Are these young employees showing signs of burnout?
Leon Sanchez (not his real name), a 25-year-old civil engineer, is growing frustrated with his job at a local government unit.
His department reviews infrastructure and construction projects in the city, but two years into this job, he finds himself overwhelmed.
Sanchez laments the uneven workload distribution as some of the tasks of another department have fallen on them as well. When asked why, Sanchez tells the Inquirer his group is recognized as the “competent” team so they are trusted to do additional work.
Sanchez is not alone. The scenario of young employees overwhelmed by the demands of the job is common.
A study by Deloitte reveals that about 70 percent of the Filipino Gen Zs and 63 percent of millennials are experiencing burnout because of the “demands of their workload”—much higher than the 45-percent global average.
As such, 58 percent of the local respondents claim that many of their colleagues have quit the company due to “work pressure.” This also exceeds the 43-percent global average.
This workplace problem is taking a toll on their mental health, which is among the Filipino youth’s key stressors.
Deloitte says about 48 percent of millennials and 68 percent of the Gen Zs in the Philippines claim to be “anxious or stressed out all or most of the time.” These figures, again, are much more than the global average of 38 percent for millennials and 46 percent for Gen Zs.
“It appears that our youngest work colleagues, in particular, have a lot weighing on their minds, which is not surprising considering the circumstances surrounding their milestones,” Deloitte Philippines managing partner and CEO Eric Landicho explains.
“This is the generation that graduated from high school or college in the middle of a pandemic, that transitioned to the workforce at a time when the world of work looked nothing like it did before, and that was probably inundated with news of uncertainty and disruption.”
Gen Zs were born from 1995 to 2003 (currently 19 to 27 years old) while millennials were born between 1983 and 1994 (28 to 39 years old).
The survey covered more than 23,000 respondents from 46 countries, including the Philippines, for the period November 2021 to January 2022.
Wanted: Considerate boss
Employers, as such, must be “more mindful of supporting these generational cohorts in the workplace as we all navigate the volatility,” the Deloitte chief urges.
The study notes that companies can support these youngsters by setting manageable workloads and deploying mental health resources.
For example, respondents cite the need to: create more job-sharing options for easing workload; avoid sending work emails past business hours; give employees the option to work remotely; and look at a shorter working week to improve work-life balance.
“The mental health talks, the free yoga or meditation sessions that organizations rolled out to help people manage their anxiety levels at the height of the pandemic may have helped workers up to a point, but it appears it’s not enough,” Landicho underscores.
“Looking at longer-term initiatives, organizations may want to consider investing in training programs that help build empathetic leadership skills and that equip managers with capabilities to recognize and help with mental health challenges,” he adds.
The concerns have not fallen on deaf ears.
Some 80 percent of Filipino Gen Zs and millennials—higher than 57 percent and 53 percent of respective global cohorts—say their employers have paid more attention to their well-being and mental health since the pandemic started.
Unfortunately, the study says existing effort does not seem to be paying off. More than 70 percent of Filipino Gen Zs and millennials say that their organization’s increased focus on mental health has not resulted in any meaningful impact on them.
There are also concerns on finances, both for the long term and daily needs. Filipino Gen Zs appear to be more stressed out as 65 percent of them cite this as an issue, higher than 56 percent among the millennials.
It is no surprise that unemployment and cost of living—including expenses related to transportation, housing and bills—bring them worry, according to the Deloitte study.
“With the global economy still on recovery mode and inflation rising in several territories, including the Philippines, financial concerns have exceeded health worries even as the pandemic rages on,” it explains.
Filipinos have been dealing with rising consumer prices aggravated by expensive fuel due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Inflation recently hit 6.1 percent, the highest since 2018.
To boost their source of income, more than 60 percent of Filipino millennials and Gen Zs opt to take a second job, either part or full time work.
The most popular side hustles for them are selling products or services online; consulting/running their own businesses; and doing child or pet care.
“Juggling more than one occupation, while probably necessary for millennials and Gen Zs to meet their financial obligations, could also be contributing to their stress, anxiety, and feelings of being burned out,” the Deloitte study notes.
The green imperative
Climate change, however, does not make it to the Filipino youth’s top concerns.
Still, 82 percent of the local millennials and 84 percent of the Gen Zs claim to have been “personally affected by at least one severe weather event in the last 12 months.”
“Perhaps in terms of the more urgent concerns, climate change is lower on the list of young Filipinos, but we can’t deny that it is a crisis and that we all need to contribute to mitigating its effects,” Landicho says.
About 80 percent of the millennials and Gen Zs, at the same time, say they are making efforts to bring down their environmental footprint.
In line with this, Gen Z and millennial Filipinos say they want more organizations to have additional investments for environmental sustainability.
These include ban of single-use plastic products in the office, training for employees to learn how to help the environment and granting incentives for employees to employ sustainable measures.
“Climate action is one area where business leaders can and should actively engage their employees, because the youth understand the urgency of the situation and because enterprise-wide initiative is one sure way we can drive change at scale,” the Deloitte official says.
“This is especially important for us here in Asia-Pacific, where there are several countries at highest risk of multiple climate hazards, including the Philippines,” he adds.
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