‘Generation Z workers hardest hit by the pandemic’: ADP Survey

Younger workers twice as likely to suffer job losses, lay-offs and furloughs; but display significant resilience and agility to future-proof their careers


Generation Z has been hardest hit professionally by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic according to a new study by the ADPRI research Institute, People at Work 2021: A Global Workforce View.

More than 78% of the 18–24 year-old cohort say their professional lives have been affected. 

ADP’s survey of more than 32,000 adult workers across 17 countries also found two in five (39%) had lost jobs, were furloughed, or suffered a temporary layoff from their employer. Whereas 28% of workers of all ages said the same. 

Generation Z indicated they were twice as likely to have been impacted by the pandemic compared to those aged over 55, the oldest age bracket. This may explain the plunge in optimism of 10 percentage points (83%) among them. 

Generation Z most likely to suffer professionally

Thinking about COVID-19, how, if at all, have you been impacted professionally?






Lost a job, been furloughed or temporarily laid off with the same employer






The report explores the effects the pandemic has had on employees’ attitudes toward the current world of work, their expectations of and what they hope for in the workplace of the future.

In India, 89% of the Generation Z mentioned that they had to choose between work and well-being or family. They attributed working from home to blurring the boundaries of definitive working hours.

Future-proofing careers

Rahul Goyal, Managing Director of ADP India & Southeast Asia, said Generation Z has had to be the most professionally agile of any age group in the face of COVID-19.

“In India, more than half of young workers say they have taken up additional responsibility for fear of job loss during the pandemic,” says Goyal.

“Employees often define job security by the reach of their professional network and the ability to tap into relationships to find non-linear jobs that can extend a career. That’s exactly what Generation Z is doing: finding new ways to climb the ladder.

“The unfortunate reality of entering the workforce in a recession is large initial earnings losses,” Goyal adds. “This triggers significant changes to local labour market structures that can take years to recover from. The more young people can be proactive, the better.”

“COVID-19 has been an emotional burden for the younger generation of workers in India, but they see themselves getting better and stronger through self-motivation, adaptability, and new personal skills. This could have long-term implications for the jobs people do and how they work in the future,” says Goyal.

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