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Gen Z and millennials struggling to cope with increased cost of living

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Gen Z and millennial workers in the UK are having a hard time attempting to keep up with the increased cost of living.

Research from professional services network Deloitte found 48% of Gen Zs and 54% of millennials live payday to payday with a worry their monthly income will not be able to cover all their expenses.

To supplement their income, 42% of gen Zs and 39% of millennials have taken on a side hustle - a second job in addition to their full-time employment - to help them make ends meet. As a result, Gen Zs (48%) and millennials (57%) reported feelings of burnout due to their workloads.


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The cost of living has become the most common concern among both demographics, with 31% of Gen Zs and 38% of millennials citing the crisis as their greatest concern - overtaking climate change from the top spot in Deloitte's survey from last year.

Will Gosling, partner and human capital lead at Deloitte, said that employers need to evolve with the changing demands of their workforce.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “Employers can support Gen Zs and millennials by improving their work models to meet the expectations of their people. Our research found that Gen Z and millennial workers are looking for a positive work/life balance and help with the cost of living.

"Leaders can also enhance the workplace experience by providing learning and development opportunities, prioritising wellbeing and having a clear purpose that gives employees the opportunity to address societal issues through their work.”

Amid the cost of living crisis, 46% of Gen Z workers plan to leave their job in the next two years, down from 60% last year. Gosling said that such pressure is leading more workers to stay put.

He added: “Employee loyalty is up from last year’s survey, likely linked to the number of workers who have changed jobs over the last year and nervousness about the new economic and geopolitical situation."

Paul Boustead, chief people officer at the University of Leeds, argued that the problems experienced by the younger workforce are nothing new.

"I don't think the situation now is any different with this generation than it was with previous generations," he told HR magazine. "There's always been irreconcilable differences between the cost of living and salary at the early stages of a career."

Boustead added that the younger generations even have advantages not afforded to their predecessors.

He said: "In the sector I work in I actually see progression for that generation, as they have better career progression and pay progression than the generation before saw."

Deloitte's report surveyed 23,220 workers from 46 countries across the world. From the UK, 501 Gen Zs and 300 millennials responded.

HR magazine has created a Cost of living Learning Hub for employers, sharing insights from across the HR community - find it here