From new-age tech careers to purpose over pay: Kids’ eye view of the workplace

From new-age tech careers to purpose over pay: Kids’ eye view of the workplace

If you've ever wondered what your kids will be when they grow up, you’re not alone. Hoping your children will find a successful career, future financial security, and a good quality of life is a concern for us all. So, to get a good look at the future of work, we’ve gathered data from more than 435,000 GoHenry customers and a sample of over 2,000 young people aged 6-17. What we found was a surprising and optimistic view that will turn the future workplace on its head. 


Gen Alpha and Gen Z's work aspirations are not only far-reaching but inspiring, too. Our research shows they entail embracing new-age tech careers, valuing purpose over pay, having a greater regard for a good work-life balance, and breaking away from the traditional 9-5 grind.


Louise Hill, Co-founder and CEO of GoHenry says: "At GoHenry, we're all about empowering kids with the financial skills to thrive in any workplace - whether that's in a traditional job, a new-age role, or running their own business. It's inspiring to see younger generations confident about what they want and don't want from their future careers. Growing up amid Covid and the cost-of-living crisis, it's unsurprising that so many young people have developed such strong views, and employers must listen or risk losing out on top talent."

What kids want

Ambition is high among Gen Z and Gen A, with our data showing kids are aiming to work in new-age tech careers with fully flexible roles in companies with a strong social conscience. As digital natives, they're looking firmly at the tech world for their future careers, with kids wanting to become social media influencers (23%), gamers (13%), app developers (8%) or virtual reality (VR) developers (7%). 




“I want to be a professional gamer or game developer, and I attend a gaming academy every weekend to help me build the skills I need. I think I will need to use VR a lot so I can play and test new games. I want to be able to work from home so I can spend more time with my friends and family. I think it’s important that whatever you do has a positive impact on society. If you enjoy your job, money doesn't matter as much, especially if you are helping others."

Isla, 9

Even within more traditional careers, like teaching (15%) and being a vet (12%), emerging technologies look to become mainstream as kids anticipate mobile phones or tablets will replace computers (35%), robot assistants will help out (23%) and virtual and augmented reality will be a normal part of the day-to-day work (23%).

Purpose over pay 


Growing up during COVID-19, the cost-of-living crisis and climate change have had an impact, but rather than hold them back, these issues have mobilised Gen Z and Gen A into action, and 42% of respondents say they would rather have a job that positively impacted society but didn't pay as well than one that paid well but did not positively impact society. 


As a result, future employers should expect extra pressure on critical issues such as diversity and inclusion:


  • 68% of Gen Alpha and Gen Z think businesses need to do more to provide solutions to social issues

  • 65% believe businesses need to do a better job of making workplaces more inclusive

  • 60% think businesses need better representation in leadership positions when it comes to gender and ethnicity. 

  • As for standing up for what they believe in, over half (53%) of Gen Alpha and Gen Z say they will quit if an employer fails to fulfil its commitments on social issues*.

Job fears are still real


Despite their optimism about power in the workplace, kids aren’t immune to the fears that come with real-world work. When asked what worried** them most about their future job security, kids cited:


  1. The cost-of-living crisis (56%)

  2. The environmental crisis (50%)

  3. War and the state of the UK economy (both 49%)

  4. Lack of help from the UK government (46%)

  5. Toxic work culture and mental health (both 45%)

  6. Lack of financial education (43%)


On a positive note, with the concept of a 'job for life' fast fading into the past, 43% of kids happily anticipate having between 5 and 10 jobs throughout their lifetime. 


Side hustles are also expected to remain popular, with 31% aiming for a job with a steady salary alongside a secondary income stream to pursue in their spare time. 


As for income expectations, a third (33%) of youngsters anticipate earning at least £30,000 for their initial full-time position, aligning closely with the current median gross annual earnings for full-time UK employees***.


The optimistic outlook for Gen Z and Gen A is also promising on the financial front. In 2023, GoHenry data showed children amassed £168 million, marking an 8% increase from the previous year, with an average weekly allowance of £9.52, representing a 25% uplift****.


A better work-life balance


Kids’ predictions on the future of work also show that the demand for a good work-life balance is high. Gen Z and Gen A won’t be working long into the night and will see conventional work structures evolving to suit their needs.


  • Nearly a third (31%) of Gen Alpha and Gen Z envision flexible or condensed working hours. 

  • A quarter (25%) want fully remote work

  • 23% yearn for unlimited vacation days

  • 22% aspire to a 4-day working week

  • A fifth (20%) prefer no fixed working hours.

All of this is a cause for celebration, as the knock-on effect of what Gen Z and Gen Alpha want from the workplace will hopefully change working life for all of us. Enabling many to have jobs and careers that align with our values as well as giving us the time and energy to focus on the causes we care about - what’s not to love about that?



Unless otherwise indicated, this research, commissioned by GoHenry, was conducted by Censuswide with a sample of 2003 kids aged 6-17 years old. The survey fieldwork took place between 19.11.23 and 27.12.23. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society and follows the MRS code of conduct, which is based on the ESOMAR principles, and are members of The British Polling Council

*  ‘Strongly agree’ and ‘Somewhat agree’ answers combined 

** ‘Very worried’ and ‘Quite worried’ answers combined

*** ONS: Median gross annual earnings for full-time employees was £34,963 in April 2023

****GoHenry data is based on a sample of 479,952 GoHenry members active between 01.01.22 and 31.12.23
Written by Anita Naik Published Feb 15, 2024 ● 3 mins