Gen Z is shifting towards a “work to live” mentality, departing from the traditional “live to work” ethos, driven by perceptions of diminished rewards for their efforts, according to Ravin Jesuthasan, a global leader at Mercer and a future-of-work expert.
At the World Economic Forum, Jesuthasan discussed how Gen Z, facing economic disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic and the absence of promised benefits such as defined-benefit pensions and retiree medical care, is redefining its attitudes toward work.
The younger generation, having witnessed the economic struggles of millennials, including multiple recessions, and the pandemic’s impact, is reevaluating its approach to work.
Economic challenges, including the high cost of living, surging house prices, and mounting student debt, have obstructed millennials’ paths to wealth accumulation and homeownership.
Gen Z’s response to these challenges involves a tendency toward “quiet quitting” as individuals reconsider the potential outcomes of their hard work, realizing that stability and promised benefits are no longer guaranteed.
Jesuthasan emphasized the necessity for companies to adopt a personalized approach, offering individuals a “portfolio of rewards” rather than adhering to a one-size-fits-all model.
Gen Z’s Distinctive Work Approach Shapes Future Workforce
Despite criticism of Gen Z’s perceived work attitudes, the generation defends its choices, citing stagnant wages, dissatisfaction with the conventional 9-to-5 routine, and burnout as influential factors.
Celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg have dismissed Gen Z’s economic struggles, attributing them to perceived laziness.
However, the generation faces challenges due to inflation and rising prices, prompting reduced spending and an increase in home-cooked meals, as revealed by a Bank of America survey.
Gen Z counters accusations, asserting that their focus on work is impacted by external factors such as stagnant wages, a desire for meaningful work, and burnout from conventional work structures.
In this evolving landscape, Gen Z is redefining its priorities and pushing for workplaces to adapt to individual needs, reflecting a broader shift in attitudes toward work-life balance.
As economic conditions and workplace dynamics continue to transform, Gen Z’s distinctive approach to work is shaping the future of the workforce.
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