Organizational Wellness

‘Generation Resilient’: America’s Youngest Employees are Actually More Optimistic

Jan 12, 2023
Last Updated Jun 1, 2023

Despite pandemic woes, Wellhub State of Work-Life Wellness data shows that America’s youngest employees are actually more optimistic than we might think.

The biggest lesson we learned from 2022 is that the way we’re approaching work isn’t working: Employee stress is at an all-time high, with 60% of employees emotionally detached at work. Yet despite being a generation that was rocked by the pandemic during their formative high school and college years – not to mention entering the workforce during a time of economic uncertainty – Wellhub data shows that Gen Z employees are shockingly optimistic.

Wellhub’ inaugural State of Work-Life Wellness Report, which included a survey of over 9,000 employees across the world, found that when looking at employees aged 18-24, 59% reported that their wellbeing improved in 2022.

Further, of these Gen Z employees surveyed:

  • Over half (55%) rated their overall wellbeing as thriving or good,
  • Three out of four (75%) are happy working at their current company,
  • And a whopping 85% reported they are engaged with their work.

Because Gen Z has been forced to cope with challenging life events at such an early age, they’ve simultaneously learned healthy coping habits for managing stress. For example, their preferred methods for managing stress are meditating, going to therapy, exercising and using mental health apps.

This means that Gen Z employees now expect, and even demand, that their employers support their wellbeing journeys – both physical and mental. 

  • 78% of Gen Z employees would consider leaving a company that doesn’t focus on wellbeing. 
  • Similarly, 78% of Gen Z employees consider wellbeing at work to be equally important to salary. 


Amid a period of economic uncertainty and a tightening labor market, HR teams are even more keen to retain talent, which is why we’re seeing trends like Quiet Quitting gain steam. Employees as a whole, but Gen Z employees in particular, have come to expect a certain level of wellbeing support from their employers, and if they don’t receive it, they’ll either become disengaged, or they’ll quit to find another job where their wellbeing is prioritized.

With all of this in mind, it’s not surprising that Gen Z employees are actually the most engaged with their wellbeing benefits: 66% of Gen Z employees said they use their company’s wellbeing benefits all the time or some of the time, compared to 65% of employees aged 30-40 and 57% of employees aged 40 and up.

As Gen Z employees rise through the ranks in the workforce over the coming decades, these behaviors and expectations around wellbeing in the workplace will shift how companies think about their long-term hiring and recruitment strategies. Companies who get ahead of the game and understand these behaviors now will have a leg up over those who wait to address these expectations later down the line.



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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