Gen Z (Born 1997-2012, Ages 9-24)
Generation Z was poised to enter the workforce with a robust and vibrant economy. Now, 52% live with their parents and face canceled internships, a challenging job market, and debt from education. On top of this, Gen Z was already working less than previous generations did at this age. In 2018, only 18% of Gen Z teens aged 15 to 17 were working, compared to 27% of millennial teens in 2002 and 41% of Gen X teens in 1986. Combined with canceled internships and decreased opportunities due to the pandemic, many may enter the workforce with less training and support than previous generations.
Already labeled as the most stressed-out-generation, the pandemic has taken a toll on this generation’s mental health. In 2019, 54% of workers under age 23 stated they felt anxious or nervous due to stress in the preceding month. This overflows into the workplace as anxiety impacts focus, engagement, decision-making, and even attendance.
Despite being born into the digital age, 42% of Gen Z would prefer to return to the workplace rather than remain remote, and this group is the most eager generation to return to the office. For many, being in the office represents their first professional job, with one in four beginning a new job between July and September in 2020. Beyond the professional and personal growth missed in a remote environment, additional challenges face this generation for working remote. Many live at home or with roommates, and 42% say they do not have enough space to work at home.
Finally, many Gen Z employees are still eligible to be on their parent’s benefits plan. Since they are still entering the world of employee benefits, this group may need additional resources, training, and guidance on benefits.
How Employers Can Fill the Gap
- Explain telemedicine’s benefits and how it can be used for physical health, mental health, and for more specialty focuses like dermatological help. Younger generations are most open to using telemedicine (74%), and it provides convenient and affordable options for your youngest workers.
- Begin with basic education on benefits and financial well-being. Explain your company’s benefits, who is eligible, how to use them, how to transition off a parent’s plan, whom to contact with questions, and how to get started. Provide reminders throughout the year on how to access benefits.
- Provide the foundation for future financial success. Offer benefits that will boost their immediate and long-term financial health by offering benefits such as a 401(k) with employer matching contributions, student loan repayment assistance, and access to financial counseling.
- Train managers on identifying and talking to employees about stress and anxiety.