Impact of Covid-19 on Gen-Z and young Millennials
Covid-19 has severely disrupted the lives of millions on the planet over the last 2 years. But the effects of this global pandemic, which has led to an economic and health global crisis, will ultimately change the way we see and do things in the future.
It is, in particular, our younger generation, Gen-Z (born between 1997 – 2012) and Millennials (born between 1981-1996) who face enormous struggles in regards to mental health and workplace anxiety, social isolation, and entering the workforce for the first time amidst the global pandemic.
While many students were enrolled in traditional learning environments before the pandemic, delivery modes changed rapidly overnight to online or remote learning. Many students experienced different emotions and challenges in response to the disruption of their normal day-to-day lives (Chad E. Kee,2021). Many struggles with social withdrawal and being isolated from their peers, not being able to enjoy their youth as they would have.
Those who have graduated in the shadow of the pandemic now face even more anxiety in entering the very tough job market for the first time. Millions of jobs have already been lost, leading to an even higher unemployment rate in our younger generations.
With the strict lockdown and social-distancing regulations and its impact on the tourism, hotel, and restaurant sectors, where many young people tend to find work – have been lost. Not only is the lack of opportunities shadowing over our youth, but it is also the expectations of others that serve as a huge burden on them leading to mental health issues and social withdrawal. Results found that 89% of Gen Z and 83% of Millennials said that their mental health has been negatively impacted by Covid-19, which is almost completely understandable (N.F.Mendoza, 2021).
But all is not lost – according to new research by Oxford Economics (Charles Hamblen, Geometry Spin, The Australian, 2021) commissioned by Snap Inc. – Generation-Z with their characteristics and skills are actually very well-equipped to succeed in the post-pandemic labor market.
Perhaps the most obvious impact of COVID-19 on the labor force is the dramatic increase in employees having to work remotely and utilize technology such as Skype and Zoom to resume office meetings etc. (McKinsey Global Institute, The future of work after Covid-19, February 2021) This has rapidly shifted workforce dynamics and it may ultimately suit our Gen-Z’s and Millennials quite well after all.
According to Clare Nash, head of client partnerships at Snap Australia, it is expected that three out of five jobs will require advanced digital skills by the year 2030, and with this being said, Gen-Z and our younger Millennials just might possess these exact skills – as they are digital natives; being very sought after in the near future giving this generation a big advantage.
Generation Z now in their teens and mid-twenties, are expected to play a major role in the workforce in the post-pandemic economy (C. Nash, The Australian, 2021). They take up about one-third of the global population and in the next decade, there will be an estimated 5 million Gen- Z workers in Australia alone.
Gen Z will be a force to be reckoned with and as consumers, they will spend more forcing brands to respond accordingly. This generation will play an enormous role in the shaping of the digital economy as they are a digitally native generation. Gen-Z has been characterized to be more agile, creative, curious, and adaptable than other older generations (The Australian, 2021). It is no secret that this generation is more digitally competent – 2.5 % more than Millenials and 8.3% more than their Generation X parents.
As the post-pandemic economy is starting to take its shape to a more digital approach, Gen Z could turn these strengths they have into some significant career advantages. Their higher digital competency and adaptability could lead them to better fit into the new normal (The Australian, 2021). Where older generations may find it difficult to adapt to the new age and digital era, struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of technological developments they could be left behind, and this is where the Gen-Z and younger Millennials just may have a huge advantage.
Young workers will be better placed to take on a new wave of start-ups. Based on research from Oxford Economics, employers are expected to seek workers with more technological skills, creativity, and critical thinking, making Gen-Z perfect (The Australian).
With times being more uncertain than ever, some people are wondering if life will ever be normal again.
People are adapting easier than we think to new ways of doing things and using technology more than ever in their daily lives. Working from home was not frequently heard of 2-years ago and is now becoming a norm. The digital era has boomed the last year because of everything being online because of social distancing.
The economy will eventually improve and the post-pandemic workforce will need to have a certain skill set that the Gen Z and Millenials just might have, this being a promised future for our youth.
It would be ignorant to ignore the fact that digital technology and social media are taking over the world. Businesses that do not follow these trends and do not have an online presence will ultimately be left behind and become irrelevant. This is what makes our younger generation so valuable, is their natural feel for technology and digital media.
Our Gen Z and Millenials are at the beginning of a whole new digital age, and what we can call the fourth revolution.