Gen Z - They're doing better than you think

Gen Z - They're doing better than you think

At last, here’s some good news—Gen Z is doing better than you think when it comes to careers, wages, and finances. They’re no longer relying on Mum and Dad's bank; they’re super savvy about their future plans and smart with their money. Here’s everything you need to know about the most powerful generation yet.


Generation Z are the generation born between 1997 and 2012, and as of 2024, there are nearly 13 million of them in the United Kingdom. The youngest members are 12, while the oldest are 27. Having spent their formative years doom-scrolling and in the midst of a pandemic, they are not (as the papers would have us believe) gripped by an epidemic of anxiety and gloom but slowly and surely taking over the world. 


We may have had cheaper housing, no university fees, and a better job market, but Gen Z is not letting this hold them back. They are seeking out their own ways to make money, have fun and find work. Here’s why they’re about to take over the world.


Gen Z & Careers


Wanting our kids to find successful careers, financial security, and a good quality of life is a concern for all parents, but statistics show a surprising and optimistic view of what lies ahead for Gen Z.


Not only is the concept of a 'job for life' fading fast, but our research shows 43% of kids happily anticipate having between 5 and 10 jobs throughout their lifetime. With a third (33%) of youngsters anticipating they’ll earn at least £30,000 for their initial full-time position, their expectations align realistically with the current median gross annual earnings for full-time UK employees***.


Ambition remains high among Gen Z however, with data showing kids are aiming to work in new-age tech careers with fully flexible roles in companies with a strong social conscience. Wages for Gen Z are also rising at a much faster pace than they are for older workers, and the youth unemployment rate across the developed world is at its lowest in decades. 


In America, the income of a Gen Z-er, after adjusting for taxes and transfers, comfortably exceeds that of a millennial or a Gen X-er at the same age in real terms. In the UK, the average hourly pay of people aged 18-21 rose by 15% last year, outstripping pay rises among other age groups by an unusually wide margin. 


Finally, Glassdoor, the job review site, found that entry-level salaries for Gen Z ranged from 23k to 41k, with the best-paid entry-level jobs for Gen Z dominated by investment banking analysts (£50,752 median base salary), software engineers (£34,106), and business analysts (£32,142).


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."


In terms of how they want to work, nearly 69% of the UK’s Gen Z are considering or already engaging in freelancing, self-employment, or simply working for themselves. Research from Fiverr looked at the view of 3,016 UK-based 16-26-year-olds and found a shift in  Gen Z away from 9 to 5 towards valuing autonomy and flexibility. GoHenry’s Youth Economy Report also found over a quarter of kids (26%) plan to be their own boss in the future – and one in five (21%) say that this is a priority for their future career. 


Gen Z & Housing


Data from Generation Rent shows that the average time to save for a deposit in England is 9.6 years (it was 6.8 years in 2012), and figures from Wayhome revealed that the average property is now an eye-watering 10.6 times the average annual salary. With that in mind, it’s good to know that among those currently planning to buy or who are in the process of buying their first home, seven in ten (69%) say they made compromises on the property. 


The most common reasons were ‘not being able to buy in the area they’d ideally like to' (31%), 'not being able to buy a home in as good condition as they’d like' (18%), and 'being unable to afford any spare rooms’ (17%).

The good news is Gen Z are epic savers when it comes to big buys like housing. Our latest research* shows that almost three-quarters of young people (74%) don’t expect their parents to help pay for their wedding, 72% don’t expect their parents to help them buy a house, and 64% don’t expect their parents to help foot the bill for the cost of their education.


More than four in ten kids aged 6-18 (42%) also say that events like the Covid pandemic and the cost of living crisis have made them more likely to start saving early for these big life events. Our data** reveals that GoHenry kids and teens are saving 145% more than they did last year, while more than a third (35%) of young people are already planning to save to buy a house, with 65% of those who are already saving putting away up to £1,500 for this purpose*. 


Gen Z & Future Finances


There’s an equally bright outlook for Gen Z on the financial front. In 2023, GoHenry data showed children amassed £168 million, marking an 8% increase from the previous year. Their average weekly allowance of £9.52 represents a 25% uplift.


GoHenry kids also earned over £274 million, with an average weekly pocket money of £8.35 per child. The average amount that parents pay in pocket money increases with age, so six-year-olds receive an average of £3.33 per week, rising to £15.78 per week for 16-year-olds. 


Best of all, kids saved an average of £3.23 per week, rising to £4.15 in London. The average amount saved increases with age, and by the age of 18, they’re saving an average of £9.35 per week – which is almost £500 per year. 


This is at a time when 84% of kids would like to have more financial education in school, and nearly half (49%) of all secondary school teens said they’re worried about leaving school without any money skills. 

Knowing that financial education at school is lacking hasn’t held back Gen Z's interest in financial empowerment. Many actively seek out information via financial education influencers, videos, podcasts, and apps. Informing themselves about everything from entrepreneurship and investing to earning power and saving as they start building a solid foundation for their own long-term financial well-being.
Written by Anita Naik Published May 21, 2024 ● 5 mins