The hybrid working model many businesses are now adopting may not be working for everyone. New research reveals that almost half of 18–35-year-olds are looking for work, while more than 50% feel work is transactional, and over a fifth say they don’t feel fully present or engaged in their work.
The study also reveals that young people now face higher levels of employee stress, financial concern, and reduced workplace satisfaction and growth.
While young employees have relished newfound workplace freedoms, the move towards flexible and remote work risks hurting their mental well-being and professional development, with many now seeking new jobs.
Our latest 360 Global Well-Being Survey, titled Exhausted by Work – The Employer Opportunity, shows that while hybrid and flexible work is seen as very important amongst younger workers, they are also experiencing worrying levels of burnout and concern for the future. Over 97% are suffering from burnout, and 40% are worried by the rising costs of living.
Despite over three-quarters of younger respondents saying they are ‘always on’ with work, many are actually struggling to engage with their work and feel it has become purely transactional with no in-person interaction. A fifth (20%) say a lack of learning and development opportunities is also causing stress.
Now, with over 70% saying they are re-evaluating their life priorities, employers must urgently recognize the need for action.
Michelle Leung, HR Officer, Cigna International Markets, said the findings should ring alarm bells for employers everywhere. “Business leaders must not become complacent in this new flexible workplace era. Remote work shouldn’t mean less opportunity, growth or sense of belonging for younger people,” said Leung.
“If we are not careful, this could quickly escalate into a generational divide – those who built lasting professional careers during the years of traditional onsite work, and those who were disenfranchised during the remote transition – the, so called, Great Resignation and the Quiet Quitting phenomena.”
“The workplace is fundamentally changed. More than ever, bosses and managers need to tune into employee needs if they want to retain good staff. They need to invest more time and consideration to help employees grow, get satisfaction from their jobs and to perform at their best,” said Leung.
Failure to respond to these issues could mean a significant loss of talent. Up to 73% of 25–34-year-old Millennials and 71% of 18–24-year-old Gen Zs are spending more time evaluating their priorities compared to two years ago. Worryingly, our research also shows nearly of all under 35s are now looking for new roles at a time when much of the world is entering uncertain economic times.
“All over the world, the younger generation has been most impacted by the changes in workplace culture,” said Jason Sadler, President, Cigna International.
“While they welcome the move to flexible working models, they need support to adapt to the new work culture. Employers need to ensure all employees, especially younger staff members, have the opportunities to develop and grow in their careers. They also need to be careful that ‘out of sight’ isn’t ‘out of mind’, and that Whole Health and well-being forms a central pillar of their business and workplace strategy.”
About the Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey
The eighth edition of the Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey was conducted by Cigna International Markets, in partnership with Kantar, a leading data, insights, and consulting company. More than 11,900 people from Australia, Belgium, Mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UAE, UK and USA were surveyed for the research in May this year. It examined five key components – family, financial, physical, social, and work – to uncover the latest trends and challenges for the health and well-being of expats.
Online sampling used respondents recruited from panels that undergo rigorous quality control and the panel composition is representative of the adult population in each of the surveyed markets.