The No. 1 industry Gen Z wants to work in, according to new research—it's not tech

Ivan Pantic | E+ | Getty Images

You won't find the most popular careers among young people in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street. 

Media and entertainment is the top industry Gen Z wants to work in, beating tech, health care and education, according to a new report from Samsung and Morning Consult.

The report, which surveyed over 1,000 Americans ages 16 to 25, found that Gen Z values flexible, creative jobs and careers where they can maintain a healthy work-life balance.

"Lifestyle is a big part of the attraction," says Ann Woo, the head of corporate citizenship at Samsung Electronics America. "Media and entertainment is a creative industry that offers flexibility and self-expression, two of the most important attributes younger workers want in a job."

Work-life balance trumps job security 

To be fair, 2023 has been a tough year to work in media and entertainment. Both WGA and SAG-AFTRA members went on strike for several months and companies have had to grapple with declining ad revenue and unprofitable streaming businesses.

Entertainment alone has lost over 44,000 jobs since May, at least partly due to the strikes, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Even so, Gen Z is a social generation that places a high value on community and societal impact over job security in their careers, Woo points out.

In several surveys, including the one from Samsung and Morning Consult, strong work-life balance, learning and development opportunities and creative freedom ranked as the top priorities for early career professionals.

Gen Z wants to become influencers — or have the freedom to change their minds

Gen Z is increasingly gravitating toward media and entertainment careers in part because more young people see social media influencing as a viable career path.

Some 57% of Gen Zers said they would like to become an influencer if given the chance, according to a recent report from Morning Consult. 

The rising popularity of platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and YouTube has created a new class of entrepreneurs called "creators," a group that includes freelancers, business coaches, gamers and other professionals who share and monetize their expertise on these platforms.

"Extremely online" Gen Zers, Woo notes, quickly realized that "as soon as you start producing content that attracts a following, you can get paid and become a business." 

Even as more young people turn their attention toward influencing and entrepreneurship, it doesn't mean they'll stay in these careers forever — and that's part of the appeal, says Woo. 

Gen Z plans to switch careers at a faster clip than previous generations, and according to a new report from EY, nearly 40% of Gen Zers have both a job and side hustle, with some aiming to become self-employed and others hoping to retire early.

Of all industries, media and entertainment has gained a reputation for being one of the most flexible, which is why Gen Z sees it as the most promising path to achieve their career goals "no matter how often those change," adds Woo.

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