- Half of Generation Z workers in a survey by Randstad US and Apartment Guide said they're supplementing their income with a second job due to living expenses rising faster than wages, compared to 28% of workers overall.
- The study of 1,211 working homeowners and renters ages 18 to 45 and above also found that 44% said their mortgage, rent, household utilities and other living expenses were rising faster than their annual salaries each year. Forty-two percent said they'd need to earn at least $60,000 a year to stay in their desired neighborhood, and renting is a reality for many: 39% of house renters, 38% of room renters and 33% of apartment renters had at least one roommate to help make ends meet.
- Though long commutes had a negative impact on the moods of respondents — including 42% of Gen Z respondents — workers also had a mixed reaction to some aspects of flexible work. Forty-four percent of respondents said they preferred working in an office because this option made it easier to disconnect from work, Randstad US said.
Other studies affirm the toll that rising living costs are having on workers: 75% of workers in a Citrix Systems report said they would move out of the cities they currently live in for a less costly location, and 78% of tech workers in a recent CompTIA study said they would move elsewhere if they could, citing affordability and the economy as major reasons for relocating. A majority of respondents in the Citrix Systems study even called the cost of living in major cities "crippling."
Housing in Silicon Valley — where the median monthly rent for a one-room apartment can be as high $2,500 in San Jose and $3,000 in San Francisco — has surpassed the wages of many tech workers, and 38% of them to conducted job searches in outside areas, according to a 2017 report by Indeed. San Francisco-based Zapier responded to the crisis by offering workers $10,000 to put towards relocating outside the Bay Area.
"Tight budgets are nothing new for young people just starting out in their careers, but today's increasingly high cost of living coupled with slow wage growth means that, despite low unemployment, millennials and Gen Zs are faced with at least two variables negatively impacting their financial well-being," Jim Link, CHRO at Randstad North America, said in a statement. Link added that while allowing employees to work at home could help reduce some costs, such as commuting expenses, managers with remote staffers might also need to promote as much collaboration and face-to-face time as possible with colleagues to prevent working in isolation.
While there may be some drawbacks to remote work, research has also demonstrated flexbile work options can provide benefits, including improving relationships at home. There's also evidence that workers increasingly view such options as the norm in today's workplaces, and that a lack of flexiblity may have some undesirable impacts on workers on both engagement and retention.