Gen Z in the Workforce: Starting a Career During a Pandemic

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In a 2019 survey conducted by YouGov, almost 1 out of 3 Gen Zer respondents revealed that they feel either unsure or worried about starting a career. And it’s not hard to see why. Growing up with the burden of skyrocketing college costs, the pressure of combatting climate change, and the never-ending need to keep up with technology, the people born between 1997 and 2012 are expected to make a positive impact in the world while making lots of money. But that’s certainly easier said than done.

The Socially Conscious Generation

Microsoft’s Mark Sparvell defines generation Z as a “socially conscious generation.” In an interview with Cybercoders, he said that there could be 82 million Gen Zers in history. That’s why employers must dive deeper into how this generation acts and feels about the workforce. “GenZers are generally drawn to jobs that contribute to the greater good, are delightful, and offer competitive compensation,” he added.

In the same survey, 44% of the respondents said they would rather be unemployed than be stuck in a job they don’t love. Many people in this demographic would rather pursue an entry-level career in their dream production service company than accept a job offer from a tech giant. If anything, the data revealed what we knew all along: Gen Zers are value-driven individuals.

Purpose Over Compensation?

Yet several reports from other sources reveal that this generation is not all about finding purpose and meaning in the workplace. According to The Wall Street Journal, they care more about financial security than any previous generations. In a report by the Barna Group, 64% of the Gen Z respondents see achieving financial independence before 30 as a top priority.


Growing up during the Great Recession and now faced with a global health emergency that’s currently pulling the economy down, Gen Zers might have to try harder to push for financial independence.

Starting a Career During a Pandemic

In the U.S. alone, the coronavirus outbreak has caused businesses to lay off millions of employees. But the majority of Gen Zers have always been prepared for this.

More than half of the YouGov survey respondents said they expect to do a job that doesn’t exist yet. That’s because they are the first generation of workers to grow up with the internet. They know how to adapt to changes, and are aware that future-proofing their skills is the key to remaining in demand in the workforce.

With the pandemic creating unprecedented challenges that require novel solutions, there is never a better time for this generation to demonstrate their skills in the workforce and beyond.

Word of Advice for the Gen Z Jobseeker

Perhaps the best thing about Gen Zers is that they aren’t only tech-savvy; they also care for the greater good. While the world is undoubtedly facing trying times, now is an excellent time to use your social perceptiveness and other soft skills to make responsible decisions, no matter which company you choose to work for.

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