Skip to main

COVID-19: “The 9/11 of Generation Z”

Generations Expert Jason Dorsey Shares with Axios What the Pandemic Means for Students and Those Just Entering the Workforce

Generation V axios woman sitting with a mask on to protect from covid19

  • COVID-19 will be the Generation Defining Moment of Gen Z
  • The pandemic is likely to shape Gen Z’s perceptions of school, work, and government
  • CGK’s research team is studying the impact of the global crisis on each generation

Every generation has a formative moment that defines how they see and interact with the world. For the Silent Generation, it was World War II; for many Baby Boomers, it was the day President Kennedy was killed; and for Millennials, September 11th and the Great Recession of 2008 were both impactful in different ways.

There Is Much To Learn About COVID-19’s Impact on Gen Z and Each Generation

Jason Dorsey, co-founder and President of The Center for Generational Kinetics, told Axios in a recent article that, “COVID-19 is going to be the 9/11 of the Gen Z generation.” Yet the extent of the current crisis is still unknown, especially as it is still unfolding in real-time.

As Axios rightly pointed out, people may lose family or friends to the disease, many have changed how they interact with others socially, whether it be by connecting with friends and family by video or wearing a mask out in public. How all of these rapid changes to daily life affect people’s mental health is not yet fully realized (though safe to say it will have negative effects).

Economic Disruptions Influence How Generations Think About Money Over A Lifetime

CGK’s research has shown that Gen Z is more likely to start saving for retirement earlier in life due to seeing the effects of the Great Recession. We expect Gen Z will see more economic impacts from the shutdown’s effect on businesses now. On the whole, Gen Z workers are disproportionately in entry-level jobs, the service industry, and other sectors that have been gravely impacted by the pandemic.

The Public Sphere Is Changing Rapidly

As the virus spread around the world, governments scrambled to mitigate the worst possible outcomes. Entire sectors of the economy were shut down to reduce close contact. Both federal and state governments rushed a series of legislative packages totaling trillions of dollars (in the U.S. alone)  to help soften the impact.

With 30 million Americans out of work and rising, the nation’s leaders have set up loan programs for small businesses, increased budgets for unemployment insurance, and much more. What this means to a generation coming of age is profound. As Jason told Axios, “Gen Z is now going to be able to say, ‘I remember where I was’ when they started sending out checks to everybody or when health care suddenly became free in order to get tested.” Many things that seemed impossible in February suddenly became reality in March.

How Are Your Gen Z Responding to the Global Crisis?

With all the change, challenge, and uncertainty going on now, leaders must have the most up to date information to ensure that their business can engage Gen Z and emerge from this storm stronger. Here at CGK, we are closely researching how Gen Z and all generations are thinking about work, spending, brands, the economy, family, and much more throughout the pandemic. We are providing these insights as executive briefings, webinars, and virtual keynote presentations to help leaders at all levels be accurately informed with missing data and solutions to drive results at this incredibly important time.

Contact our friendly team here to learn how our research and generational discoveries can help your team and organization through this time of uncertainty.

Blog Category

Recent posts