible, but it’s something the government is responsible for, not the ATAR system, and they should get their act together.

For the one person who is truly ready and was held back solely by the ATAR system, there is always a way for passion to overcome the boundary, and the ATAR system doesn’t necessarily prevent that (particularly of note are alternative entry schemes, bonus points etc).

Speaking of bonus points etc., It’s important to note also that those are part of the ATAR system. Universities acknowledge the ATAR as the only objective way to rank students (excluding the LAT and UMAT), but from that they can optimise for other things like past achievement or learning through bonus points, and make up for the educational systems failures with bonuses for RARA (rural and regional Australia) students or those from low SES (low socio-economic status) areas.

Of course the ATAR system isn’t perfect, there is no way to measure everybody perfectly, but the choice is between a system that ranks people on academic achievement, wholistic achievement (i.e. academic + extracurricular), an independent metric like IQ (which simply doesn’t work and isn’t very predictive) or not ranking people at all (which then has issues with the subjectivity of that system).

Given ranking on academic achievement is the best of those four, the ATAR does a pretty good job of being a middle ground between minimising pressure (not too many exams) vs minimising chance (not just one massive exam), of being wholistic across school achievement, and of being a rudimentary comparison metric. Take a 90 and an 80 from anywhere, on average the 90 will be a better student. Perhaps it’s not so great at a 90 and an 89, but that sort of resolution is only used right at the top, where pathways and bonuses make up for its lack of fine distinguishing ability.”

The 10 fastest-growing jobs of the next decade—and what they pay

The 10 fastest-growing jobs of the next decade—and what they pay

Published Sat, Sep 7 20199:30 AM EDTJennifer Liu@jljenniferliu

Getty Images

The fastest-growing job over the next decade sounds like something out of a science fiction novel.

Solar photo-voltaic installers (or, just solar panel installers) will be in demand through 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest employment projections. The bureau expects today’s 9,700 workers in the field will grow to 15,800 over the next 10 years, or a boost of 63%. Those who hold the role, which involves assembling, installing and maintaining solar panel systems on rooftops or other structures, earn a median salary of over $42,000 a year.

Aside from solar panel work, the need for healthcare workers will also rise sharply. Home health aides and personal care aides top the list of fast-growing jobs, and median pay hovers at $24,000. The round-the-clock job generally provides low pay for high demands — both physically and mentally — which is bound to become more common as share of the aging population continues to grow. Home health care has grown by 150% to nearly 2.3 million workers in the past 10 years, according to The New York Times. Professionals are mostly women of color, and about one-third are immigrants, the Times reports.

Overall, the BLS projects the creation of 8.4 million jobs in the next 10 years, with an estimated 169.4 working Americans by 2028. People age 65 and over are expected to stay in the workforce longer. Meanwhile, the share of working young Americans ages 16 to 24 will continue to decline, due to more people going to school as well as displaced opportunities as older workers fill jobs historically held by younger adults.

Service-providing jobs will continue to grow, especially for those in health care and social assistance, private educational services and construction. However, retail trade, wholesale trade, utilities, federal government and manufacturing sectors are projected to lose jobs.

Here are the top 10 jobs expected to grow the most in the next 10 years, plus their median annual wage in 2018:

1. Solar photo-voltaic installers

Median annual wage: $42,680

Projected growth: 63%

2. Wind turbine service technicians

Median annual wage: $54,370

Projected growth: 57%

3. Home health aides

GP: home health aide

Median annual wage: $24,200

Projected growth: 37%

4. Personal care aides

Median annual wage: $24,020

Projected growth: 36%

5. Occupational therapy assistants

Median annual wage: $60,220

Projected growth: 33%

6. Information security analysts

Median annual wage: $98,350

Projected growth: 32%

7. Physician assistants

Median annual wage: $108,610

Projected growth: 31%

8. Statisticians

Median annual wage: $87,780

Projected growth: 31%

9. Nurse practitioners

Nurse talking to patient in hospital bed

FS Productions | Tetra images | Getty Images

Median annual wage:$107,030

Projected growth: 28%

10. Speech-language pathologists

Median annual wage: $77,510

Projected growth: 27%

What The Instagram Egg Can Teach Us About Youth Engagement

What The Instagram Egg Can Teach Us About Youth Engagement

The world’s most famous Instagram egg is back in the news cycle after it ‘cracked’, baring a positive message regarding mental health. While at the outset totally bizarre, the whole spectacle – from the initial record being broken to the recent reveal – can teach us some valuable things about youth engagement.

It started in early January when a simple photo of a brown egg was posted by the account @world_record_egg with the following caption:


“Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this ”

The post gained over 18.4 million likes in less than 10 days, quickly surpassing Jenner’s post of her newborn daughter Stormi. As of now, the egg has over 52.2 million likes and the account itself has over 10 million followers. More than just the most liked post on Instagram, the egg is also the most liked online post on any social media platform.

On January 19, the account uploaded its second ever post – a photo of the same brown egg, identical except for a small crack on the top left corner. Subsequent posts showed the crack growing larger until an announcement that all would be revealed in an ad produced by and aired on streaming service Hulu after the Super Bowl.

The commercial features the world record egg sharing its story about ‘cracking’ under the pressure of social media and directed viewers to the non-profit Mental Health America. The Instagram version of the ad directs users to a list of useful mental health links.


This whole experience, unique as it is, magnifies a few social trends we’ve identified as strong factors driving successful youth engagement strategy.

Community over celebrity

According to one of our past surveys, 49% of youth say ‘young people following their dreams’ are the stories that inspire them, compared to just 5% for celebrities and 4% for social media influencers.

This is supported by additional research conducted by digital agency Deep Focus that states 63% of Gen Z prefer to see ‘real’ people in ads compared to just 37% that prefer celebrities.

These are the attitudes underlying the movement that overthrew mega-celebrity Kylie Jenner for Instagram superiority. Fatigued from constant marketing featuring the rich and famous, it was easy for young people – the demographic that embraced the egg the strongest – to rally behind a seemingly absurd opponent to this hyper glamourised celebrity culture.

Whereas years ago it was a photo of Kim Kardashian that ‘broke the internet’, today it is a stock image of an egg. This shows that we as an audience – and in particular the youth cohort – are moving past the whole concept of celebrity endorsement. We want authentic stories from genuine people, and we’d rather support a nonsensical egg than champion a celebrity.

Positivity over profits

Once the record was broken and people all over the world caught wind of the unprecedented popularity of the Instagram egg, there was instant speculation as to how it would be monetised. Money follows eyeballs, as they say in the marketing world, and early estimates had the worth of this particular egg at $10 million.

The Super Bowl has a long history linked with advertising, with many companies throwing huge budgets and their best creative minds to come up with commercials to captivate the millions of viewers tuning into the game. With the first meme of 2019 set to capitalise off this huge marketing moment, many were excited to see which brands would be winners in this race.

As it turns out, the commercial was somewhat of a PSA promoting conversations about mental health and encouraging people to seek out help if they need it. Instead of inking a deal that could have netted them lucrative commercial benefit, they decided to spread positivity and support non-profits.

This is aligned with a trend we have observed concerning brand purpose and corporate responsibility (read our case studies on Gillette’s and Nike’s latest offerings). Instead of focusing solely on the bottom line, brands are committing themselves to social causes – much to the delight of the younger demographic.

Youth are hard to predict

Despite the fact that the Instagram egg’s success can be attributed to a number of growing social and marketing trends, it would be brash to claim that such an event was foreseeable. As it turns out, many online behaviours of young people are unpredictable and don’t always make sense to the older marketers whose job is to engage them.

Previously we’ve explained some unique ways Gen Z are using Instagram, and this world record egg seems to be a culmination of all these behaviours.

While looking at stats and research is a helpful way to gain insight into the youth market, it’s not always feasible for a company to sink the time and resources needed to stay ahead of all the latest trends. Hiring young people for their valuable insights into what best engages them is something we do consistently at Year13 and it’s always met with huge success.

The Booming Industry Gen Z Don’t Want To Work In

The Booming Industry Gen Z Don’t Want To Work In

Cranes summon giant towers from the CBD floor.

New light rails and motorways snake from the inner city to the burbs.

From north to south and east to west tunnel boring machines cut subterranean veins for metros to glide along.

All the while homes, homes and more homes spring up anywhere there’s a spare inch of space. Hopefully, somewhere near one of the above.

Welcome to Sydney. And practically every other major city in Australia. Growing with the ferocity of a teenage footy player. Except, speaking of teenagers, apparently someone forgot to tell them all about this.

It’s not that they can’t see all this stuff being built. Many have no doubt copped a taste of the mess that has been the construction of the Sydney CBD Light Rail. Or they’ve enjoyed some of the fruits of the new metros and motorways. But what they often can’t see is how this all translates into their own futures.

Because upwards and sideways expansions in buildings and infrastructure means jobs. It’s also meant a national skills crisis. With so many projects in the pipeline the supply of tradies hasn’t been able to keep up with the demand for their labour.

But this is a message young Australians aren’t getting.

Year13’s YouthSense research has found schools are not talking with students about jobs with skills shortages. Just 15% of Gen Zs said that their schools had encouraged them to look into jobs with skills shortages as part of their career advice.

All the while the construction industry struggles to attract career interest from Gen Z. Just 13% said that they are interested in working in the construction industry.

In our survey of 1400 15-24-year-olds nationwide this compares to the 38% of respondents who said that they are interested in working in healthcare and social assistance, 35% in education and training and 28% in professional, scientific and technical services. The Australian Federal Government has outlined these three and construction as the top four industries for jobs growth until 2023.

The Australian government in its most recent budget announced that it’s investing $100 billion in transport infrastructure projects over the coming decade. An Infrastructure Australia audit has also found inaction surrounding the skills crisis and major infrastructure projects will cost the economy $39 billion a year by 2031.

Despite this, trades, TAFE, VET and construction just don’t get a lot of airtime in schools.

A 19-year-old from Queensland told us how this happened at her school.

“I think teachers just need to be more supportive and encourage students who want to complete trades rather than a bachelor’s degree,” she said.

“I find a lot of teachers try and force university onto students who already know they want to complete a course at TAFE.

“I feel teachers are the main reason why many students push themselves into university so perhaps they’re the ones who need to be educated more on the difference.”

The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business says that there is a skills shortage in the construction trades industry for eight occupations. They are bricklayers, stonemasons, cabinetmakers, carpenters and joiners, fibrous plasterers, glaziers, plumbers and wall and floor tilers.

According to Seek’s salary tool cabinetmakers and carpenters each take home on average about $68,000 a year while plumbers make $71,000. Meanwhile, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians as well as electricians pull in about $83,000 per annum and fitters, turners and machinists about $79,000. The average Australian salary is $82,750.

Despite the healthy pay on offer The Department of Employment’s latest data found 41% of Australian construction employers did not attract any suitable applicants for their job vacancies. Meanwhile, national apprenticeship and traineeships numbers have fallen from 446,000 in 2012 to 259,385 in 2018.

On top of this, 17% of the high schoolers we surveyed said that they intend to do an apprenticeship or a traineeship. This compares to 68% who said they are planning on going to university.

However, an 18-year-old from NSW told us how he was set to buck the university trend and make the most of the construction boom.

“I’m looking for alternative paths that allow me to explore the booming industries with practical and theoretical knowledge,” he said.

“I am currently working a part time job while doing the HSC as an ATAR student, however, I dread the idea of uni and its turnover rate to make slaves to work for a system that rewards the people at the top.

“My plan is to use my knowledge and ambition to rise to the top of the construction industry as I believe for humankind to develop you need to develop the buildings, facilities and states.

“With a growing population and a push towards building more infrastructure there is bound to be development and a boom in the construction industry.

“Transport and housing buildings need to be built to accomodate a growing nation and different generation. This is my ambition and I think society needs to have a higher trend of smart tradies who are practical and trained specially to perform tasks that benefit the future.”

All Australia needs now is more young people with his mindset. It’s time for more schools to start planting that seed of inspiration.