In recent years, there has been a growing perception that Generation Z (Gen Z) presents unique challenges in the workplace.

To find out how this perception of Gen Z may be impacting hiring, in January, surveyed 782 U.S. workers involved in hiring for entry-level positions (referred to as hiring managers from here on out).

Key findings:

  • 31% of hiring managers say they avoid hiring Gen Zers and would prefer to hire older workers
  • Hiring managers say during the recruiting process Gen Zers ask for too much money (42%), lack communication skills (39%), and don’t seem engaged (33%)
  • During interviews, hiring managers have found Gen Z candidates don’t dress appropriately (58%) and struggle with eye contact (57%)
  • Hiring managers also say Gen Zers exhibit entitlement (60%) and are too difficult to manage (26%)
  • 30% of hiring managers say they’ve had to fire a Gen Zer within a month of their start date

3 in 10 Hiring Managers Admit They Avoid Considering Gen Zers for Jobs

Of the hiring managers surveyed, 31% say they avoid employing GenZers for positions  open to this group of candidates and prefer to find someone older.

Gen Zers with strong academic backgrounds or solid work experience are however more likely to be considered by hiring managers who otherwise avoid hiring candidates of this generation.

Hiring managers point to a number of issues with Gen Zers, and say during the hiring process this generation often:

  • Asks for too much money (42%)
  • Acts entitled (41%)
  • Lacks communication skills (39%)
  • Aren’t prepared (36%)
  • Don’t ask questions (36%)
  • Don’t seem engaged/interested (33%)
  • Ghost (31%)
  • Have a bad resume (27%)
  • Performs poorly (24%)
  • Lies (21%)

Of the 94% of hiring managers surveyed who say they have interviewed Gen Zers, many have experienced Gen Zers acting inappropriately.

While interviewing a Gen Z candidate, hiring managers say a candidate did the following:

  • Wasn’t dressed appropriately (58%)
  • Struggled with eye contact (57%)
  • Asked for unreasonable compensation (47%)
  • Used inappropriate language (19%)
  • Was in an inappropriate environment to do an interview (16%)
  • Refused to turn on their camera during virtual interview (13%)
  • Brought a parent to the interview (9%)

“Unlike previous generations, Gen Z faced unique challenges in acquiring foundational workplace skills because of COVID-19,” says ResumeBuilder’s Chief Career Advisor Stacie Haller.

“Many Gen Zers spent their college years predominantly in remote or hybrid settings, and upon entering the workforce, they often started in remote roles. This departure from the traditional in-person learning environment impacted their ability to hone crucial skills, such as effective communication, handling constructive criticism, and observing others to build their professional acumen. Consequently, some managers may lean towards hiring individuals who have already demonstrated their proficiency in seamlessly integrating into a workplace culture.”

6 in 10 Hiring Managers Say Gen Zers Are Entitled

Hiring managers have observed certain weaknesses among Gen Z employees in the workplace.

Those who have worked with this generation say Gen Zers often:

  • Are late to start work (34%)
  • Don’t dress professionally (33%)
  • Don’t use appropriate language for work (33%)
  • Can’t manage the workload (31%)
  • Are too difficult to manage (26%)
  • Are late to meetings (25%)
  • Deliver poor quality work (24%)
  • Hand assignments in late (24%)
  • Don’t get along well with co-workers (22%)

Hiring managers also feel Gen Z has other shortcomings, including:

  • Being entitled (60%)
  • Getting offended too easily (59%)
  • Not responding well to feedback (58%)
  • Lacking work ethic (57%)
  • Lacking motivation (57%)
  • Poor communication skills (57%)
  • Being unprepared for the workforce (56%)
  • Being costly to train (37%)
  • Lacking technological skills (26%)

“Recognizing the unique challenges that Gen Zers face in assimilating into a company’s culture is the initial step to effectively hiring this generation. To address this, many organizations are instituting mentoring programs specifically tailored for entry-level employees. Furthermore, there is a growing trend of implementing etiquette training across the board,” says Haller.

“For Gen Z job seekers, it’s crucial to understand that soft skills play a pivotal role in the success of entry-level candidates. Demonstrating your adaptability, technological proficiency, collaboration within teams, and resilience in overcoming challenges are key points that can impress potential employers. Providing specific examples with measurable results showcases not only your skills but also your ability to contribute meaningfully to the workplace.”

30% of Hiring Managers Have Fired a Gen Zer Within a Month

More than half of hiring managers (54%) report having to fire a Gen Zer. Of this group, 5% say they had to fire a Gen Zer within a day of them starting, 17% within a week, and 36% a month.


This survey was commissioned by and conducted in January 2024 via SurveyMonkey. Respondents consisted of a national sample of 715 employed U.S. residents involved in hiring for entry-level positions at their company.

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