Gen Z is making its mark on the workplace.
Nearly four in 10 Gen Zers are working side hustles on top of another job, per new EY research.Gen Z is stressed about money and their futures, leading some to practice “financial pragmatism.”Gen Zers are also overwhelmingly mistrustful of large businesses and the government.
Gen Z is worried about money. It’s leading them to work more and more hours and still not feel financially secure.
A new survey from EY found that 39% of Gen Zers held both a job and a side hustle to earn extra money. The Gen Z Segmentation Survey of over 1,500 young adults ages 16 to 26, conducted in February, found 56% of Gen Z earned money from side hustles or freelance work, while nearly two-thirds were employed last year in a part-time or full-time role.
A majority of Gen Zers are stressed about not having enough money, the report found, leading to a trend of what researchers called “financial pragmatism.” Around seven in ten respondents said their current financial situation is “fair” or worse, while less than a third said they feel financially secure.
“As in previous studies, Gen Z’s top priority remains enjoying their work, although making money runs a close second as the cost of living keeps rising,” the report said. “And they’re getting more creative in their approach, using every tool in the shed as traditional, employer-driven career paths shift to individual-driven, strategic monetization of acquired skills, knowledge and experience.”
Gen Z has led the way in quitting their jobs for better opportunities that more closely align with their values. Some have called this the “Great Reshuffle,” led by recent college graduates rethinking what they want at work. As much as 70% of those surveyed by Oliver Wyman earlier this year are looking for new roles even when loyal to their current jobs.
Gen Z workers are particularly mistrustful of large businesses — just 34% trust that large businesses do what’s right. Meanwhile, they’re more than twice as likely to trust small businesses and their supervisor. This skepticism, paired with a desire for authenticity, has pushed Gen Zers to more frequently seek employment with smaller companies that reflect their values or start their own businesses. And given a majority of Gen Z believes most people can’t be trusted, the adoption of AI in the workforce could push Gen Z further away from certain companies.
Still, Gen Z stress levels are on the rise, fueled this year in particular by anxiety surrounding the mental and physical health of friends and family. Additionally, even though Gen Z has been savvy with side gigs and freelance opportunities, less than half say they can live comfortably by 30.
Still, as a US Bank survey from August notes, feeling wealthy doesn’t necessarily equal being financially secure for Gen Z, as many still desire a “better quality of life” over having a certain amount of money.
Are you a Gen Zer working side gigs on top of another job? Have you gone the freelance route instead of taking a traditional 40-hour-a-week job? Contact this reporter at [email protected].