Are Gen-Z disproportionately impacted by the pandemic?
Updated: Aug 28, 2020
Gen Z are born between 1995 – 2015. For them, they are in their young formative years and yet have had to live through some key life events that will drastically change and shape the future they grow up in.
Every generation has lived through crisis. For Baby Boomers there was the Vietnam war and civil rights movement. Gen X had the AIDS crisis and millennials lived through the global financial crisis of 2008 and particularly in the US, 9/11.
For Gen Z, this pandemic is their “where were you when…” moment. With the main concerns being what is the future of the economy and job market that they are about to enter, and truthfully, we cannot know the full impact just yet.
In the US unemployment rate jumped from 3.5% to 14.7% in April. In Australia, unemployment rates have reached 7.1% nationally.
Gen Z are often characterised as largely risk adverse, internet-savvy, avid savers and able to easily assess legitimacy of information, less likely to fall for ‘marketing tricks’ and so on. So it makes sense that Gen Z are easily disenfranchised with the news of unemployment rates increasing and what this will mean for their own futures. Gen Z workers are overrepresented in unemployment and job losses. Globally, young people aged under 25 years old are experiencing a whopping 93% higher rate of job loss due to the pandemic than any other generation.
Outside of employment, a large majority of Gen Z’ers are college and university age, who would typically be excited and looking forward to their future careers and job prospects.
Globally, schools have closed for 1.5 billion children, more than 90% of the world’s child population.
Universities are predicted to experience losses of $4.8 billion in 2020 alone with multiple courses being ‘wound down’ or cancelled due to lack of funding and lack of enrolments.
For older Gen Z’ers the idea of buying a house has always felt out of reach, similarly as it has for millennials. With house prices increasing up to 198% since 2004 and house deposits typically requiring 11.5 years to save based on the average Australian income, the time it takes to save for a deposit is likely to increase due to the pandemic.
Whilst there is speculation that house prices may decrease, Gen Z will struggle to seek employment, leading to a reduction in savings and stability and are expected to earn less over their lifetime if they are already in the job market. Forbes reports that Gen Z are expected to see their household income decline by 63% compared to 43-47% for other generations.
So whilst all generations are struggling with their own negative impacts from the pandemic, it seems that Gen Z will be overrepresented in financial, educational and employment impact as a result, as opposed to impacts on their health.