Gen Z Struggles with Impact of COVID-19 and ChatGPT


Generation Z are facing a unique double-whammy of circumstances: the pandemic and ChatGPT. Melissa Swift, a Transformation Leader at consulting firm Mercer, told the Financial Times that today’s newly graduated workers found themselves navigating through an unfamiliar situation with record-high unemployment levels shortly after entering their careers.

The unemployment rate has now given way to record-low levels, offering new opportunities to the young members of Generation Z to jump back into the rat race. Unfortunately, the remote-only working world has produced an array of unique challenges for young professionals, ranging from a sheer lack of mentorship to miscommunications resulting from context- and tone-related issues over Slack.

ChatGPT AI technology poses a legitimate threat to many entry-level jobs, triggering worries among 40% of workers that ChatGPT might be able to replace them completely. Gen Z thus needs to have its particular demands as a generation taken into consideration, like extra support and a stronger mentor-mentee connection that’s oftentimes impossible for their stretched-thin managers.

The sheer weight of trying to stay afloat in a time of high inflation and persisting labor shortages is taking its toll on middle managers, as evidenced by a survey from Workforce Institute at UKG where 46% of middle-managers revealed that they’re likely to quit their jobs within a year due to work-related stress.

As a consequence, Gen Z and Gen X — who also pushed for career options that aligned with their values when they began their journey — have gone largely unrecognized. To avoid risking the loss of such a critical moment, Gary Beckstand from the O.C. Tanner Institute suggests giving thoughtful recognition to Gen Z and avoiding money as a sole reward.

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Rather than trying to accommodate each individual’s special needs in such a challenging environment, the key to building and maintaining a successful, long-term connection between generations lies in the recognition of shared values and experiences.

The Workforce Institute at UKG is a global leader in researching the relationship between workers and employers in order to provide meaningful insights to help drive organizational productivity and performance. Established in 1901, UKG has grown to become one of the leading workforce management solutions that continues to empower employers to build better workplaces.

Melissa Swift is a Transformation Leader at Mercer, responsible for helping the company and its customers to leverage digitalization and automation to adapt to ongoing industry changes and disruption. She has also served as an AGILE Coach and Professional Scrum Master, helping teams to be more productive and prepare for the ever-evolving landscape. As a transformation leader, she contributes to Mercer’s mission of reimagining how people and technology, organizations, and workforce management can work together to bring forth sustainable solutions.

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