After a ‘perfect storm’ of factors affecting their wellbeing, young professionals are experiencing burnout by the time they’re 24 years old.
Global health service company Cigna claims the pandemic, cost of living crisis and other current global factors have left employees feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and re-evaluating life priorities, with Generation Z – those aged 18-24 – being identified as the most badly affected.
The report, titled ‘Exhausted by Work - The Employer Opportunity’, said that ‘The stress of the past three years continues to impact people’s health and well-being, with high levels of employee stress and work burnout, especially among younger workers.’
After surveying 12,000 adults, Cigna found out:
- 97 per cent of 18-24-year-olds are feeling burnt out, and 86 per cent feel stressed
- Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) report feeling more overwhelmed than usual
- 44 per cent say work feels more transactional now with less opportunity to bond with colleagues due to remote working
- 36 per cent of junior employees are stressed about the rising cost of living.
Arjan Toor, CEO of Cigna Europe, said: “Employee stress levels, which dropped slightly in 2021, are now on the increase, and it’s the younger generation who are feeling the greatest impact.
“Across Europe, 77 per cent of employees said they were stressed, but this rises to 86 per cent for Gen Z, aged 18-24, and 81 per cent for 25-34-year-old Millennials. We also see unmanageable stress now impacting a quarter (25 per cent) of 18-24-year-olds, along with a huge 97 per cent, experiencing work burnout symptoms with worrying symptoms that include headaches, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping.”
Two thirds of Generation Z also said they’ve spent more time re-evaluating their lifestyle and priorities and are considering making changes, according to Cigna’s findings. Meanwhile 50 per cent of Millennials said they would take a lower paid job if they could work fewer hours.
“There’s a gap in expectation between what employees want and what they’re currently getting,” explained Toor. “In the current climate where talent is either jumping ship if work conditions aren’t right or they’re ‘quiet quitting’ – that is, doing the bare minimum at work because they feel undervalued for effort put in. Employers need to step up to retain and attract that talent.”
Toor also said that 36 per cent of young workers are offered flexible working hours and location, despite it being the top, non-financial criteria for job hunters.
Medical plans are also a decisive factor for more than half of people when choosing one employer over another and 47 per cent want services that help them lead a healthier lifestyle. “Employers need to look beyond their traditional responsibilities and build a culture that supports whole health, from mental and physical well-being to advice and support for broader aspects of their lives, such as access to financial advice or coaching,” concluded Toor.