- One new study shows that 1 in 4 Gen Zers in the U.S. work while studying to support their parents financially.
- But combining work and study comes at a cost: 32% struggle with mental health issues, while 50% sacrifice sleep or time for leisure.
- This situation can have several potential impacts on the future of work and the workforce, such as an increased demand for flexible work arrangements and delayed career progression.
New research unveils a sobering narrative on Gen Z: a generation grappling with the weight of supporting their families, sacrificing their mental health, sleep, and leisure in the process. Yet, the pay-off is bleak, with dissatisfaction rampant and essential life skills glaringly absent from their education.
This is the untold story of America’s youngest working adults, navigating the turbulent waters of adulthood with a burden far beyond their years.
The facts: One new study shows that 1 in 4 Gen Zers in the U.S. work while studying to support their parents financially, and 2 in 3 lack money to cover their own basic needs.
The study, created by EduBirdie, shows that of those who combine work and study, 22% do so to support their parents financially. But combining work and study comes at a cost: 32% struggle with mental health issues, while 50% sacrifice sleep or time for leisure.
Is it worth it? Hardly. Nearly 60% of these young people are unsatisfied with their current salary, and 7 out of 10 say the school didn’t equip them with the necessary skills to negotiate their salary.
Emily Goldstein, a Gen Z PR Manager at Movchan Agency who combines work and study, added: “Entering adulthood is beyond stressful as we, young adults, are pressured to choose a career, find a first-ever job or internship with little to no experience, and complete separation from our families. Yet we aren’t being taught the vital life basics such as money management, and setting boundaries at the workplace, which makes adulting even more challenging than it is.”
This situation will have several potential impacts on the future of work and the workforce.
1.Changing Workforce Demographics
As more Gen Zers enter the workforce earlier, it could lead to a shift in the demographic composition of the workforce. This younger workforce might bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas, but may also need additional training and mentorship to develop professional skills.
2.Increased Demand for Flexible Work Arrangements
Balancing work and studies necessitates flexible schedules. This trend could lead to increased demand for part-time jobs, remote work, or flexible working hours. Companies might need to adapt their policies to attract and retain these young workers.
3.Delayed Career Progression
If Gen Zers are primarily taking on jobs to support their families rather than aligning with their career goals or fields of study, they might experience slower career progression. Over time, this could lead to a workforce with less specialized knowledge and skills.
4.Potential for Burnout
Juggling work, studies, and family responsibilities could lead to increased stress and burnout among young workers, impacting their long-term health and productivity.
If only a subset of Gen Zers needs to work to support their families, it could exacerbate socioeconomic disparities within this generation. These disparities might then manifest in the workforce, affecting diversity and inclusion efforts.
Possible solutions to address these impacts could include:
- Education Funding Reform: Policymakers could explore options for reducing the financial burden of education, such as increasing funding for scholarships or implementing tuition-free college programs. This would allow more students to focus on their studies without needing to work.
- Work-Study Programs: Employers and educational institutions could partner to create work-study programs that provide students with relevant work experience while accommodating their academic schedules.
- Support Services: Schools and employers could offer services like career counseling, mental health resources, and financial planning assistance to help these young workers manage their multiple responsibilities.
- Policy Changes: Policymakers could consider implementing policies to address income inequality and provide more support for struggling families, reducing the need for students to work.
Corporate Social Responsibility: Companies could play a role in addressing this issue by investing in their local communities, providing job opportunities for students, and supporting initiatives that reduce the financial burden on families.