No long-term impact of the Corona crisis on the future of Generation Z.

Experts stress the importance of educational innovation and updating knowledge to prepare youth for the new digital economy

March 16, 2021
New research from Oxford Economics in collaboration with Snap reveals that despite the challenges young people now face, Generation Z (people born between 1995 and 2010) is doing better than expected. The demand for the skills and traits inherent in young people is only increasing due to the pandemic, which is accelerating many developments.

Extensive research, conducted in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia, shows that Generation Z will actually benefit from changes in the way we live, work and communicate through COVID-19.

Digital economy
The research examines recent developments such as the strong increase in digital communication, telecommuting, the increasing use of e-commerce and other online services, and their impact on the job market. It is expected that by 2030, three quarters of jobs will require advanced digital skills. As the first generation to have grown up with technology from birth, Generation Z – which in the Oxford Economics analysis has outperformed all other age groups in digital skills – will be able to benefit more than any other generation from this growing need for digital skills. In addition to digital competence, Oxford Economics has discovered that there are three characteristics of Generation Z that are likely to be beneficial in the workplace of the future: flexibility, creativity and curiosity.
A job in augmented reality (AR), a market expected to be worth ten times its value by 2023, is a good example of the type of career that requires this combination of technical skills and creativity. Today, AR is mainly used for entertainment, but experts predict that this fast-growing technology will be used in many industries in the coming years – from marketing and education to construction and agriculture – to simplify operations, reduce human error and training. .

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Share Gen Z
Oxford Economics predicts that Generation Z’s share of income in the overall economy will increase from three percent to 20 percent between 2019 and 2030. Their average salaries have increased by about 250 percent over the same period. Generation Z income will grow from $ 440 billion today to more than $ 3.5 trillion, which is equivalent to 11 percent of total household spending in the six economies by 2030.
Henry Worthington, Director of the Oxford Economics Commentary: “Simply put, in the near future, employees will have to do work that computers cannot do. Not only are robots going to take our jobs away, we need to make sure that we train the next generation to think and act in ways that computers cannot. Our research shows that in youth we should focus less on knowledge acquisition and focus more on multifaceted education that focuses on applying this knowledge, creativity and critical thinking.
Claire Vallotti, International Vice President, Snap Inc. Says: “Young people have faced enormous challenges during the pandemic so far. But, as Oxford Economics research shows, their outlook is not bad, especially if we can adequately prepare young people for a rapidly changing digital economy. Technologies such as augmented reality could play a role in many different aspects of society in the future and will increase the demand for creative and new tech digital skills over the next decade. Entrepreneurs place a lot of value in augmented reality on the so-called “soft skills” that Generation Z possess, including creativity, agility, and a passion for learning.

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Educational innovation is essential
This promising image comes with a caveat. If Generation Z is to take full advantage of the transition to a more digital economy, experts say the government, schools and universities need to catch up. Not only does it make up for months of interrupted learning time, but a fundamental educational reform is also needed. As with previous recessions, the economic shock that followed COVID-19 is now expected to unleash a new wave of automation, this time mainly affecting higher-education professions. The analysis shows that this means that in the future there will be much greater demand for technical knowledge and so-called “cognitive skills” such as creativity and critical thinking.
To further develop tech talent and augmented reality in all walks of life, Snap has launched a number of global initiatives that have reached more than 10,000 young people so far. For example, Snap Lens Studio workshops are being held in India, France, the United States and Malaysia, where young people are taught all kinds of augmented reality skills.

Steps to take
To ensure we support young people and help them make the most of their unique skills after the pandemic, Oxford Economics is calling for the following steps to be taken by business, government and education:

1. Closing the education gap: The epidemic has seriously disrupted the learning process of young people. This may negatively affect the economic outlook of Generation Z, preventing them from making the most of the opportunities offered by the new digital economy.
In order to catch up, it can be a good idea to update knowledge in small groups, especially for young people from underprivileged families where not all resources are always available for home study.

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2. Redesigning Education: Formal education continues to focus on acquiring knowledge rather than developing the skills needed to interpret that knowledge. Today’s global education systems are not doing enough to stimulate the creative and flexible thinking that is precisely what is needed for jobs in the next decade.
Education should focus more on learning to solve problems and less on the regular testing of factual knowledge. This will be an effective way to develop these types of skills.

3. Using technology for retraining: The COVID-19 virus has accelerated the transition to a more digital economy, and has permanently changed many industries. Additional training should be available to all groups of society, so that no one is left behind.
Governments should consider how relatively new technologies such as augmented reality can help when training workers for jobs that require more digital skills, especially in situations where only limited material resources are available.

4. Lifelong learning: Data from the OECD survey indicate that just under half of adults are participating in learning. But in order to continue to adapt to gaps in change and skills, learning will become more important to all employees, and to motivate this, companies must require candidates not to obtain their certification as evidence of the training they have undergone, but to demonstrate the training. Their dedication to learning outside of traditional systems.

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