Careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are among the top choices of Generation Z (Gen Z) students, according to the 2022 Career Interest Survey, which was conducted earlier this year by The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). Read on to learn the factors that are driving these high-achieving students to pursue careers in these in-demand industries and how Vaughn College has the degree programs and partnerships to get them there.

Who are Gen Zs?

Members of Generation Z are individuals who were born after 1997. They are considered the most diverse American generation and are larger than any preceding age group. At more than 90 million members, the oldest Gen Z members are 25 years old. So, why is this generation choosing STEM fields as their top career choices? Let’s find out.

Why are Gen Zs choosing STEM careers?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand in STEM fields is projected to grow by 10.5 percent over the next eight years. The survey revealed how students are shifting their focus from degrees in education, the arts and legal studies and opting to major in fields where they can make an impact on the economy and the world—such as in STEM-related jobs and healthcare. Another finding revealed that not only is the STEM field the number one career choice among respondents, but it continues to grow particularly among female and black students. Careers in these in-demand fields bring job security, high-paying salaries and room for advancement, thus making the degrees more appealing.

Check out our blog, “Engineering Ranked Among Most Valuable College Majors,” to learn why engineering and STEM-related majors top the list as being among the most valuable degrees.

What factors matter most

The survey revealed the goals, preferences and attitudes of high achieving high school and college-aged individuals, as well as their feelings toward employment and career aspirations. As stated earlier, the diverse nature of members of Gen Z places them in a unique category where equity for all is a priority. In fact, more than one-fifth (22 percent) of respondents said their own experiences with racial inequality influenced their career choices, and one-third fluently speak a language other than English. Here are some of the factors that matter most to the Gen Z group when looking for their first full-time job is concerned:

Professional growth
  • Provide in-person training
  • Opportunity to learn skills for the purpose of career advancement
  • Pathway to promotion
  • Professional development opportunities
Personal preferences
  • Reflect and respect diversity
  • Fair treatment of all employees across all genders and races
  • Offer employer flexibility
  • Display corporate social responsibility
  • Have a boss who is like a mentor
  • Upper management must have good communication skills

Listen to our latest podcast featuring Vaughn alumna Kirei Watson ’18 (mechanical engineering major) and how she broke down barriers to land and excel in her job as a rotational program engineer at Collins Aerospace.

How can a Vaughn degree get you there?

Another key takeaway from the survey is the discovery of the love of learning among the Gen Z group—especially when it comes to hands-on training. At Vaughn College, our degree programs in engineering and technology, computer engineering and aviation offer students the best of both worlds: Lecture instructions by professors with real-world experience and hands-on instruction where students put what they’ve learned to work. In fact, the rapid advancements in technology are making these degrees some of the most sought-after by today’s college-bound students. And were you aware that aviation degrees can fall under a STEM-related focus in some instances? Today’s staffing shortage crisis in the aviation industry is increasing the demand for jobs across the board.

Check out our blog, “Virtual and Augmented Reality Shape the Future of the Aviation Industry,” to learn how immersive technologies are a billion-dollar gamechanger in the aviation market.

Vaughn provides invaluable industry connections and experiences

Vaughn is committed to the success of its students. By providing invaluable programs like Employer Engagement Days, Open House and Info. Session events, career fairs, speaker series and our Computer Engineering Summer Boot Camp, Vaughn goes above and beyond to ensure that its students have the opportunities and access to industry leaders who are ready to hire. Here are some industry giants, federal agencies and airports that actively recruit Vaughn students:

  • Atlas Air
  • Boeing
  • Cyient
  • Delta
  • Endeavor Air
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Jet Blue Airways
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • LaGuardia Gateway Partners
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Metro-North Railroad
  • NASA
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Pratt & Whitney
  • SpaceX
  • Sikorsky
  • Textron Aviation
  • United Airlines
  • Volvo

What is NSHSS?

The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) is an acclaimed academic honor society which recognizes and serves high achieving student scholars in more than 26,000 high schools across 170 countries. These academically outstanding students represent the most promising diverse talent for the emerging workforce and their communities.

About the survey

The survey revealed the opinions and insights of over 11,000 of the highest achieving high school students, college students and recent college graduates who represent Gen Z in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. military bases overseas and U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Are you ready to be a part of the next generation of professionals in the emerging STEM-related industry? A degree from Vaughn can make your dream a reality. Apply today!