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This week in HR news: Young struggles and family business troubles

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

In this week’s round-up of HR news, young workers are experiencing some hardships in the modern workforce. Some are suffering from social anxiety, while others are halting pension payments to keep up with the rising cost of living. Meanwhile, family businesses are feeling the pressure of the current economic climate.

Anxiety affecting young workers

Anxiety is running rampant among Gen Z workers, according to a People Matters report.


A study has found that a staggering 90 per cent of these younger workers are dealing with workplace social anxiety. Meanwhile, 35 per cent said they experience these issues daily.

Some of the reasons for feeling anxious were customer interaction, with 23 per cent agreeing, giving presentations at 44 per cent, and expressing opinions in meetings at 38 per cent.

James Micklethwait, vice-president of Kahoot!, which published the study, commented: “Employers need to place soft skills advancement at the top of their priorities list while also experimenting with innovative, quick and real approaches to communication and training which are mindful of their social discomfort.”

People Matters provided some suggestions to help reduce workplace social anxiety:

  • Soft skills training
  • Mind the academic shortcomings
  • Provide corporate training

Employees halting pension contributions

As seen in Human Times’ 19 September bulletin, IFA Magazine reported on the hardships of the rising cost of living, with many workers forced to halt pension contributions to stay afloat.

According to the article, in the last two years in the UK, 33 per cent of workers have stopped their pension contributions. The figures are even more alarming among younger people, with 49 per cent aged between 18 and 34 doing the same.

The two main reasons for these decisions were the cost of living, at 55 per cent, and rising mortgage costs, at 15 per cent.

While this may seem like a smart move to save money, IFA Magazine warns against this approach as it’s a short-term boost with long-term repercussions. Employees run the risk of missing out on four times as much if they stop their contributions.

Family business struggles

Family businesses are reportedly struggling in the current economy, as discussed by Accountants Daily. Nine out of 10 family businesses were revealed to be struggling with cash flow.

Grant Thornton’s national head of family business consulting, Kirsten Taylor-Martin, commented: “The top two challenges are interesting as they can be linked to the current economic climate where the majority of Australian family businesses are looking to improve cash flow while also attracting and retaining the best staff.”

Despite this, there is still a degree of optimism, with two-thirds believing it could turn around.

Supporting family businesses is essential, as around 70 per cent of the entire workforce are employed by them. Succession planning should be a key consideration for future growth, said Accountants Daily, with 43 per cent currently formulating a succession plan, 38 per cent already implementing a plan and just 15 per cent without a plan.

“There is a mindset change between generations and whether they see themselves as owners or stewards of the family business,” said Grant Thornton.

“From the second to third generation, there is an opportunity for the family to discuss their involvement in the community and the impact they wish to make. As the family moves from third to fourth generation, the focus shifts to the family legacy.”

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.