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From A to Gen Z: How the Pandemic Has Impacted the Youngest Generation and All Americans

Jim Fitzpatrick of CBT News Sat Down with CGK President Jason Dorsey For A Wide-Ranging Interview


mother and child with laptop and glass of milk and CBT logo on top left

  • Gen Z is the generation in the workforce most impacted by the pandemic
  • Many Americans now work remotely, though not everyone likes it
  • Gen Z continues to show their frugality in the face of Covid-19
  • Communication is more important than ever for employers to lead effectively

CGK President and lead generational researcher Jason Dorsey sat down with Jim Fitzpatrick via Zoom to discuss several key topics affecting Gen Z and all generations. From jobs and the economy to school and the future for recent high school and college grads, Jason shared CGK’s latest research findings.

Jason, along with CGK’s CEO Denise Villa, Ph.D., go into detail on all these subjects and much more in their new book, Zconomy, How Gen Z Will Change the Future of Business—and What to Do About It. It is essential reading for all leaders looking to connect with the newest generation entering the workforce and that are becoming more reliable consumers.

Gen Z is the Generation in the Workforce Most Impacted by the Pandemic

While practically no one has escaped at least some hardship brought on by the coronavirus, our research has shown that by far, Gen Z has been hit hardest. As Jason shared with CBT News, “We found that when it comes to, for example, work, the generation most negatively affected, meaning their most lost hours, lost their job, on and on and on, are all Gen Z. That is important because there is a perception out there that it is actually older generations, and that is not true.” In fact, 25% of Gen Z believe that they will be much worse off even after the pandemic is over.

Conversely, the generation doing the best, based on CGK’s latest national research, is Gen X. As Jason continued, “They were the one [generation] that tend to be doing what they were doing before.” 

Remote Work is Proving to be Hard Work

According to our latest national study, nearly half of employees in America are working remotely. We have heard and seen countless stories of kids making appearances at virtual board meetings and dogs barking in the background. However, not all are so excited about this arrangement.

As Jason noted in the interview, “We have found that nationally, the majority of Americans, 52%, across generations, do not want to work from home when the pandemic is over, that’s part-time or full-time…a lot of people still want to go into a physical place. Now, it may look a lot different, but they want to do it.”

Gen Z is More Frugal Than Ever

We have now been studying Gen Z for several years. From the start, we saw Gen Z was much more conservative with money. As Jason shared with Jim from CBT News, “They witnessed the Great Recession. Now remember they did not go through [it] as adults, they were kids, yet they were old enough to see their parents struggle.”

With that experience, the extraordinary times of today only compound Gen Z’s earlier life lesson. They will most likely look to find ways to save, potentially making them more successful in the long term. We believe they may even leapfrog some Millennials!

Even in their early 20s, Gen Z are saving money, investing, and looking for good benefits from prospective employers.

Communicating Effectively During This Crisis is a Must

While you may expect it’s most important for employers to show strength and resiliency in these tough times, what our research found was much different. As Jason shared in the interview, “In fact, what [employees] wanted most was honesty and candor. They wanted someone to be well prepared and well informed.”

And when it came to wanting empathy from their managers, the generation that wanted that attribute least was Millennials! The generation that many assume wants to be coddled and catered to actually most wanted their managers to provide accurate information.

How to Engage Gen Z Now

There are many challenges during this extraordinary time. In spite of this, leaders, marketers, and managers must ensure that their organizations can engage Gen Z now and emerge from this time with strength. This has never been more important for employers and marketers as well as for Gen Z’s future.

At CGK, we are tirelessly researching how Gen Z and all generations are thinking about spending, work, brands, family, the economy, and much more throughout the pandemic. Our team is providing these insights to you with strategic advisory sessions, 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 custom research and generational strategies can help your team and organization lead and solve challenges through this time of uncertainty. We are all in this together.


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