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Gen Z During the Pandemic: One Generation, Four Different Experiences

CGK President and Gen Z expert Jason Dorsey shared with Business Insider what our data is showing across all ages of Gen Z

Six Gen Z together hugging smiling and laughing together with Business Insider logo on bottom right

  • Gen Z are experiencing the pandemic differently depending on their age
  • Lack of school environment negatively impacts children
  • Those Gen Z in the workforce are taking the brunt of the economic impact

CGK President and Gen Z expert Jason Dorsey, whose forthcoming book Zconomy is set to be released in September, shared several research-based insights about the impact of the pandemic on Gen Z with Business Insider recently. Those impacts are felt socially and economically; and will have a profound effect on how Gen Z develop in their coming of age. As we have seen, the pandemic is a Generation Defining Moment for Gen Z, aka iGen.

However, as Dorsey mentioned to Business Insider, “It’s likely Gen Z will become even more financially risk-averse than they already are and that the pandemic will change how they view work and learning [but] there’s a big difference between the seven-year-old and the 21-year-old.”

Jason is already sharing his latest insights and discoveries with clients in customized virtual events, podcasts, and interactive webinars.

Gen Z Missing Friends: Especially Hard for School-Age Children

Health experts continue to stress the need for social distancing and other preventive measures during the pandemic. This new normal for social interaction has had an impact on all of us, especially children.

As Jason Dorsey shared with Business Insider, “[Kids] already living at home with their parents [are telling us] they now have to see their parents all the time during quarantine life. They’ve also said that they miss school and their friends.”

High School Seniors and College Students’ Expectations are Changing Rapidly

Young adults finishing high school and those in college are seeing the same issues compounded with a realization that their futures have been affected as well.

As Jason highlighted in the interview, “[High school seniors’] graduations and proms have been canceled, and this is their last year to drive academic and sports achievements. But seniors aren’t just disappointed they’re missing out on their last year of high school. They’re also unsure what will happen after graduation.”

It is not much better for college students. Leaning on our latest research, Jason continued, “Some are unsure if their classmates whose parents were laid off will return to school, because they may no longer be able to afford tuition […] There’s also the fact that some on-campus requirements like science labs can’t be [replicated] at home.”

Economic Uncertainty Greatly Affects Gen Z Workers

America has now seen over 35 million workers file for unemployment in the last two months. Our studies have shown that Gen Z has seen the worst of these economic impacts. It isn’t just about just losing their job, either.

As Jason explained in the interview, “They’ve already been trying to become self-reliant and to build a foundation into adulthood and that’s completely gone. They don’t have finances to fall back on, and they can’t count on parents. They’re really in desperate straits because they lost their job or income and don’t have backstops to help them right now. They also don’t have a retirement account to pull money out of.”

Gen Z is experiencing many challenges now. Notwithstanding, there are many opportunities for them to find their silver lining based on this Generation Defining Moment. Jason and his co-author, Dr. Denise Villa, write about Gen Z’s strengths and more in their forthcoming book, Zconomy: How Gen Z Will Change the Future of Business—and What to Do About It.

How to Engage Your Gen Z Customers and Employees

There are many challenges with the uncertainty happening now. Leaders, marketers, and managers must ensure that their business can engage Gen Z and emerge stronger. At CGK, we are meticulously researching how Gen Z and all generations are thinking about spending, work, brands, family, the economy, and much more throughout the pandemic. We are providing these insights to you 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 custom research and generational discoveries can help your team and organization lead and solve challenges through this time of uncertainty.

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