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Here’s Why Gen Z Is Opting Out of College — and What They’re Doing Instead

cat

Stupidman
Loyal

Here’s Why Gen Z Is Opting Out of College — and What They’re Doing Instead​

Josephine Nesbit
Tue, April 9, 2024 at 5:09 AM GMT+8·2 min read
whyframestudio / iStock.com

whyframestudio / iStock.com


Generation Z are turning to well-paying traditional trades rather than four-year universities to avoid high tuition costs and student debt.

Thanks to the rising costs of higher education, skilled trades are appealing to the nation’s youngest workers. According to Education Data Initiative, the average cost of college has more than doubled in the 21st century. Considering student loan interest and loss of income, the cost of a bachelor’s degree can exceed $500,000.

Enrollment in vocational training programs has also surged, while overall enrollment in community colleges and four-year institutions has fallen. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center recorded a 16% increase in enrollment last year at two-year schools with a focus on vocational programs. The number of students studying construction trades rose 23% during that time, while programs covering HVAC and vehicle maintenance and repair increased by 7%.

The median pay for new construction hires increased by 5.1% to $48,089 in 2023, The Wall Street Journal reported. By contrast, new hires in professional services, such as accountants or IT maintenance workers, earned $39,520 per year, up 2.7% from 2022, per data from payroll services provider ADP. This is the fourth consecutive year that median annual pay for new construction hires has surpassed earnings for new hires in professional services and information sectors, ADP noted.

Demand for trade apprenticeships is also on the rise. In a survey of high school and college-age people by software company Jobber last year, 75% said they would be interested in vocational schools offering paid, on-the-job training. Generative AI has also changed younger generations’ views on their careers and job security. The majority of survey respondents said they thought blue-collar jobs offered better job security than white-collar ones due to the growth of AI.

On TikTok, a young electrical lineman said he makes $200,000 per year, owns multiple homes, and the job also offers double time, overtime, retirement and union benefits, The Daily Mail reported. While the trades can be lucrative, they can be demanding. The lineman stays busy year-round, but he also works 60 hours or more per week, 16 hours per day.

“Like millennials before them, Gen Z has had the deck stacked against them,” attorney Michael Lux, the founder of The Student Loan Sherpa, told Newsweek. “A college degree remains essential for most jobs, yet tuition increases continue to outpace wage growth. Throw in years of inflation and rent price growth, and it becomes challenging to stay above water.”
 

Balls2U

Alfrescian
Loyal
Many are also turning to social media platforms to make money. Eg. becoming Infuencers and Youtubers, doing Livestreams, Affiliate Marketing etc.
 
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