My oldest son, a junior at an elite university in California, went to a traditional college prep high school where he claims he was imminently prepared for post-secondary studies but did little to improve his chances of entering the workforce.

That sample size is too small to make generalizations about Gen Z learners. Dell Technologies has given us a lot more data to chew on in their recently released report, Gen Z: The Future Has Arrived. The survey collected responses from 12,086 Gen Z students ages 16-23.

Some of the highlights of the survey:

  • 97% say that technology literacy matters
  • 73% rank their technology literacy as good or excellent
  • 80% believe that technology and automation will create a more equitable work environment
  • 57% rank their education as good or excellent at preparing them for their future career
  • 52% are more confident they have the technology skills employers want than non-tech skills

The survey collected responses from 12,086 Gen Z students ages 16-23. We were most interested in two findings because they show the dreaded “skills gap” and a cognitive disconnect between what teachers thought they were providing and what students thought they were receiving.

Both data sets have implications for leaders in education and business. In terms of the skills gap, the team at Dell suggest the following:

  • Tech mentorship: IT leaders should explore programs to address tech skills disparities among workers.
  • Non-tech skills: Companies can help Gen Z build soft skills and confidence through internships, job rotations, and other programs.
  • Teaching for success: Schools must teach students how, not just what, to learn. Critical thinking, logic, judgment, and creative drive are skills coveted by employees.

Read the full article about Gen Z and the skills gap by David Ross at Getting Smart.