To be or not to be, just like your parents?

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The potential career opportunities in 2023 are endless. From sales, to healthcare, to social media and digital marketing- not only are there more industries to choose from than ever before, but there are actually more jobs available than people to fill the roles.

As a recent college graduate in 2021, I was the first person in my family to graduate college with a business degree. As I reflected further, I realized not a single person in my family graduated with the same degree or pursued the same career path. Is this an anomaly? Or is there a pattern among generations to pursue similar career trajectories as parents of family members?

Written by Via Valenti, a DEI Strategy Consultant

A 2021 study by Joblist found that when asked the question “How much did your parents influence or try to influence your career” 52.1% of Gen Z’ers compared to 49.9% of Millennials and 45.7% Gen X’ers felt parents try to, or did pressure their career decisions. Similarly, 54% of respondents felt that their parents forced them to go to college, with Gen Zers and millennials saying so more than Gen Xers. Additionally, 2/3 of Gen Zers said their parents discussed the importance of their preferred career path with them, compared to 50% of Gen Xers.

Now, just because generations feel the heat to pursue similar trajectories as their loved ones, doesn’t mean they actually do. But across all generations, 65% of respondents today work in the field their parents wanted them to. One factor that influences this connection is the industry of former generations. Newer generations are more likely to pursue similar paths in fields such as trade, politics/law, and healthcare compared to those with parents in office jobs. The likelihood of pursuing the same industry as your parents is also impacted by gender, with working sons of working fathers on average being 2.7 times as likely to have the same job but only 2 times as likely to have the same job as their working mothers, and daughters of working mothers being 1.8 times as likely to have the same job as their mothers and 1.7 times as likely to have the same job as their fathers.

So, do we have an answer to the lingering question: To be or not to be, just like your parents? I think we’ll have more information in years to come where more Gen Z and Gen Alphas enter the workforce. But for now, we’d love to know what influenced you to pursue the job or industry you’re currently employed in?

Via Valenti is a DE&I Strategy Consultant and resident Gen Z expert at GVC, an inclusion business strategy firm. To learn more visit

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