'The economic crisis is hitting young people, especially women, harder and faster than any other group'
More than one in six Gen Z employees have stopped working due to COVID-19, reported the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Those who still have jobs have seen their working hours cut by 23%.
The report also found that a rise in youth unemployment since February 2020 is affecting females more than male workers.
Besides impacting their current job prospects, the crisis has disrupted their education and training. This can lead to a lasting impact on their careers long-term and a domino effect on the recovery of businesses in the post-crisis world.
“The COVID-19 economic crisis is hitting young people – especially women – harder and faster than any other group,” said Guy Ryder, director-general at ILO. “If we do not take significant and immediate action to improve their situation, the legacy of the virus could be with us for decades.
“If their talent and energy is side-lined by a lack of opportunity or skills it will damage all our futures and make it much more difficult to re-build a better, post-COVID economy.”
The ILO report is a wake-up call for urgent, large-scale efforts to support Gen Z-ers – a group that was much talked about and discussed in the pre-pandemic world, as companies worked on talent strategies to attract and retain the newest entrants of the workforce.
ILO suggested broad-based training programs to keep candidates skilled and prepared for the post-crisis world.
The study found that despite their strong ambitions, young jobseekers have always struggled to start their careers: 46% believe the changing nature of work will make it tougher to find or change jobs and 70% think they may only have some or few of the skills required to succeed in Industry 4.0.
Today’s global recession, predicted to be the worst since the Second World War, may have a worse-off effect on the “lost generation” if they lack support from governments as well as industry players.
“From the economic recession a decade ago to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, millennials and Gen Zs have grown up in a unique moment in time impacting connectivity, trust, privacy, social mobility and work,” said Michele Parmelee, global chief talent officer at Deloitte.
“This uncertainty is reflected in their personal views on business, government, leadership and the need for positive societal change agents.
“As business leaders, we must continue to embrace the issues resonating most with these two generations, or risk losing out on talent in an increasingly competitive market.”
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