Gen Y Career Paths Still Being Mapped

The career paths of Generation Y Kiwis (Gen Y) appear to be a work in progress. New research released today by SEEK has shown that while 61% of Gen Y are currently working, over half of these are not yet working in their chosen industry, with 25% yet to even decide which field they want to build their career in.
Janet Faulding, general manager of SEEK New Zealand, says; “Many in this group are at a stage in their lives where the future is stretching out before them with seemingly endless options, so it’s natural that some of them are still deciding what they want to do.
“However, if they want to establish a successful and fulfilling career, they will need to start making some decisions about the path they want to go down and put a plan in place to ensure they get there,” she says.
For those who have decided on a career path, the greatest hurdle to landing their desired job is employers want candidates to have experience relevant to their industry. Yet only one quarter independently sought out an unpaid internship or work experience within their chosen field while studying.
Sarah Beck, Head of Recruitment at SEEK, says young New Zealanders should make gaining relevant industry experience a key part of their career plan in order to land their first choice of job.
“Anything that demonstrates a candidate’s willingness to seek out experience relevant to the industry they want to work in is going to be highly advantageous. This will not only position them well to secure roles, but also speaks volumes about the individual in terms of motivation and drive,” she says.
While unpaid work experience isn’t popular, a mind-set that any experience can be considered good experience sees the majority of Gen Y willing to work in a different industry than their chosen career field just to get into the workforce.
For those Gen Y Kiwis still unsure of where they want a career, there are benefits to be gained by experiencing a variety of different jobs in different industries. As Ms. Faulding explains;
“Half of the difficulty with deciding which field you want to make your life’s work is knowing whether or not you’ll enjoy the job. Any work experience, relevant or not, can be beneficial early on in your career as it can provide a taster of different opportunities.
“Seeking out work experience in different industries can be a great way to get an inside look and help you begin your career journey in a job that brings you more satisfaction,” she concludes.

About SEEK’s Generation Y research

  • The research gathered the opinions of more than 850 18-24 year old Kiwis during February 2013.
  • SEEK’s research also found:
  • 61% of Gen Y are currently in paid work
  • Of the 39% not working, 56% are applying for or looking for jobs
  • 68% say the greatest hurdle to landing their first job is that employers want experience, but that they can’t get this without first getting a job