Well-Being Mental Health

Half of Gen Z workers feel burnout at least once a week: survey

While half of respondents report mental and emotional hardships, most also report feeling optimistic about their futures.
young Black woman sitting at a desk in front of computer monitor, massaging her eyes

Story at a glance

  • A new survey asked over a thousand young professionals about their mental and emotional health. 

  • About 53 percent said they feel burnout at least once a week. 

  • About half said they had mental and emotional problems in the past year. 

Half of Gen Z professionals feel burnout at least weekly, according to a new survey.

In the survey from The Mary Christie Institute, more than 1,000 recent college graduates between 22 and 28 years old were asked about their mental health and working life.

Half of the participants also said they experienced mental and emotional hardships in the past year. About 43 percent said they had anxiety and 31 percent said they had depression. 

Fifty-three percent of respondents said they experienced burnout at their jobs at least once a week. This group was more likely to say they wanted to leave their job within the next year compared to the participants overall, at 42 versus 32 percent. 

The survey indicated those mental health challenges may in part be linked to financial stress. Almost half of the Gen Z workers surveyed said their financial situation is “always or often” stressful, and respondents who experienced financial stress were more likely to have needed help with mental or emotional health problems in the past year.

The young adults who participated may also be finding barriers to accessing or paying for mental health services, the survey found.

“This is more evidence that mental health problems, particularly stress and anxiety, are extending beyond college and into the workplace,” says Sarah Ketchen Lipson of the Boston University School of Public Health and the Healthy Minds Network, who advised on the survey, in a press release. 

The survey additionally asked about higher education and if respondents felt it prepared them for the workplace. Thirty-nine percent said they felt college helped them develop emotional skills, while an equal number of people said the opposite.  

Most of the respondents felt that mental health was a priority at their workplace and 46 percent agreed with the statement that open discussion about mental wellbeing is encouraged at their jobs. However, nearly a quarter of the participants disagreed with that statement. 

“These findings should encourage leaders in higher education and the workforce to see each other as partners in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young professionals,” says Lynn Pasquerella, who is President of the American Association of Colleges and Universities and a partner on the survey, in the press release. “The social and emotional resources they gain as students become essential strengths when starting their careers.” 

Despite the challenges, three quarters of these young professionals said they felt optimistic about their futures. Nearly as many said they “lead a purposeful and meaningful life.” About 85 percent also said they feel they are competent and capable of the activities that are important to them.