Generation Z experiences most stress at work

05 September 2023 3 min. read
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New research from Mercer suggests that members of Generation Z experience the most stress at work. The study found that more than half of Generation Z staff face stress at work.

For the study – titled 'Health on demand' – Mercer surveyed nearly 18,000 employees from numerous countries around the world. This included respondents from China, Mexico, the US, Italy, Brazil, Indonesia, Spain, Hong Kong, India and the Netherlands.

Of those born since 1997, 52% of employees said they experienced stress at work. In contrast, 46% of Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) and Generation X (between 1965 and 1980) were stressed on the job, while 41% of Baby Boomers (those born before 1964) said as much.

Generation Z experiences most stress at work

While employers are keen on supporting staff through their challenges, there appears to be a significant shortcoming when it comes to employee mental health. Only slightly more than half of all workers feel they could tell their colleagues or bosses if they were experiencing mental health struggles.

This did rise in Generation Z respondents – 58% of whom would feel comfortable telling their colleagues or supervisors that they are seeing a therapist or taking medication for a mental health problem. However, the evidence clearly suggests that firms could do a lot more to support all their workers, especially as they look to recruit in the middle of a global talent shortage.

Notably, while members of Generation Z appeared to experience the most stress, they also appeared to be performing best in their current role and organisation. A 73% majority said they were ‘thriving’ in terms of health, wealth and career. This sank to 67% among Millennials, 56% among Gen Xers and 58% among Baby Boomers.

Generation Z experiences most stress at work

But with some of Generation Z still to even join the workforce, it is important for employers to take action now, said the Mercer report. The human capital consulting firm advises companies to properly meet their needs when setting up their employee governance and terms of employment.

“Generation Z members provide companies with an opportunity to create positive work cultures in which Generation Z people can develop as empathetic leaders of the future,” the research stated. “Supporting and nurturing this generation of employees is an investment in a company's future.”

Financial support

One of the most important factors underwriting this may be financial support. Finances have a huge impact on workplace mental health, and Mercer found that the top concern shared by all working generations at present is the economic headwinds the world is currently facing.

The economic slowdown ranks as one of the top two concerns in most of the markets surveyed. Globally, 56% indicated it as their top concern. While many employers try to support their employees in solving financial problems, researchers often see a gap between the benefits offered and the needs of employees.

Many employees would like to receive extra (indirect) financial support from their employers. According to the respondents, this kind of compensation could help not only themselves, but also their families. And of course this benefits the mental health of the respondents, which in turn then benefits the employers.