As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Gen Z and millennials’ career priorities have shifted.
As Gen Zers continue to face virtual graduations and closed campuses, they’re also navigating an uncertain job market, with over 10 million people reporting unemployment nationwide.
About 67% of U.S. young adults agree the pandemic has changed what they want from their careers, according to a survey from PR agency Liberty Communications in partnership with strategic insight agency Opinium. The survey queried 1000 respondents, including 500 in the U.S. and 500 in the U.K. between the ages 18-25.
Currently, 56% of all employed young people agree they are on their chosen career path, though due to growing fears of a recession and limited job opportunities, over a third (35%) of U.S. respondents now believe it is unlikely they will eventually end up in their desired role.
“The pandemic has made it difficult to potentially get a job and keep a job,” says Janel Steinberg, VP of Liberty US. “[It’s] discouraging, especially for people who are just starting their careers, because when people are looking to enter the workforce, that experience is now a lot different than it was for everybody else.”
Working from home inhibits the same ability to learn and network, and the ability to test a career path is difficult because jobs are so scarce.
Despite these challenges, nearly half of young people who responded to the survey believe the pandemic positively impacted their at-home relationships, which could translate into fuller careers in the long term.
“Now it seems to be [more important] to create a sense of community and learn, and have a strong work-life balance,” Steinberg said.
Still, changes in the workforce have created challenges for the next generation of professionals. Of the respondents who have applied to jobs during the pandemic, 94% agreed they faced challenges of some kind, including difficulties with interviews or job scarcity due to freezes.
“[Respondents] are willing to be more flexible in how they gain experience because to them, the most important thing is to get that first foothold into your career,” Steinberg said, adding that agencies should be mindful that young people are willing to accept internships, contract work or assignments to get started.