Cost of living crisis impacts employment choices above all else

The cost of living crisis looks set to shape the UK employment market for years to come with 67% of Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) saying it is impacting their career choices above any other factor.

Gen Z is feeling the pinch

Ongoing uncertainties have led those entering the job market to place a greater emphasis on starting salary and job security than any other consideration.

The findings from our survey of 2,600 young people in conjunction with Amberjack highlight significant changes that may come as a surprise to many employers.

For those already in work, especially post Covid pandemic, much has been made of hybrid working and companies’ wider ESG credentials. Undoubtedly these matter to those about to start work but our findings suggest they can't currently afford to be of prime concern.

Cost of living crisis

Generation Z are entering the employment market at a time of skyrocketing food and heating bills, rent inflation and a property market meaning most who are able will be living with their parents for the foreseeable future. Set against this backdrop, salary and the longevity of employment become the focus.

For individual employers and entire industries this has huge ramifications.

With almost two thirds of those surveyed saying salary was a prime consideration and the same number highlighting job security, it is essential for anyone hoping to attract high-quality recruits to demonstrate their appeal in one, or ideally both of these areas.

Salary clarity

Salaries should no longer be opaque, hidden behind terms such as ‘competitive’ or ‘dependent on experience’. If starting salary does vary based on experience, it is important to state this in figures so those researching can compare the opportunity against other options.

Failure to explicitly state a salary could lead to them simply dismissing the role as a possibility.

However, we believe the findings should also encourage those in professions unable to offer the highest salaries if instead they can speak of job security and chance for career progression.

Offer certainty in uncertain times

Against a backdrop of uncertainty both domestically and on a global scale, the offer of secure, long-term employment is an appealing one, especially when so many roles only offer short, fixed-term contracts. The gig economy is not appealing to all, or even most.

This does not mean that all of that work on environmental, social and governance issues is wasted. These factors are still important to those just entering work, but unless there is a clear expectation of salary, and an idea of career progression, candidates may look no further than your advert. 

We will be bringing more insights through our partnership with Amberjack over the next few weeks, with the full report being published on 21st February. If you’d like to register to receive the report as soon as it’s published.

Follow this link to register: Gen Z Careers Report 2023 (


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