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The stress of Gen Z entering the workforce

The stress of Gen Z entering the workforce is at an all-time high. After graduating from college, we often ask, where do we go from here? For many, the short-term goal is to celebrate, but the long-term goal is to start their career. Looking ahead to Gen Z, the job market doesn’t look so hot. The chapter of Gen Z entering the job market has started to kickstart their careers and the job market is recovering, but the younger generation is struggling to enter and navigate the job market. More than ever, college graduates are working in jobs that are outside their field of study and don’t require graduate school.

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According to, this is largely due to the pandemic-induced recession, which will impact their future employment and long-term financial security. The pandemic has caused the demographic of young adults who are about to graduate or who have graduated from college to re-evaluate their career goals and settle for low-paying jobs in the meantime. Although known as highly skilled with modern technological advancements, distance learning has been difficult. A Mt. San Jacinto college study found that 44% of Gen Zers will change their study plans because of covid, 40% are considering where they will go to college, and 34% are less likely to enroll in the next semester. Distance learning isolated them from the extracurricular activities they enjoyed at school. Another study called Associated Press-NORC Public Affairs Research Center revealed that 65% of Gen Z participants view education as an extremely important part of their identity. Moreover, the study also revealed that it is difficult to maintain relationships with peers, to have fun and to be happy. Altogether, both studies confirm that the pandemic has had a negative impact on the mental health of Gen Z, leaving them stressed and struggling to achieve their educational goals.

The shift from in-school learning to virtual learning has made it difficult for them to learn. Since education plays a role in finding job opportunities, this detriment in their education can lead to an uncertain future for a job they may not be prepared for. A study called Meet Gen Z surveyed more than 3,000 Gen Zrs in 11 countries and found results that suggest there is a lack of soft skills needed for Gen Zs to enter the workforce. However, the study also suggested that Gen Z is ready to perform basic tasks in the workplace.

What Gen Z is prepared for:

  • 67% report to work on time.
  • 57% teamwork and meeting deadlines.
  • 56% work with clients.

What Gen Z is not prepared for:

  • 26% trader
  • 24% work long hours, speak in public in front of large crowds and network.

By 2025, Gen Z is expected to make up 27% of the workforce. As the pandemic has entered its third year, getting Gen Z into the workforce will continue to be difficult. One in five feel that their upbringing did not prepare them enough to be supervised by someone or to resolve conflicts at work. A third of Gen Z fear that a lack of professional relationships and experience could negatively impact their functioning at work. Much of this has to do with an increasing number of entry level jobs requiring a minimum of at least 3 years of experience. A bachelor’s degree and even an internship are not enough.

The top few reasons why entry-level jobs have become hard to find are due to:

  • Unrealistic job requirements.
  • An unprecedented number of qualified candidates on the job market.
  • Internships are considered entry-level jobs.

The stress of Gen Z entering the workforce can be determined by these factors:


Entry-level jobs are meant to be a stepping stone to establishing yourself in a field of work. With the increase in the number of employees being promoted, it becomes more difficult to keep entry-level positions filled with “qualified” employees, making it difficult for new grads to break into their field. The experience has become more difficult to obtain as the pandemic has led to the cancellation of internships among young college students and the reduction of offers of paid internships. With fewer paid internship opportunities, employed students who cannot afford time off from work are discouraged from applying.


Another reason why Gen Z’s entry into the workforce has become difficult is due to competition. Employers have less time to review applications because there are many applicants for the same position. In return, companies are less willing to offer jobs to those trying to start their careers. High-level competition in the job market will further require standing out in a crowd of 4 million college graduates with a 7-to-1 ratio of potential employees to available jobs. Having a bachelor’s degree is less likely to stand out from others.

Lack of availability

The most obvious reason is that entry-level jobs lack availability. Availability has decreased by 68% over the past 3 years. The downward spiral of the economy is forcing companies to rescind job and internship offers to make up for lost profits. Additionally, companies do not want to invest in training newcomers for entry-level positions if they can use technological advances as an alternative. With businesses taking advantage of what technology has brought to the workplace, many tasks that once required a team of individuals can be done by one or none in less time. This reduced the need for interns and entry-level workers.

Despite these economic setbacks, the good news is that Gen Z is aware that the pandemic has hampered their ability to develop soft skills. Awareness of having a skills gap can push Gen Z to develop their soft skills and set themselves up for success. A survey of over 2,400 Gen Z college students, reported that 92% of them can identify the soft skills they possess and they know these skills are essential to thriving in the workplace. The survey also shows that Gen Z is willing to try new things, as it was selected that “getting out of your comfort zone” was the best way to hone soft skills. Also, the response has been tracked by being open to frequent feedback and communication. The found that almost a third of Gen Zers entering the workforce would be motivated to work at a company with a support manager. Gen Z will need leadership that is willing to invest and be patient to help their development. Management is a major concern when looking for a job in many studies for Gen Z.

The main takeaway is not to insist that there is no hope or possibility for Gen Z to enter the workforce. The pandemic plays a starring role in how Gen Z hasn’t had the benefit of developing soft skills like previous generations. However, their determination to work and learn will benefit a leadership that is willing to invest in them.

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