In a recent study conducted by Reward Gateway, the leading employee engagement specialist, it has been revealed that almost half (46%) of Generation Z workers in the UK (aged 18-24) feel their efforts in the workplace go unrecognised.

The lack of recognition and reward is taking a toll on the mental well-being of these young workers, with a third (32%) expressing feelings of loneliness at work – a statistic three times higher than their Baby Boomer counterparts aged 55 and above (9%).

Gen Z, often referred to as affirmation addicts, are not only seeking acknowledgment but are also willing to take extreme measures if their demands are not met.

Over a fifth (22%) of Gen Z workers admitted they would consider quitting a job that fails to provide them with adequate benefits, a rate higher than any other generation in the workforce.

Also, 16 percent of Gen Z employees are ready to leave if their employer’s mission and values do not align with their own.

The Workplace Struggles of Gen Z

The research sheds light on the challenging nature of the workplace for Gen Z, with more than half (54%) frequently experiencing stress and 46 percent feeling overwhelmed. Burnout is a prevalent issue, affecting 43 percent of Gen Z workers, more than twice as much as Baby Boomers (26%).

As a consequence, sick leave has reached its highest level in a decade, particularly as more Gen Z individuals enter the workforce. Gen Z also leads in taking unplanned mental health days, averaging three per year. This starkly contrasts with Baby Boomers, who take an average of just one sick day, with a substantial 74 percent reporting taking no sick days at all.

Seeking Emotional Support Managers

In coping with workplace stress and burnout, Gen Z is turning to their managers for support. However, less than a fifth (19%) of Gen Z employees feel adequately supported by their managers – the lowest percentage among all generations.

Recognising the need for a shift in management practices, 80 percent of Gen Z workers believe that their manager and workplace positively impact their wellbeing. A staggering 94 percent have suggestions for improvement, highlighting the demand for more recognition and regular check-ins.

Experts suggest that embracing Gen Z values in the workplace is not only necessary but also beneficial for employers. Nebel Crowhurst, Chief People Officer at Reward Gateway, emphasised the importance of investing in the happiness of Gen Z, stating, “When we invest in their happiness and shift to align with their values, we attract top talent, boost productivity, and enhance innovation.”

As the workforce continues to evolve, adapting to the needs of Gen Z is crucial for the success and sustainability of workplaces. Employers are encouraged to foster a more supportive and affirming environment to not only retain Gen Z talent but also to prepare for the arrival of Generation Alpha in the future.






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.