Interviews cancelled, reduced hours and pay, and furlough: Gen Z gives insight into its uncertain future in a new study from CollegeFinance.com.
Boomers had the Vietnam War, Gen X had 9/11, and millennials had Columbine (which started the swath of school and workplace gun tragedies). Now, Generation Z has the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Each generation witnessed or experienced watershed events that greatly affected many lives. On July 1, the highest number of US COVID-19 cases for a single day were recorded: 50,000.
Gen Z found itself in an unprecedented situation. The first "class" of Gen Z graduated from college in May 2019 and unceremoniously lost jobs or had their work situation dramatically change. The next Gen Z class was high school seniors, and from mid-March to their virtual graduations, they finished that iconic year in near isolation from peers.
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While they may have a lot to say, they're also extremely uncertain about how the pandemic will affect their careers, according to a study by College.Finance.com: "Gen Z Career Outlook After COVID-19." The COVID-19 recession has directly impacted their finances. Nearly half of respondents (49%) said COVID-19 hasn't made them reconsider jobs or careers, 21% said they weren't sure if it would, and 31% were actually looking forward to considering new careers and jobs.
About one in five employed said they'd consider going back to school to change their professional career goals.
Gen Z respondents to the survey said:
46% said their job paths or careers were less stable than previously expected
42% claim to be absolutely unaffected by COVID-19
13% said the virus brought about stability to their jobs.
48.7% said it's very unlikely they'll change their career or job due to the coronavirus
30.6% said they are likely to find a new career path
20.7% are unsure if they will or won't change their trajectory
21% of employed respondents are considering a change to their careers
27% of those with student debt were most interested in going back to school
14% of those without student debt wanted to go back to school
Those who were seriously considering returning to school said they'd be willing to take on $15,465 in student debt to do so.
A whopping 65% of Gen Z Americans are thinking about returning to school, because of the economic impact of the virus and felt their planned career paths were much less stable. Others who are contemplating a return to school:
16% are working in retail
14% are working in hotel, food services, and hospitality
The most appealing industries to those who want to change jobs were:
Medical and healthcare 9.6%
Finance and insurance 7.9%
Information services and data processing 7.3%
Construction and manufacturing 6.3%
Most interested in changing careers? Those in education (62%), technology (57%) and construction and manufacturing (56%). The education industry has not held the interest of 28%, who are now interested in pivoting into the tech industry. Those with jobs in tech (29%) were most interested in finance and insurance.
Some Gen Z workers consider changing jobs
For a generation without a lot of practical work experience (and the savings to survive the pandemic) it's a good deal of uncertainty and frustration.
COVID-19's effects are less-favorable than more favorable, said working Gen Zs:
34% experienced cancellations of planned job interviews
30% have had their hours reduced
19% were offered less pay
12% were furloughed
The effects of COVID-19 are tough on the working life of Gen Z. Respondents said the average salary decrease for them was $6,000. Only 29% said COVID-19 had no impact on their jobs.
Among those who are thinking about a career change:
40% are interested in positions of essential workers (includes 47% millennials)
27%--the least likely to consider a job in essential careers
16% were considering technology
10% were considering healthcare
8% were considering finance and insurance.
Job outlook for the second wave
Around 71% of Gen Z said they fear going into the job market because of the instability the potential second wave of the virus would cause, and 60% of employed workers believe a second wave would negatively impact their jobs; 23% are worried about being laid off.
Of those whose job stability wasn't affected by COVID-19, 26% will be on the lookout for a career change when the second wave hits.
Even though President Donald Trump said on July 1 he believes the virus will go away this month, about 60% of employed Americans are afraid that a second wave of the coronavirus will have a negative impact on their jobs, and 23% are afraid of outright layoffs.
CollegeFinance.com surveyed 1,007 people from the ages of 18 to 70 to explore how COVID-19 affected career and job outlook. Survey respondents, polled between May 28 and June 4, included a sample of 189 people identifying as Generation Z in order to explore their outlook on jobs and interview or job application experiences since the COVID-19 outbreak.
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