The pandemic took a heavy toll on the mental health of millennials and Generation Z, a new study has found. According to the Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Generation Z Survey, four in ten millennials and Gen Zs are stressed all or most of the time, and about one-third of them had to take time off work due to stress.
The survey was conducted among 23,000 people in 45 countries, including Ireland, and participants were born between January 1983 and December 2003.
According to the survey, only 32% of millennials and Gen Z have spoken to their employer about pandemic-induced stress, while 41% said that their employer did not take any measures to support their mental health during the pandemic. According to a Deloitte representative, it’s critical that businesses understand the struggles that their workers are going through because of the pandemic and foster a culture that promotes their wellbeing. This is backed up by numerous studies which state that poor mental health can affect work productivity and even lead to anxiety and depression. Although there has been more awareness on mental health in the past years, stigma still remains, and businesses will have to address this.
Being able to talk openly about stress and other mental health concerns is important in any modern workplace, and failing to build this kind of culture could cost employers. The survey also analysed the job loyalty of millennials and Gen Zs and found that, compared to previous years, more respondents said that they planned to leave their current workplace in the following two years. For example, only half of millennials and Gen Zs said that their current jobs align with their personal beliefs and ethics. Less than half of respondents believed that businesses have a positive impact on society.
As for the reasons why millennials and Gen Zs are feeling stressed, the survey found that financial insecurity is one of the leading causes, with two-thirds of respondents saying that they often worry about their financial situation. Other reasons for being stressed included fear of their loved ones getting sick, family welfare, having fewer job prospects because of the pandemic, and witnessing devastating global events.
Millennials and Gen Z aren’t the only ones who have experienced higher levels of stress due to the pandemic. A study conducted in Ireland this year also found that the number of people who struggled with their mental health during the pandemic was four times higher compared to previous years. The biggest jump was reported among female respondents: if in 2017, only 9% of women reported experiencing mental health issues, during the pandemic, that percentage increased to 43%. Worryingly, 46% of respondents said they preferred to hide mental health struggles from family and friends, and most were from young age groups.