Why are So Many 18 to 25 year olds Burning out and Quitting Jobs?

Photo by Hernan Sanchez on Unsplash

It is not a good time to be a Gen Zer. What with the Pandemic disrupting their lives, just when they were settling into their careers and the tepid pace of the recovery in the jobs market adding to their worries.

The Struggling Gen Zers

The 18 to 25 year olds in the Gen Z age cohort face challenging work pressures leading to burnout and thoughts of quitting their jobs which is a worrying sign for business leaders and managers alike, wondering if there is anything they can do to help. This is one of the findings from the Microsoft Work Trend Report of 2021 which reveals that nearly 60% of the 18 to 25 year olds surveyed are “struggling” to survive the Pandemic induced Remote Work models.

Imagine that you are starting your career and the very first job you have entails WFH or Work from Home and poof goes any chance of the “typical” on-boarding process involving meeting coworkers and bosses in a “physical” setting instead of having a welcome party on Zoom. Next, if Remote Work is all that you have known, what happens when you return to offices and find that it is an “alien” place very different from what you have known for the last year or two. Indeed, this is the “reverse” of what Gen Xers and Millennials are experiencing wherein they find WFH as an aberration and office work the normal.

The Difficulties of Meaningful Networking in a Virtual World

What more, the 18 to 25 year olds are also finding networking and interacting with colleagues daunting and challenging as most “meaningful” connections are those made over Coffee or in other Face to Face interactions. Moreover, not having the chance to meet others physically and having to do with Digital conversations makes Gen Zers lose out on what is arguably the most important Early Career learning i.e, the ability to learn from others and gain insights into navigating careers through by chance exchanges and the joys of learning through discovery.

Gen Zers are more likely to be single and the 18 to 25 year olds are those who are WFH with minimal “partner support” making them feel the effects of isolation and without “fulfilling” motivators such as supportive partners and children, who otherwise make WFH bearable for Older Age Cohorts. Another key finding of the survey is that more often than not, finding the “resources” to have the physical infrastructure for WFH becomes a challenge for this age cohort. All these are leading to “severe” stress and burnout as well as an “overwhelming urge” to quit their jobs.

How Employers and Business Leaders can Help the Gen Zers

These findings should worry anyone with a stake in employee wellbeing and more so, the business leaders and the employers, as the Gen Z is on the vanguard of the new WFH and Hybrid work models and hence, being a generation who are “coming of age” during the Digital Age, their contributions are more essential for the future. Moreover, they are riding the
“cusp” of the New Waves of Work and hence, are likely to shape the future of work.

So, this should be a wake up call for all stakeholders to “engage” with Gen Zers and provide them the much needed support in terms of increasing “mentor” programs, hand-holding, and peer support till the time they feel comfortable in their careers. As it is, the Gen Zers faced the “heat” of succeeding in college with “Tiger Parents” and high peer pressure to perform. They simply cannot be left to “wither away” just when they are starting or settling into their careers.