Gen Z was once looking forward to heading into a workforce with low unemployment and many opportunities, but now those opportunities have diminished due to the pandemic. According to a researcher from Pew Research Center, Gen Z was entering an economy with steady growth unlike Millennials who entered the workforce during the recession (Collins, 2020). Many starting out Millennials got jobs and then lost them during the recession period (Collins, 2020). Older Gen Z individuals are entering a disrupted work force and meanwhile younger Gen Z members are having trouble finding traditional jobs (Collins, 2020). Early in the pandemic 69% of Gen Z said that either they or someone they knew lost their job or received a pay cut. This was higher than all the other generations when asked: Millennials (52%), Gen X (49%), Baby Boomers (32%) (Collins, 2020). Unemployment for the Gen Z work force has become higher, and the gap is even wider than during the recession (Collins, 2020). Gen Z candidates are vulnerable when it comes to employment since they lack experience or in entry- level positions (Collins, 2020).
Gen Z individuals who have been fortunate enough to get employment through the pandemic are facing challenges and struggling to find motivation. One third of Gen Z says that remote working has hurt their work/life balance and believe that they should be provided with better tools for working from home (Gurchieck, 2020). A survey done by the Society for Human Resource management showed that half of Gen Z employees felt burned out and emotionally drained from remote working (Gurchieck, 2020). There are two main reasons why the pandemic has especially impacted Gen Z heavily. Gen Z is currently in its formative or prime years, a time when exciting experiences or important life changes tend to occur (Gurchieck, 2020). Furthermore, Gen Z is a generation composed of individuals who value collaboration and love to connect. Most are not able to social in a work environment due to social distancing restrictions. Employers can ease Gen Z by providing financial stability and encouraging mental wellness (Gurchieck, 2020).
The pandemic has raised a lot of anxiety and economic issues that have affected all generations. However, Gen Z has been largely impacted due to the uncertainty of their future. Many have paused their education, dreams, goals and career paths because of the virus and are still hoping to achieve them someday soon. Any anxiety, isolation or financial stress that Gen Z is experiencing has brought about mental illnesses such as depression as well. It is the responsibility of employers to be aware of the obstacles their employees are facing during this strange and unsettling time. It is also important to provide a level of comfort for Gen Z employees by any means that are necessary to keep a strong employer and employee relationship even if it’s virtually.
Collins, Lois. “How COVID-19 Dimmed Generation Z’s Plans and Confidence”. Desert News, https://www.deseret.com/indepth/2020/7/1/21307550/generation-z-facing-unemployment-covid-19-economy-college-pandemic. Accessed 30 September 2021.
Gurchieck, Kathy. “COVID-19 Pandemic Is Hitting Gen Z Hard. Find Ways to Connect”. SHRM, https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/behavioral-competencies/global-and-cultural-effectiveness/pages/covid19-pandemic-is-hitting-gen-z-hard-find-ways-to-connect-with-them.aspx. Accessed 30 September 2021.