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Girlboss be gone: Latest research reveals Gen Z are rejecting hustle culture in favour of balance

by Coris Leachman

June 21, 2022

Impero’s latest research explores traditional work pressures and its impact on Gen Z.

London, 20th June 2022: Award winning creative agency, Impero, today announces the launch of the latest edition of The Move, The Many Faces of Hustle, revealing 45% of Gen Z say career and money does not define success, showing a rejection of traditional work pressures to ‘make it’ in favour of a more balanced lifestyle.

After the successful release of the previous edition of The Move, Gen We and The Digital World, Impero’s latest study examines changing attitudes towards ‘hustle culture’ and how Gen Z is reworking the definition of success to encapsulate their passions. The report also explores the death of the ‘Girlboss’, the role of side hustles, and how Gen Z are reacting to the pressures of social media where 42% of the group said that social media is the key driver of anxiety around productivity.

The study surveyed 260 members of Impero’s real-time research platform, ‘The Move’ – a global community of Gen Z early adopters across the UK.

The research has found that although there is no single reason why young Brits are taking on a side hustle, they are dedicating more time to them, with 17% saying that their ‘side hustle’ is a pure passion activity and 57% of Gen Z spending more than 16 hours a week on them. Moreover, 38% said that they use extra income to counteract the economic hardships faced as a result of the pandemic, and the rising cost of living.

What does this mean for brands?

With an increased focus on entrepreneurship and side hustles, there's opportunity for brands to support self-starters and equip them with the tools they need to turn their passions into financial reward without sacrificing their work-life balance. A challenge that is supported by the fact that 38% of British workers planned to change jobs between September 2021 and March 2022 to allow for a reprioritisation of their life.

The report demonstrates that for brands, hustle culture has long been an easy way to engage younger aspirational audiences. However, Gen Z’s growing consciousness around toxic work cultures, means that brands need to update their understanding and market towards younger consumer’s new aspirations and definitional of work and success.

Zuhur Mohamed, Research + Next Gen Culture Insights at Impero said: “The insights gained from the report are nothing short of fascinating. We are living at such an unprecedented time, coming out of a pandemic and with a cultural shift that has put the power back in the hands of Gen Z. Brands must acknowledge the shifting attitudes of the younger generation to work, and adapt the way they market it.

“The popular Tiktok sound, ‘I don’t dream of labor’ pretty much sums up how Gen Z feel- they are rejecting hard work to indulge in leisure. From our conversations with our panellists it is clear that young people are critical and cynical about the role work plays in their lives. Hustle the way we understand it is not attractive, aspirational or interesting enough to capture their attention. If anything it is a turn-off.

“From the rise of Capitalism memes and Goblin mode, to Girlboss satire and the anti-work movement, these are all examples of a loud online conversation interrogating productivity and traditional markers of success. Young people want permission to play, slow down and indulge, think about how your brand can services these new aspirations.”

The Move report is available to view here:



gen z insight
gen z
The Move