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Nearly a quarter of adults in the North East feel they can't be themselves in their current job

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

New market research released today reveals that nearly a quarter of (24%) working adults surveyed in the North East don’t feel they can be their true self in their current job or career.

Nationally, this rises to nearly a third (30%) of Gen Z working adults – those aged between 18 and 23 – surveyed who feel they can’t be their true self in their current role. More than four fifths (85%) of this age group say they feel more at ease expressing their individuality outside of work.

Yet almost three quarters (73%) of all the working adults surveyed in the North East agree that expressing their individuality at work would allow them to be more satisfied with the job they’re doing, and an overwhelming (85%) feel it’s important to be able to express their unique individuality in daily life.

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The national survey of over 2,000 of the working population in England was carried out for Get into Teaching – the national campaign aimed at encouraging people to consider teaching as a career. It explores the general public’s views on what they can bring to the workplace and the extent to which people feel they can be their true selves.

The research asked respondents how it makes them feel when they do, or are able to, bring their ‘true self’ to work – in the North East more than two fifths (41%) say happier, 40% say more settled, and 33% say more motivated.

To coincide with the research findings, a new trend and insight-driven think-piece titled ‘Future Perspective: Why Gen Z could be great for the classroom’ has been released today by independent cultural forecaster Leo Sanders. In it, Leo explores the current cultural and popular trends which are actively influencing the lives of Generation Z, examining what sets this generation apart and why the talents today’s undergraduates possess could align with a career in teaching.

In Future Perspective, Why Gen Z could be great for the classroom, Leo Sanders highlights five cultural trends influencing the way Gen Z see and interact in the world:

  • Viral content creators: Gen Z are natural creators and editors of engaging audio-visual content that feels entertaining and memorable. This hands-on creativity could translate well in the classroom.

  • Generation contradiction: this generation isn’t bound by labels and feel freer to express and explore their purpose and passion. They may not always fit the mould, but they will stretch it, improve it, and make it reflect them. This generation will favour workplaces that enable them to continue exploring their passions.

  • Gamer state of mind: the skills of working with others, bringing things to life and problem solving are at the heart of gaming culture, and this generation is at the heart of its evolution. Gen Z has all the skills needed to foster a sense of community, support others and encourage discovery, invaluable skills for any classroom.

  • Inter-culturally connected: Gen Z is more diverse, is more comfortable expressing that diversity and they understand that everyone's experience is different and valid. The ability to bring this to a workplace and inspire the next generation, could be a very powerful reason to teach.

  • Activist by nature: they are finding ways to have a more positive impact – be that the food, fashion, careers or lifestyle they choose. In a classroom setting, this generation has the opportunity to amplify their impact. For Gen Z this could be a platform to inspire and equip future generations to take on the big challenges that the world and each individual will face.

Leo Sanders, an independent cultural forecaster andinsights specialist, said: “This generation won’t be content with going through the motions as they enter the workforce. The themes of individuality and creativity are especially strong across these trends, which could be a healthy match for a career in the classroom. The idea that teaching not only allows but thrives from people expressing their full selves is compelling and doing so in an environment that gives you the ability to inspire others to reach their full potential is truly motivating.”

When it comes to teaching, the survey also shows more than two thirds (69%) of the working population surveyed in the North East agree that school teachers are able to express their creativity and individuality when working alongside young people***, and nearly four fifths (79%) agree that a good teacher is someone who brings their personality and interests into the classroom.

Roger Pope, spokesperson for the Get Into Teaching campaign and a National Leader of Education, said: “Our research highlights the importance for most people of being able to express their individuality and bring their true self to work, which can make them feel happier and more satisfied.

“It is also encouraging to see how the cultural trends that are influencing the lives of young people, could align with teaching as a career. Ultimately what makes you, you, is also what could make you a great teacher. I would urge anyone who is looking to make their mark in the world to consider teaching. You’ll go home every day knowing you’ve made a difference in shaping the next generation, in your own unique way.”

To find out more about a career in the classroom and the free support available visit: or call the Get Into Teaching line on 0800 389 2500.

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