What Gen Z had to say about the skills needed for success


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An education at one of our schools is about far more than simply academic results. We believe that a great education helps students succeed at whatever they choose to do or be in life.

We know there are key skills — resilience, confidence, creativity, and wellbeing — that can give young people the best chance of navigating whatever life throws at them. That’s why our teachers help our students develop these important skills, so alongside great academics they’ll achieve more than they ever imagined possible. 

We commissioned independent research to find out from 18 to 25-year-olds (aka ‘Gen Z’) in the USA, UK, and India to find out about the skills they think are vital for success – whether that’s at work, or in their personal lives. As you’ll see, whether it’s a Gen Zer living in London, Mumbai or New York, consistent themes emerge around what they think is needed to be successful and what they wish they’d learned more about at school too. 

Why Gen Z? Because they’re a generation who are graduating or starting work in a world that no one could imagine — a world that’s slowly emerging from a global pandemic, where working and studying virtually has been the norm for the last few years. Given how the world’s rapidly changing, the skills and attitudes needed for success are changing too, and the best schools are the ones who get — and stay — ahead of curve.


“In today’s workplace, especially for women, confidence in yourself is essential to have your ideas heard.” 


Confidence. That quiet inner knowledge that tells you: ‘I've got this’.


According to Gen Z'ers, it’s the most important skill for success in the workplace. In fact, 1 in 2 say being able to handle challenging situations is the number #1 skill needed for professional success. In hindsight, they also told us that it’s a skill they’d have liked their school to have helped them develop more. 


For some, it’s also about having the confidence to deal with the unknown too. With Gen Z stepping into careers and graduating in uncertain times, the value of confidence appears to be higher than ever. As one person put it, “Confidence means I’m more likely to take risks and seize new opportunities, or even create them for myself.”


Through our approach to personalised learning at Nord Anglia, taught by our exceptional teachers, we create a learning experience for your child designed to help them achieve more than they ever thought possible. Developing and nurturing their confidence is at the heart of our approach, because we know that when children are happy and confident, it’s when they learn best.

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“Life constantly throws curve balls at us. It’s inevitable, but it’s how we react to a situation that matters. Every action has a reaction and if we can control our reaction, we can control the outcome.”


Curve balls. It’s all part of life. And it’s clear Gen Z sees a need to be able to adapt quickly to their fast-changing world. The importance of resilience was highlighted by 45% of Gen Z’ers, who said the ability to deal with and bounce back from, challenging situations was vital.


We believe the best schools should help students develop their resilience, so they have every opportunity for success wherever life takes them. Whether it’s through leading presentations, artistic expression, expeditions, or being encouraged to join social outreach activities, at Nord Anglia we inspire and challenge our students to see the ‘art of the possible’ in whatever they do.


Solutions not problems. Critical thinking and problem solving are two skills that Gen Z’ers say are vital for success in their professional lives, and also ones they wish their education had helped them develop more. Creativity, of which problem solving is a large part, also ranks highly too.


The need for these skills is reflective of our challenging times. As one Gen Z’er told us: “Problem solving is, arguably, one of the most important skills a professional can possess in the current climate. With all the economic uncertainty, workarounds and the ability to think on your feet could be the difference between the success and failure of a business.”

1 in 5 Gen Z'ers told us that understanding or being self-aware of 'how I learn best and why' is important for success in their professional lives too. 


At a Nord Anglia school, our approach to teaching and learning means your child will develop these skills every day with lessons and learning activities that find solutions to problems. From little ones in Early Years through to Secondary School, we’ll help your child develop these 21st century skills every step of the way.

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“In a new working world where you’re expected to balance working from home with being in the office, it’s important to achieve a healthy work-life balance, which I do by taking time in the evening to focus on my wellbeing.”

The picture’s clear. According to Gen Z — when it comes to their lives at work and at home — times are tough and looking after their wellbeing has never been more important. When it comes to a happy personal life, nearly half (47%) chose wellbeing as a top skill.

Surprising? Not when you think about it. Gen Z’s the generation whose higher education and the start of their working lives was spent in lockdown and on countless virtual calls. What’s reassuring though, is just how dialled in Gen Z are to needing to look after their mental health and wellbeing.   

Wellbeing’s part of the fabric of our education at every Nord Anglia school. Whether that’s by making sure our teachers are trained by wellbeing experts, health courses for our students, or times set aside for self-reflection and mindfulness, there are so many ways we’re helping our students stay healthy – mentally and physically.

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an education for the future

Education’s never just been about exam results. It’s so much more than that — it’s about giving young people the experiences, understanding, and tools to become positive and impactful members of society, able to succeed and build their own futures. That’s why our schools give students the skills, attitudes, and qualifications so that they’re ready to make a difference in their local communities and beyond, no matter what challenges they’ll face in the future. Now, more than ever, our students recognise the need to make a difference.


When your child joins one of our schools, we’ll help them – every step of the way – to grow into a creative and resilient global citizen with the skills to change our world for the better. 


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