Gen X and Gen Z Have Alarming Unemployment Numbers: 4 Tips for Finding Work in 2023

Unemployed young woman searching for a job online.
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As Americans flock to the stores for holiday deals and book their travel plans for 2023, those experiencing unemployment are likely feeling the weight of spending season.

According to a recent survey conducted by GOBankingRates, Generation X and Generation Z are experiencing higher-than-average unemployment during the holidays. The survey found that 15% of Americans aged 45-54 and 15% of 18- to 24-year-olds are unemployed but trying to find work.

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Here’s a breakdown on the unemployment numbers and experts’ top four tips for finding work in the new year.

A Disproportionate Number of Gen Z and Gen X Are Unemployed and In Need of Work

According to GOBankingRates’ survey, 12% of Americans are currently experiencing unemployment and on the hunt for a new job.

However, unemployment is disproportionately affecting both young and middle-aged adults — the newbies of the working world and the veterans. Fifteen percent of the respondents in this category are members of Gen Z and 15% are members of Gen X. Additionally, another 14% fall on the Gen X-baby boomer cusp, aged 55-64.

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In other words, while 12% of overall Americans are unemployed and looking for work, 44% of this group falls between the ages of 18-24 or 45-64. 

Millennials, many of whom may be classified as mid-career, are experiencing much smaller levels of unemployment. Only 10% fit into the above category, and only 6% are unemployed by choice (compared to the 10% of Gen Zers, 13% of Gen Xers and 21% of Gen X-baby boomers who are jobless by choice).

Gen Z and Gen X are likely grappling with joblessness for multiple reasons, including lack of skills and experience (Gen Z) and ageism (Gen X), but the outlook isn’t totally bleak. Here are some tips from experts on how to secure employment heading into 2023.

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Tips for Finding Work in 2023

When it comes to landing a job during a competitive employment season, it’s important to take a step back and hear from financial and career experts on the best moves to make in order for the process to go as smoothly as possible. 

Ensure You Have a Transferable Skill Set

In order to set yourself apart from the crowd and make certain your resume meets the largest audience possible, it’s important to possess a transferable skill set. 

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“When you have a transferable skill set, you are able to reach an audience more broadly,” said Deepali Vyas, the CEO at Fearless+, a company redesigning the future of career development. “These transferable skills include communication, collaboration, management and other strong soft skills that help with executing a specific strategy or product roadmap.”

If you already have these skills, be sure to add them to your resume, and if not, consider visiting your state’s workforce development office and discovering what free unemployment training they offer that will help you hone those soft skills. 

Try Out an Internship or Temp Job

If your current job profile isn’t helping you land the career you want, you might want to consider switching up your search to boost your resume and increase your expertise. 

“Internships and temp or project-based opportunities can be great resume-builders, especially for Gen Zers,” Vyas said. “Not only do they give a big lift on the resume, but these are also opportunities to showcase a wider variety of experiences and openness to experiment.”

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After gaining some more experience in your field of interest, you will have more opportunities to find a full-time job based on the things that you’ve learned and understood about the industry.

Network

Today, networking and soft skills are essential to making connections and finding a job in your field of work. Before assuming you are unqualified for the jobs you are applying for but not obtaining, you might want to try networking to increase your reach.

“Networking is about knowing someone who can get your application read by a human instead of software,” said Jay Zigmont, PhD, CFP® and founder of Childfree Wealth. “If there is a certain field or company you are looking to join, you will need to spend time getting to know people who can get you in. Internships and temp positions may not make much money but may help you to get to know decision-makers.”

Make Sure You’re Applying on the Right Job Sites

There are a plethora of job application sites available and it’s important to make the most of the websites depending on the career you are looking for. 

“Typically I would say that Indeed and LinkedIn and other job sites are very good at aggregating jobs by function and region,” Vyas said. “However, my recommendation is to think about the industry you want to focus on and make sure that there are companies [where] you can specifically reach out to individuals on LinkedIn and make a more personalized connection, versus sending your resume into a deep dark hole of their resume submission system.”

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates surveyed 1,028 Americans aged 18 and older from across the country between Nov. 14-Nov. 18, 2022, asking 20 different questions: (1) What best describes the impact of Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan on you?; (2) How do you think student loan forgiveness will affect the economy in 2023?; (3) Describe your working situation in 2022; (4) Which best describes your working situation?; (5) What do you prefer your working situation to be in 2023?; (6) Did you look for better value in your job in 2022?; (7) Are you planning for any major job changes in 2023?; (8) Which of the following economic factors impacted your finances the most in 2022?; (9) What would you like to have happen the most in 2023?; (10) Are you in favor of more stimulus or inflation relief checks in 2023?; (11) If you had a major financial emergency in 2022, how did you pay for it?; (12) How did your stocks fare in the bear market of 2022?; (13) Did you put off a big purchase in 2022 due to the strained economy?; (14) What best describes the impact the Fed raising interest rates has had on you?; (15) Which best describes your top financial goal for 2023?; (16) Are you planning for any of these major milestones in 2023? (select all that apply); (17) What is your top financial stressor heading into the new year?; (18) If you are a small business owner, what has been your biggest financial challenge in 2022?; (19) How do you feel about the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 8.7% for 2023?; and (20) How did social media most impact your finances in 2022?. GOBankingRates used PureSpectrum’s survey platform to conduct the poll.

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About the Author

Maddie Duley is a content intern for ConsumerTrack writing about finances for GOBankingRates. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in communication and design from the University of California Davis.
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