80% of Gen Z staff would rather work overtime than see pay decrease

Five million employees work £35 billion worth of unpaid overtime a yearFour-fifths of Gen Z employees would rather work overtime than reduce their workload and see their pay decrease, according to research by Resource Solutions.

The workforce and advisory solutions provider, which surveyed 2,000 UK adults aged 18-65 who have been employed in the past year, also found that the youngest generation may be compromising their mental health and personal wellbeing by adding an additional day’s worth of working hours to their week.

It found that Gen Zs work, on average, 27 hours overtime per month, the equivalent to nearly seven hours of unpaid work per week and 13.5 extra days per year. This is nearly double the amount of Baby Boomers, who work an average of 6.97 extra days per year.

In terms of health and wellbeing, more than a third (35%) of Gen Z employees expressed discomfort when taking a mental health day. One-fifth (20%) of Baby Boomers said they incorporate exercise into every working day by visiting the gym, compared to just 13% of Gen Z and 10% of millennials.

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Kristen Buckheit, managing director Europe, Middle East and Africa (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. Proactively implementing concrete measures such as setting realistic workload expectations is key to ensuring the demands placed on employees align with manageable work hours. By championing a balanced approach to work, employers can also cultivate a more agreeable professional environment and improve talent attraction and retention.”