Gen Z and the Covid-19 Economy

In this article we explore how Gen Zers are managing the financial and economical impact of Covid.

The author(s)

  • Chris Chhim Account Manager, Public Affairs
  • Jessica Weber Senior Account Manager, Public Affairs
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Contrary to what you might have seen on the evening news or heard on talk radio, Gen Zers are not the free-wheeling Instagram influencers snapping selfies while on Spring Break. In fact, they might be more financially responsible than you think.

Gen Zers are just as worried about money as other generations.

The most recent Ipsos data have shown that with the exception of Boomers Gen Z has the same financial worries as every other generation. This generation came of age seeing their parents struggle with the economic recession of 2007-2008 and now they have to live through yet another ‘once in a lifetime’ downturn. More than 8 out of 10 (83%) believe that Canada will enter an economic recession.

Just because Gen Z is young does not mean they don’t have to pay for things like rent, food, or tuition. Almost half (47%) say they are having a hard time keeping up with bills because of the pandemic. But don’t confuse having a hard time keeping up with bills with being financially irresponsible. Gen Z is still mostly either still in school or just getting started in their careers, and just because they tend to not have a lot of money does not mean that they aren’t concerned or don’t know what to do with it.

Gen Z knows they’ll be paying for CERB well into the future, but they can’t access it.

As policymakers fall over themselves to cater to the worries of older generations, Gen Z knows that they will have to pick up the pieces. While much has been made of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), some groups continue to point out that students are not originally eligible to access this benefit. The government has now announced that students will qualify for aid. If it seems ridiculous that students would be eligible to receive financial assistance from the federal government, consider that this is the generation that will have to bear the biggest burden for our response to this crisis. Gen Zers will lose opportunities in terms of pay cuts, promotion freezes, or working hours reductions. All these measures disproportionately affect Gen Z’s future financial health than any other generation. Why are older generations lecturing Gen Z about the virtues of compound interest and the need to save, when they are the ones pulling those opportunities out from under them?

When you engage with Gen Z be aware that they are focused on the here and now.  They are looking for certainties for their immediate future. Gainful employment and work experience appear scarce and are now that much more valuable. Our data suggest that they will be seeking assurances that there will once again be opportunities for them to gain valuable work experience and to get their education and career plans back on track. While it is true that many Gen Zers may not be on the verge of having their home repossessed or having their entire stock portfolio wiped out, they are still feeling the pain financially- this pain must be considered if Gen Z is to support Canada’s recovery. Given the scale of things they’ll have to put up with in the future, employers should hire seriously consider hiring Gen Zers once the economy begins to open up again. Canada’s ability to bounce back depends Gen Z’s economic success.

The data in this article comes from Ipsos Public Affairs’ Context Advantage Suite. For more information on Generation Z and Ipsos’ social research offering, please contact Chris Chhim, Haley Jones, or Jessica Weber. For more information on the Context Advantage Suite please click here.

Chris is an Account Manager at Ipsos Public Affairs, based out of Montreal. He holds a PhD in Political Science from McGill University. Prior to joining the Public Affairs team, he worked as a researcher and lecturer specializing in Canadian politics, methodology, and social statistics.

Jessica Weber is a Senior Account Manager at Ipsos Public Affairs based out of Calgary. She holds a master’s degree in political science focused on successful stakeholder relations strategies in the energy sector.

The author(s)

  • Chris Chhim Account Manager, Public Affairs
  • Jessica Weber Senior Account Manager, Public Affairs