Mental health issues act as barriers to Gen Z graduates’ dream jobs

Just under one fifth of Generation Z graduates say that mental health issues are posing as a barrier to achieving their dream job.

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Research from Milkround, the graduate jobs board found that 18 per cent state that mental health issues are stopping them from fulfilling their ambitions.

In addition to this, a higher amount of Gen Z graduates suffer from mental health issues compared to the rest of the country. In general 25 per cent of UK citizens suffer from such issues, where as 34 per cent of Gen Z graduates suffer from mental health problems.

As the research also discovered that 75 per cent of mental health issues are established by age 24, which highlights the importance of companies supporting the wellbeing of its new incoming workforce.

Just under half (44 per cent) feel that they cannot be open about mental health with their employer. This is in stark contrast to the 92 per cent of Gen Z graduates who expect their employer to respond if they raise a mental health issue.

In regards to how they wanted employers to respond, 44 per cent wanted flexible working options to be available and 43 per cent wanted flexibility around appointments.

A majority of this years graduates (56 per cent) desire the emotional intelligence or the ability to understand people’s feelings as the most sought after attribute in an employer.

Other traits graduates desire for their employer to have, was 37 per cent saying they want a motivational leader as well as 20 per cent who wants an employer who leads by example.

The research also showed that graduates are fearful of office life. With 50 per cent concerned about making friends at work  and 16 per cent fearful they will not fit in at work.

Georgina Brazier, graduate jobs expert at Milkround said:

Our research has shown that despite a desire to pursue their dream careers, with 83 per cent believing they will work in their dream industry, graduates are letting their fears of the workplace get the better of them. As mental health issues continue to rise, particularly in young people, employers need to not only have an awareness of this but have processes in place to effectively support their employees through challenging times of transition.  

What’s particularly interesting in our research is that whilst social anxiety is gripping grads as they enter the workforce, with younger generations used to interacting digitally, it’s actually the more ‘human’ leadership qualities that are desirable to them. It’s no surprise then that graduates want a workplace with role models and leaders that demonstrate high levels of emotional intelligence.

To ease the anxiety graduates may have before entering the workforce and as they adjust to their new role, we recommend they ask prospective employers what social activities and wellbeing initiatives are in place to ensure they find the right fit. Meanwhile employers can take away a need to brush up on their emotional intelligence to ensure they can be fostering better mental health at work.

Interested in mental health and stress management in the workplace? Here from leading speakers and experts at Workplace Wellbeing and Stress 2019 – our annual forum.

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