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New Data Reveals Generation Z Grads Are Less Interested in Education Pursuits for Higher-Paying Jobs

Clearwater, FL – May 24, 2018— As graduating high school seniors scramble to finalize college plans, a new shift is unfolding in higher education as admissions and academic teams grapple with changing career aspirations amongst the largest generation in U.S. history—Generation Z. New findings from Digital Media Solutions, LLC (DMS) reveal that a smaller percentage of high school graduates are inquiring about programs that can lead to higher-paying careers such as law (-90%), technology (-47%), business (-40%) and engineering technology (-27%) in comparison to the prior year. For decades, a college degree has served as the basic requirement to qualify for a number of higher-paying jobs. Yet today’s labor market continues to transform due to technology advances and always-on communications mixed with a unique dynamic of multi-generational staffers that make up the most diverse adult population in American history.

“As more of Generation Z graduates high school and explores entering the workplace, higher education institutions are seeing first hand a new series of motivational factors in the inquiry stage unlike ever before,” said Jeff Meola, Consumer Insights Director at Digital Media Solutions. “Gen Zers have seen their family and friends struggle financially from the 2009 recession and student loan debt and also manage other lifestyle stressors, so their career pursuits differ from previous generations. Academic institutions and employers need to understand these motivating factors to engage this group that wants to enrich their lives via meaningful, flexible and rewarding careers.”

This snapshot report covers trends in the inquiry generation activities of higher education institutions for the period of January 2016-December 2017, with an emphasis on prospective students with a high school graduation date in 2016 or 2017. The data also reveals the most unpopular degrees and higher education programs among high school graduates as attitudes toward working life and a polarizing culture continue to impact the hearts and minds of young people. According to the findings, fewer students are interested in pursuing journalism careers as the idea of “fake news” permeates American culture. At the same time, blue-collar programs, such as mechanics and precision production, have seen an increase in student interest.


About Digital Media Solutions

Founded by a team of lifelong athletes, Digital Media Solutions, LLC (DMS) is an industry leader in the world of customer acquisition and retention that helps clients maximize their digital marketing to beat the competition and accelerate growth. The company’s set of proprietary assets and capabilities in the world of performance marketing, digital agency services and marketing technology allows clients to meticulously target and acquire the right customers. DMS relentlessly pursues flawless execution for top brands within highly competitive industries. DMS continues to experience explosive year-over-year growth, with continuous recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017; the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s TBBJ 200 List in 2015, 2016 and 2017; the Entrepreneur magazine 360 list in 2017; and a top 10 ranking on the 2015 and 2016 Florida Fast 100 lists. Named one of America’s “Best Places to Work” in 2017 by Inc. magazine, DMS brings together some of the industry’s most knowledgeable people, efficient processes and sophisticated technology across the digital and marketing spectrum. The company continues to deliver on its strategic mission, which is backed by its board of investors including multi-billion-dollar Canadian private equity firm Clairvest Group. For more information about DMS, its consumer finance-focused brand Best Rate Referrals, it’s education-branded platforms including,,  or the performance marketing technology Sparkroom, visit Keep up with DMS news at and connect with us on LinkedIn at


© 2018 Digital Media Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Digital Media Solutions and its logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Digital Media Solutions, LLC. All other company and product names referenced herein are the property of their respective owners.

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Digital Media Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: DMS) is a leading provider of technology-enabled digital performance advertising solutions connecting consumers and advertisers within auto, home, health and life insurance plus a long list of top consumer verticals. The DMS first-party data asset, proprietary advertising technology, significant proprietary media distribution and data-driven processes help digital advertising clients de-risk their advertising spend while scaling their customer bases. Learn more at

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