John White, MBA en Professions, Workers, Careers, Students Columnist • Inc Magazine 7/10/2017 · 2 min de lectura · 3,5K

Learn Why Some Top Gen Zers Are Skipping School to Become Entrepreneurs

Learn Why Some Top Gen Zers Are Skipping School to Become Entrepreneurs

Something amazing is happening with Gen Z: 61% of Gen Z who are still in high school and 43% of Gen Z who are in college say they would rather be entrepreneurs than employees when they graduate. This is a major shift from recent generations like the Baby Boomers, who were all about landing the perfect job right out of college and then riding it out to retirement.

There are a number of factors contributing to this shift, but one thing is clear: Gen Z is going to disrupt the college-to-career cycle for good.

The prospects in traditional jobs aren't looking very good to Gen Z. Unemployment is higher now than it was in 2000, and wages are lower than they were in 2000. These days, more than a third of the workforce are freelancers, a lifestyle that was once reserved for photographers and writers.

What's more, 79% of freelancers are doing it not because they have no other options, but because they say it is better than working a traditional job.

When you work for yourself, you set your own educational requirements and attainment goals. Maybe a four-year degree doesn't fit into your lifestyle, but learning incrementally on your own does. E-learning has come into play with many entrepreneurs, and there are even e-learning and program-based opportunities that target young entrepreneurs.

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship partners with organizations to teach young people entrepreneurial skills. According to NFTE, "To activate the entrepreneurial mindset in young people, NFTE's Pathway begins with igniting the imagination and takes students through the journey of creating and refining an original business concept.Students are guided by NFTE's expert entrepreneurial Teacher Corps, and supported by entrepreneurs and successful business people."

Students engage in projects and competitions to hone their entrepreneurial skills. As a result, more than half of program participants earn 50% more than their peers, and 25% have started at least one business.

College choices should be made with career options in mind

There have been plenty of high-profile college dropouts who ended up making it big, but not even Bill Gates recommends going that route.

According to a Harvard Pathways to Prosperity study, the United States has the highest dropout rate of any industrialized nation, even though "A disparity looms large in the United States between the career training most young people receive and the availability of well-paying employment. Just over half of 25-year-olds have any sort of postsecondary degree, but the vast majority of jobs -- including almost all of those that can sustain a family -- require a credential beyond a high school diploma."

The study cites the following problems with the current educational cycle:

  • Students go to college without a clear career path in mind.
  • Students choose majors without thinking of how it will fit into a career path.
  • Students graduate with an average of $25k in student loan debt and no employable skills.
  • Nearly 40% of students drop out before reaching graduation.

Vocational schools and other training programs can help to bridge this gap, as can intervening in college decisions to offer suggestions about the direction the economy may be headed.

In other words, just because the job you want looked good ten years ago doesn't mean it will still be around by the time you graduate.

Some countries have successful career pathways programs

The Harvard study continues, "In many European countries, companies aren't sitting back and then wringing their hands when kids want jobs but don't have the necessary skills. Instead, employers get in at the front end.

They define the standards, they help shape the programs, and most important, they provide paid internships or apprenticeships. U.S. employers don't invest much in training for anybody except their managers and executives."

Giving students a clear direction and solid advice on which to base their college and career decisions benefits the entire economy.

Until then, we are likely to continue to see high unemployment rates, high dropout rates, and students with college debt they can't afford to pay.

Entrepreneurship is the best possible path for many Gen Zers

Small businesses have continued to grow steadily in the United States over the last several decades, and by some estimates small businesses make up 99% of the economy.

Getting a college degree is still important even if you are planning to own your own business, but you have to make sure that your degree serves you and not just the student loan people.

Learn more about educational options and why Gen Z is skipping school from this infographic from Online Schools Center.

Originally published on

Lisa Gallagher 11/10/2017 · #23

Great info @John White, MBA. Couldn't agree more, college has become way too expensive and jobs are lacking. Kudos to the younger generation for their innovation, drive and desire to become an entrepreneur. I love your info graphic and wow- forgot how much Zuckerburg has matured since that photo was taken.

I wish they still trained people for jobs based on their willingness and intellect. That's how I became a Respiratory Tech and Cardiac Lab tech- OJT (On the job training) because there was a need for it and people believed in me. I was going to finish college back then but the pay and experience was too good to pass up. Sadly, after we moved I wasn't able to work in the fields I grew to love and know so much about because everyone required a College degree. I'm also a tactile learner, so not all of us are 'so called' College material. I did go on to get my Associates when my kids were in middle school & HS but wasn't able to return for personal reasons- financial being one of the largest after I had to start paying my own student loan and a Parental Plus loan for one of my kids. For those who aren't aware how much student loans can cost- lets just say, they can be more costly than a house payment each month. Go Entrepreneurs!!

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Jerry Fletcher 10/10/2017 · #22

Show me an entrepreneur without some education and I'll show you an accident getting ready to happen. In today's world even a high school diploma is insufficient to suggest one has the capability to build a company. Even some college as Jobs, Gates and Zuckerberg had are questionable.For way too many years in my opinion we have pushed aside trade education in the USA based on the idea that everyone should go to college. What was once learned in high school is now pushed into Community Colleges and as a result is delaying young men and women from their still required apprenticeship.The only ones that will profit from this trend is the adult education market and the charlatans that prey on the aspirations of these young people..

If they are still around in a few years (and legit) the positioning line of Phoenix University "WE RISE" will be justified.

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Javier 🐝 beBee 10/10/2017 · #21

#20 @Milos Djukic I agree. Skipping school is not a good thing. At least, we need an important education

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Milos Djukic 9/10/2017 · #20

Skipping school is not a good idea.

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Wayne White 8/10/2017 · #19

This was a great article for many baby boomers also rather have their own rather than the traditional route. In my situation, I have a disability and I thought of the almost perfect business for myself and many in my age group can't stand being turning down for a job when they are clearly qualified for the position or worst than that, some 20-30 something has a parent issue and they are the one to seem to be your boss. Imagine, just because they had a bad childhood they turn around and take it out on you for just being there and wanting to work and be left alone. Mr. White, thank you for a great article and have a great day.

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Harley King 8/10/2017 · #18

Great article, John.

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Linda Adams 8/10/2017 · #17

Interesting article John. I was a late baby boomer, and not only were you encouraged to find a job for life, but girls weren't even encouraged to go to college and university, as we were only taught needlework, cooking and girly sports like netball in high school. I was horrified when I later learned girls had marks deducted in examinations so they didn't do as well as boys. We weren't allowed to do metalwork, woodwork nor play football. I remember my dad being horrified when I wanted to change jobs after two years into my first job - for a promotion, as you rightly say it was finding a job until retirement. It was a sad day when my granddad retired, having worked in the same job from age 14 to be given a gold watch at 65. As he said, what is the point of having a watch when you retire, and people were old at 65. So I say all the best to the Gen Zers. And yes, I left the formal employment and became an entrepreneur - nothing like having your own company. Regards, Linda

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