June 14, 2024

Generation Alpha set to be most entrepreneurial yet, as new research reveals expectations for a world of ‘ultimate convenience’

  • New research1 reveals Gen Alpha’s expectations for a workforce that’s worlds apart from what is known today, as over three quarters (76%) aspire to be their own boss or have a ‘side hustle’, vs 13% who want to work for others.
  • Over three quarters of Gen Alpha (78%) have earned money in the past year, with almost half (43%) using technology to help them do so.
  • 40% of Gen Alpha think AI, virtual reality and smart assistants will be integral to their future careers.
  • Visa is searching for a ‘Junior Chief Innovation Officer’ as part of its call for businesses to innovate fast to get ahead of rising expectations.


Generation Alpha, born 2010 – 2025, expect a more seamless world which has the potential to reimagine local communities, affecting the way towns operate, how governments support them, and the way their economies are run. To explore these opportunities, Visa is inviting the next generation of innovators to put their ideas to the test in a human-centred design session with Visa’s brightest minds. They’ll also have the chance to be appointed Visa’s first ‘Junior Chief Innovation Officer’ as part of an industry-wide call out for businesses to act now to build experiences that fit the seamless lifestyle that tomorrow’s consumers expect.


Transforming communities and economies

In just four years, the first members of Generation Alpha will enter the workforce. Whilst Gen Z have already had a profound impact on the way businesses operate, the next generation is set to shake things up even further. Three quarters (76%) of children aged 8-14 aspire to either establish their own business, run a small enterprise, or pursue a ‘side hustle’, compared to only 13% who said they would prefer working for others. This is in stark contrast to the current make-up of the UK workforce, with just 13% of the working population working for themselves, and 86% working for others.2 If these expectations play out as the data suggests, Generation Alpha has the potential to completely transform how businesses and communities will operate in the next five to ten years.


A digital and AI-empowered generation

Generation Alpha are as deeply connected in the online world as the real one3. Visa’s research demonstrates the impact this is having on their financial understanding and attitudes towards earning, with artificial intelligence, digital experiences, and sustainability emerging as the most important elements.


  • More than three quarters (78%) of children have earned money in the last year, with chores like cleaning the house and cutting the grass being the largest income generating activity (71%).
  • Almost half (43%) of those who have earned money, used technology to do so. Social media (26%) emerged as the most popular tool for income generation.
  • 40% of Gen A think that AI, virtual reality and smart assistants will be integral to their future jobs.
  • Children are more than three times as likely to learn about earning money by watching digital content creators than traditional sources such as books (35% v 10%).
  • ‘TikTokers’ and ‘YouTubers’ are leading the way as sources of inspiration, as social media and content creators emerge as most influential factors in stimulating ideas (61%), vs more conventional sources of inspiration such as drawing and writing (47%), reading (34%), and playing with toys (26%).
  • Gen Alpha are powering the shift towards more environmentally conscious earning methods, as nearly a quarter of older children (12-14) are turning to online marketplaces (23%) to help them generate income.


Innovative minds call on robots and AI for the ‘ultimate convenience’

The next generation has a clear vision for how technology like AI will shape their future. When asked to think of innovations that could make their adult lives easier, robots and machines that undertake daily tasks like cleaning a room, going to work and cooking, was the top trend to emerge from Generation Alpha.

Specific examples include:

  • “A robot version of me to go to work so I could stay home and relax and have fun”
  • “AI technology that allows me to read people’s minds”
  • “A ring that you can ask AI questions, such as the answer to 8×9”
  • “Tech that can hear what I am thinking, then make it into an onscreen image or 3D print out”
  • “A bank card registered to my fingerprint”
  • “A VR headset that I could wear as a policeman, that tells me the identity of people I see around me”
  • “A phone that does everything you ever need, opening doors, locking doors, turning things on, so you’d only ever need a phone”
  • “Software that would understand what people really mean when they say something”
  • “A translator in your head that translates any language”
  • “Football boots that measure all the stats of a game and dry themselves”


Mehret Habteab, Senior Vice President of Product and Solutions at Visa Europe, comments:“Younger generations will force businesses, governments and ultimately economies to change how they think and how they will operate in the future. This change will happen much faster than most realise. Understanding the expectations for a simpler and more convenient life is vital for businesses to stay competitive and for building thriving economies. It’s an exciting time to be doing what we do, helping our clients and partners navigate these changes and prepare for this new age of commerce. Only those who adapt quickly will be successful in meeting the needs of this next generation.”


Inspiring the next generation of innovators

To recognise the potential for this age group to revolutionise economies, Visa is inviting the next generation of innovators to step into the role of inventor for a day. Collaborating with the Visa teams who have spearheaded ground-breaking advancements in payment technology, such as contactless, AI and tokenisation, one of the group will have a chance to be appointed Visa’s first ‘Junior Chief Innovation Officer’. Those interested in participating can find out more and submit their applications here: www.visa.co.uk/inventorsday.