Four in five Gen Zs would rather work overtime than reduce their workload and see their pay decrease, according to a national survey of 2,000 working adults by workforce and advisory solutions provider Resource Solutions.

The study discovered that Gen Zs are working on average 27 hours overtime per month – equivalent to nearly 7 hours of unpaid work per week. This translates to 13.5 extra days per year, which surpasses all other generations, nearly doubling Boomers who work an average of 6.97 extra days per year.

Amid economic uncertainty and a persistent cost of living crisis, Resource Solutions’ data highlights that the youngest generation may be compromising their mental health and personal wellbeing by dedicating an additional day’s worth of working hours to their week.

Additionally, over a third (35 per cent) of Gen Z employees express discomfort when taking a mental health day, underscoring the lingering stigma around mental health in the workplace. As such, it is imperative employers strive to cultivate a corporate culture where discussions about workplace pressures impacting staff wellbeing are not just encouraged but genuinely embraced.

Other generations displayed a much more relaxed attitude when it came to work/life boundaries. Boomers proved to be the most likely to visit the gym during working hours, with a fifth (20 per cent) incorporating exercise into every working day. This compares to just 13 per cent of Gen Z and 10 per cent of millennials, suggesting that other generations may be neglecting opportunities to improve their physical well-being during the workday in favour of perceived employment priorities.

Kristen Buckheit, managing director EMEA at Resource Solutions, said: “Our research suggests Gen Zs are struggling to set healthy work boundaries, which may be fuelled by concerns around financial stability and job security. It’s worrying to see that even when presented with the opportunity to alleviate workplace pressures and claim back some of their downtime, many young employees are not financially able to afford a better work/life balance.

“As a first step, employers must acknowledge and address the prevalence of overtime,” says Kristen. “Proactively implementing concrete measures such as setting realistic workload expectations is key to ensuring the demands placed on employees align with manageable work hours.

“What’s more, by championing a balanced approach to work, employers can also cultivate a more agreeable professional environment and improve talent attraction and retention. Too many companies take advantage of young graduates’ zest for career progression by overworking them, which only feeds into the necessity for Gen Zs to fulfil their reputation as job-hoppers.”

Resource Solutions celebrates employers that have implemented measures to help curb the current hustle culture and recognises the importance of safeguarding against burnout and retaining this valuable generation of new talent.

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