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Gen Z, comprising those born between 1997 and 2012, has already begun disrupting industry trends with new attitudes towards work-life balance and reassessed priorities in consumerism – but the generation is also driving change with behaviours borne of a series of international crises.

Lockdowns provided a climate of reflection resulting in the Great Resignation in the West and tang ping in China, while the rising cost of living has catalyzed a reconsideration of spending priorities worldwide, with ESG coming out on top.

Tang ping (or ‘lying flat’) movement refers to the rejection of the expectation to overwork and overachieve. It has been popular within Gen Z as the traditional pattern of working, buying property and starting a family has become progressively harder to achieve.

Speaking on GlobalData’s Instant Insights podcast, company Analyst Martina Raveni noted that uncertain geopolitics and the climate crisis as factors causing stress among Gen Z: “It is natural that the level of stress and anxiety of everyone – but especially of the young cohort – increased a lot in the recent decade.”

The Gen Z: The most disruptive generation ever episode explores the industry disruption already being driven by Gen Z workers and consumers and considers the emerging trends that will shape the future.

Outlined are the projections that Gen Z will constitute 27% of the global workforce by 2025 and that its anxieties will be reflected in its spending trends. The next decade will see up to $8.6trn in wealth and assets transferred from the Baby Boomer generation to the younger cohort.

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ESG promises to be impacted by this change, as younger consumers prioritize ethical goods and services – a reflection of the rife climate anxiety. This has been evident in the popularity of second-hand fashion and carbon-neutral products and services amongst Gen Z so far.

However, the group faces worse economic prospects than its predecessors, a state already reflected in resistance to usual work routines. This pushback among Gen Z is driving new trends, says GlobalData Senior Analyst Amna Mujahid: “The Great Resignation, a term coined in May 2021, saw millions re-evaluate their relationship to work and either leave their current jobs or retire altogether.

“The pandemic-driven phenomenon affected individuals of all ages, but for Gen Z, there was a specific motivation to leave jobs that did not have a sufficient work-life balance or environments in which they could be authentically themselves.”