Research Shows a High Number of Gen Z Employees Feel Overworked and Dread Their Job

Photo Credits: Elisa Ventur via Unsplash

Earlier this week, PwC released a report on their Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey. The survey revealed that employees are most likely to switch employers if they feel overworked (44%). Additionally, 38% of employees said they would switch if they struggled to cover their bills.

With feelings of dread and being burnt out being rampant, the state of the global economy is not making things easier as it places even more financial strain. The percentage of workers with money left over at the end of the month has dropped to 38% from 47% last year. Around one in five workers (21%) now hold multiple jobs, with 69% doing so for additional income. The prevalence of multiple jobs is higher among Generation Z (30%) and ethnic minorities (28%).

Dread is Highest Among Gen Z Employees

Last month, Headspace, a leading mental health platform, released its Fifth Annual Workforce Attitudes Toward Mental Health Report. The report provides insights into the perceptions of CEOs, HR leaders, and workers regarding mental health in the workplace.

The data was gathered from a global survey conducted between February and April 2023, involving over 400 CEOs, 4,000 workers, and 250 HR leaders from the U.S., Australia, Germany, and the U.K. The report highlights that instability, productivity pressure, and rising expectations are leading to feelings of dread among employees.

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Around 89% of workers reported experiencing moderate to extreme stress over the past year, with nearly half (49%) feeling a sense of dread at least once a week. The top drivers of dread include lack of stability, overwhelming job responsibilities, and fear of not meeting expectations. Gen Z workers and non-binary workers reported the highest levels of dread.

Interestingly, CEOs also experience workplace angst, with 59% reporting feeling dread every week. Economic uncertainty is a major stressor for CEOs, with 61% of U.S. CEOs expressing concern in this regard. Even HR professionals aren’t spared of these moments of dread as about 37% of them are facing dread caused due to burning out and overwhelming job responsibilities.

Businesses Need to Transform

Unstable economies and rising prices are driving up the demand for higher wages, with 42% of workers planning to ask for a pay increase compared to 35% in the previous year. Among financially struggling workers, about 46% plan to request a raise.

Financially strained workers face challenges in accessing training opportunities to develop new skills and adapt to the rise of AI. Compared to financially secure workers, those who struggle financially are less likely to actively seek skill development opportunities (62% vs. 50%) and use feedback to improve performance (45% vs. 57%).

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Bob Moritz, PwC Global Chair, emphasized the growing division in the workforce, with skilled individuals more financially secure and better prepared for future changes. He emphasized the need for businesses to transform by leveraging technology and unlocking the potential of all workers, rather than solely focusing on a select group.

There is a Silver Lining

Despite their struggles with work, the current workforce feels optimistic about the changes that have happened and the ones to come.

In terms of employee mental health, the Headspace report stated that about 54% of global workers stated that their employer’s DEIB policy had a positive impact on their mental health. This was particularly true for marginalized groups. There is even a closing gap between CEO and employee sentiments on supporting employee mental health.

In terms of the future of work, younger generations are more optimistic about the impact of AI on their careers. Around 52% of employees globally expect some positive effects of AI in the next five years, such as increased productivity/efficiency (31%) and opportunities for learning new skills (27%).


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