Gen Z Turns To Entrepreneurship And Side Hustles Amid Layoffs And AI Effects

The current job market is witnessing a major change, with nearly 69% of UK’s Gen Z considering or already engaging in freelancing, self-employment, or side hustles, surpassing traditional employment. This change, as shown by Fiverr’s study, involves 3,016 UK-based 16-26 year olds.

With that, 59% plan to transition into these roles within the next year. Gali Arnon, Chief Business Officer at Fiverr, states, “Gen-Zers… are relying on themselves for the stability… choosing freelancing and self-employment offers a stable path to be their own boss.”

This sentiment stems from a desire for more control amidst job market unpredictability and concerns over AI replacing jobs, with 29% citing “less chance of being laid off or replaced by AI.”


How Are Their Work Preferences Changing?


The survey shows a decline in the importance of remote work for Gen Z, with only 22% considering it a big factor, down from 24% the previous year. However, flexible working hours remain a necessity, influencing the job decisions of 39%.

The findings reflect a shift towards valuing autonomy and flexibility over traditional work structures. Also, the role of formal education is being reassessed; only 35% now believe a university degree is essential for a successful career, indicating a growing appreciation for alternative qualifications and pathways.



What Are Their Main Career Goals?


For Gen Z, financial security, independence, and flexibility are paramount. The survey reveals that 45% aim to achieve financial comfort, and 24% aspire to own their own business. On top of this, 29% express the desire to travel for work, which shows the value placed on freedom and work-life balance. The evolving career ambitions of Gen Z suggest a movement away from conventional job trajectories towards more personalised and fulfilling career journeys.


Why Are Public Sector Jobs Appealing?


In terms of the instability in the private sector, particularly within the tech industry, Gen Z and millennials are increasingly drawn to public sector jobs. These roles offer job security, comprehensive benefits, and, importantly, student loan forgiveness after ten years, as reported by Insider Today.

The appeal of these positions has grown, with applications doubling over the past year according to Handshake. The trend is a response to the desire for stability and a more balanced work-life, especially as private sector jobs appear increasingly precarious.


How Is Gen Z Changing Workplace Dynamics?


The approach of Generation Z to layoffs and workplace challenges is notably proactive and vocal. Brittany Pietsch, after being laid off, shared her experience on TikTok, becoming an emblem of Gen Z’s readiness to question and challenge workplace norms.

This generation demands respect, transparency, and authenticity in the workplace, greatly influencing corporate culture and expectations. As Danielle Farage, a Gen Z talent specialist, puts it, “life is more about life than it is about work,” highlighting the shift towards more meaningful and respectful work environments.