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NextGen Magazine


Study: Gen Z's Work Habits Often Include a 'Side Hustle'

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Sep 21, 2023

Members of Generation Z are stressed about money—so stressed that almost four in 10 have a job as well as a side hustle to make ends meet, a new Ernst & Young (EY) study found.

Fifty-six percent of the 1,500 young adults ages 16 to 26 polled by the 2023 EY Gen Z Segmentation Study in February earned money from  freelance or "side hustle" work, while 65 percent of them were employed last year in a part-time or full-time role.  But, most notably, 39 percent of them earned money from both a job and a side hustle.

Almost seven in ten rated their current financial situations as "fair" (37.9 percent) or worse (31.5 percent). In addition, 52 percent reported concern about not having enough money, and 39 percent are afraid of making the wrong choices with their money.

Mental health was also an issue for the respondents, competing with their money concerns. Significant numbers reported feeling worried or anxious; 47 percent of those who are unable to stop or control worrying say they feel that way more than half the days or nearly every day, and 56 percent of those who feel nervous, anxious or on edge say they feel that way more than half the days or nearly every day.

In addition, the study found that members of Gen Z are quite vocal about their values. More than 90 percent of them place authenticity, or being true to oneself, among their highest values. They are also frank about  topics once considered impolite, such as gender and sexuality, and personal satisfaction with life and career choices. Only 34 percent of them said they can “trust” large organizations or the federal government. They said they are more trusting of individuals and small, local entities that they can actively engage with. Fifty-nine percent said that they care about purchasing from companies that reflect their values.

"As in previous studies, Gen Z's top priority remains enjoying their work, although making money runs a close second as the cost of living keeps rising," the report said. "And they're getting more creative in their approach, using every tool in the shed as traditional, employer-driven career paths shift to individual-driven, strategic monetization of acquired skills, knowledge and experience."