Britain’s Gen Z Workers Seek Lower Stress Jobs Over the Hustle


Gen Z workers in the UK are increasingly searching for less stressful jobs that still pay a reasonable salary as they prioritize their work-life balance over a hustle culture that previous generations embraced.

Job site Adzuna has seen a surge in clicks on postings for positions such as office administrators, account managers, and marketing associates, which it associates with more flexibility and less stress.

Interest is increasing in what Adzuna says are typically junior jobs where people can easily achieve a work-life blend while earning at least £35,000 ($44,693) annually. That means roles allowing flexibility with hours and out of office work — without big responsibilities like managing a team or regular overtime.

Clicks per ad per day for many of these roles doubled in the first half of 2023 compared with the second half of 2022, Adzuna data provided to Bloomberg News shows. Clicks for office administrator ads were up 131% in that period. Data analyst roles rose by 50%.

Gen Z is Searching for Low Stress, Low Responsibility Jobs

Source: Adzuna

Note: Increase in clicks is for H1 2023 vs. H2 2022

A work-life balance is not something Gen Z workers are willing to compromise on, said Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna.

The appetite for these kinds of jobs follows the anti-work movement that has also seen Gen Z lead the “quiet quitting” trend, which involves doing no more than what their role description states. Achieving more free time is now a key demand for all age groups post-pandemic from office workers increasingly prone to burnout.

Gen Zers of working age in the UK, though, face a unique set of problems that previous generations didn’t. That includes weakening job prospects, heavy student debt, and soaring housing costs. The number of inactive workers in that age group — out of work and not looking for a job — rose sharply between 2019 and 2022, contributing to widespread labor shortages across the UK.

Gen Z Is The Latest Age Group Entering The Workforce

Source: Pew Research Center

The number of 18-24-year-olds who dropped out of the labor market since the start of the pandemic topped 1.66 million in the most recent quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics. That’s up 88,000 since the period right before the first Covid lockdown.

The inactivity rate for that group rose 2.1 percentage points in that period to 30.9%, the most for any age group except school-aged children and those over 65s.

One global survey by Cigna International found that Gen Z workers are the most burnt-out employees, with 91% of respondents saying they feel stressed, well above the 84% reading for all employees.

Inactivity Is Up For UK Gen Z Workers, The Opposite of Expectations

The number of people becoming inactive compared to expectations

Source: ONS

The issue could impact UK employers who are trying to retain staff demanding flexibility when workers are in short supply.

“People will start looking elsewhere” for jobs with the combination of work and benefits that’s most favorable, said Zofia Bajorek, a senior research fellow at the UK’s Institute for Employment Studies. “It could become a recruitment and retention issue.”

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