More than a third of Gen Z works both a full-time job and a side hustle — and many still don't feel financially secure

 Gen Z is worried about money. It's leading them to work more and more hours and still not feel financially secure.

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 that 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.

If you work a traditional 9-to-5, you spend at least a quarter of your life at work, if not more. Ideally, these hours should be delightful, at worst tolerable, but that’s not always the case.

HP surveyed 15,000 employees in 12 countries and asked them about their relationship with work. Overall, the picture is grim. Across the globe, in every industry and every country surveyed, employees say they have an unhealthy relationship with work, one that impacts their physical or mental health negatively.

  • Few employees are flourishing: Only 27% of knowledge workers say they have a healthy relationship with work. India leads with 50% of employees saying they have a healthy relationship with work, while only 28% of employees say the same in the United States, and Japan lags far behind with only 5% of employees saying their work relationship is healthy.
  • What unhealthy looks like 55% of employees say they struggle with self-worth and mental health and report feeling like a failure. More than 60% say they struggle with their physical health—poor sleep, exercise, and eating habits.
  • This impacts the quality of work: 76% of people with an unhealthy relationship with their work consider leaving the company, 39% say they are disengaged, and a third are less productive.
  • Employees are willing to take a pay cut for happiness: 83% of employees said they’d be willing to earn less to be happier. Specifically, they’d give up 11% of their salary to work somewhere where employees are engaged and leadership is emotionally intelligent, and they’d give up 13% of their salary to work where or when they want.

“There is a huge opportunity to strengthen the world’s relationship with work in ways that are both good for people and good for business,” said Enrique Lores, president and CEO of HP, in a statement. “As leaders, we must always reject the false choice between productivity and happiness. The most successful companies are built on cultures that enable employees to excel in their careers while thriving outside of work.”

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