We asked 5,000 ambitious Gen-Z’ers who are on a leadership track, what they believe the future of the C-suite looks like. Here’s what they said:

The profile of a Gen Z CEO

  • Gen Z CEOs will be phenomenal leaders of people, deft communicators, and share a creative streak, say future leaders.
  • CEOs of 2050 will not all be university qualified, but rise through the ranks through experiential learning programs, complemented by online education
  • This generation of CEOs will prioritize honing their soft skills over acquiring hard competencies.
  • As a cohort, they value curiosity, learning agility and adaptability.

Firm on Soft Skills

  • 69% believe soft skills will be more important than hard skills for future C-Suite leaders
  • The #1 skill needed by future leaders is an ability to successfully manage people and teams
  • ‘Communication’ and ‘Creativity’ are the other top skills future leaders need to hone
  • Gen Z’ers think today’s C-Suite leaders aren’t making the grade on soft skills – people management and leading teams was seen as the skills current CEOs need to work on the most, followed by creativity & EQ

Up-ending Executive Education

  • 51% believe CEOs will not need college degrees by 2050
  • More than half (55%) say apprenticeships and experiential learning are the best way to develop future leaders
  • Non-traditional education such as online courses or bootcamps will also gain popularity (24% believe these are the best route to prepare future leaders)
  • Only 6% believe that University degrees are the best way to prepare future leaders with the soft skills they will need to lead

Preparing Gen Z to lead, or not?

  • Gen Z’ers see their strongest skills as curiosity, learning agility, adaptability and creativity.
  • They feel the current education system is not preparing them effectively for project management, data driven decision making, negotiation, and complex problem solving
  • They also feel underprepared on cross-cultural and inter-generational awareness

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