The Z factor: Can Gen Z fulfill Romania’s economic potential?

| McKinsey Direct

Since Romania joined the European Union in 2007, its economy has grown rapidly, outpacing the EU-27 average by four times. To converge with the predicted EU average of 1.1 percent by 2050, Romania needs to sustain this growth at a rate of at least 2.3 percent per annum. To do so would generate a much-needed €307 billion increase in GDP. These funds will be critical to supporting the rising healthcare demands of Romania’s aging population. But to achieve this economic potential, Romania must focus on nurturing the skills and well-being of the generation that will be driving economic growth going forward—Generation Z. By 2050, Gen Z will account for a third of Romania’s workforce and—with a median age of 48—the country’s leaders. The burden of supporting Romanian society will thus fall mainly on Gen Z’s shoulders.

Will Gen Z be able to unlock Romania’s economic opportunity? To answer this question, we surveyed Romania’s Gen Zers about their proficiency in the six core attributes essential for propelling the economy forward: practical education and digital skills, financial stability, mental and physical well-being, commitment to greater social equity and diversity in the workforce, a strong sense of social responsibility, and a proactive, entrepreneurial spirit. Based on their responses, we offer a broad set of measures that public and private actors can implement today to prepare Gen Z for future leadership.

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