Gen Z ‘disruption ready’ for future of work

25 Nov 2019

  • 62% of 18 to 24 year olds say their tertiary education has prepared them for work
  • 44% expect to have between two and five career changes
  • 30% are already part of the ‘gig economy’

Despite facing unprecedented changes in technology and automation, the latest generation to enter the workforce are educated, disruption ready and optimistic about their working futures according to the latest MYOB Future of Work report.

The report, based on an MYOB Business Monitor Snapshot survey of over 500 respondents aged 18 to 24 from around the country, covers Generation Z’s views on their education, the modern workplace and the changes they expect to see over the coming decade.

Learning for life

According to the study, almost two-thirds of respondents felt their tertiary training had prepared them well for the workforce, while 75% said they are using the skills they learned in their current role.

However, nearly half of the 18 to 24 year olds surveyed found it difficult to get work after they finished their studies.

MYOB Head of Employee Services Felicity Brown says it is interesting to see young people still valuing a traditional university education given emerging trends towards things like micro learning.

“Over three quarters of our Gen Z respondents think it is important or extremely important to get a tertiary qualification in order to gain employment. However, around 60% think they’ll need to keep training in order to stay competitive and keep their jobs secure, which is likely a valid assessment,” she says.

Changing workforce

Security of work is a key issue for a significant proportion of Generation Z.  Forty four percent expect to have between two and five career changes in their lifetimes, with 30% describing their current role as part of the gig economy, where they work to variable hours based on the needs of their employer.

The 18 to 24 year olds surveyed were also seeking their own flexibility, with 35% supplementing their current work with a second job or ‘side-hustle’. Despite growing concerns about the increased cost of living, 65% of respondents are currently making enough to live on.

Since entering the workforce, young people have already seen the start of significant changes to the patterns of work, with the move towards greater workplace flexibility (36%) and the adoption of AI and automation (25%) the biggest changes that they have seen in the workplace in the past five years.

Changing roles and expectations

Ms Brown says our latest generation of workers are looking for different things from their careers, with culture and flexibility high on the list.

“Interestingly, less than half of our Gen Z respondents put a competitive salary on the list of important factors they look for in a career, closely followed by finding an employer that is committed to making a positive social impact,” she says,

Despite seeing the adoption of AI, automation and robotics as having the greatest impact on the workplace in the next decade (44%), most expect their current role to exist unchanged (44%) or be only slightly changed (44%) in the future. Just 9% thought their role would cease to exist within a decade, because it would be replaced by automation (50%) or the industry would cease to exist (40%).

However, with technology and AI becoming more capable of doing the heavy lifting in the workplace, young people are putting a greater emphasis on their social and creative skills. Half (50%) of people aged 18 to 24 think that having soft skills will help support their future career, over hard skills like data analysis (41%).

 “While expecting your current role to remain unchanged may seem overly optimistic – and in reality may be different to what will happen – this demonstrated optimism and increasing awareness of the importance of soft skills can only be a good thing for this emerging workforce generation,” says Ms Brown.

Fears for the future

Ms Brown says, like previous generations, today’s young people are concerned about making ends meet.

“They are also dealing with several unique concerns – such as climate change, the housing crisis and the rise of global extremism – that shape the way they think about the future, and in particular how that will affect their work,” she says.

“What they are also looking for, though, is a little more understanding, with nearly half of our Gen Z respondents saying that people over 35 don’t appreciate the challenges they face in the future.

“Millennials (Gen Z and Y) will soon make up the majority of the workforce by the end of 2020 and employers and colleagues alike have much to learn from this generation.

“They are totally immersed in the digital economy, open to doing new things and incredibly resilient when it comes to facing some of the world’s biggest challenges – and wanting to make positive changes that will improve the lives of people around the world,” says Ms Brown.


The MYOB Future of Work report is now available for download from the MYOB media centre.




For further comment or other information please contact:

Lenska Papich, MYOB NZ Corporate Affairs Manager

M: 021 410 496 / E:

Gerard Blank, The Agency Communications Limited Director

P: 03 341 5841 / M: 0275 243 629 / E:


About MYOB

MYOB is a leading cloud-based business management solutions provider. It makes business life easier for approximately 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and in 2015 was awarded the BRW award for the most innovative large company for 500+ employees and placed 2nd in BRW’s Most Innovative Companies Award list across all categories nationally.  For more information, visit or follow @MYOB on Twitter.

About the MYOB Future of Work survey

The New Zealand MYOB Future of Work survey was conducted using Pure Profile’s consumer panel. In total, 503 respondents aged 18-24 from around New Zealand were surveyed. Over a third of the respondents (36%) were in full time work, 21% were working part time, and 3% were self-employed. A fifth (19%) were still in full-time study at the time of the survey. A quarter of the 18- to 24-year olds in the study have completed a university degree, 13% have a tertiary degree from a polytechnic and 15% have completed further training after high school. Working respondents represent a mix of technical and skilled workers (26%), professionals (25%), sales and clerical staff (16%), and people in unskilled or labouring jobs (10%) or other occupations (16%). The survey was conducted online from 30th September-11th October 2019.