There is a perception among some that GenZers aren’t as hardworking, driven, or resilient as other generations.
In April, ResumeBuilder.com surveyed 1,344 managers and business leaders and found 74% believe GenZ is more difficult to work with than other generations.
We asked the managers and business leaders who feel this way (1,000 respondents) about their experience working with GenZ, and we found:
- 49% say it’s difficult to work with GenZ all or most of the time
- The plurality of these business leaders and managers prefer to work with Millennials
- Top reasons they feel GenZ is difficult to work with is they lack of technological skills, effort, and motivation
- 65% say they more commonly need to fire GenZers than employees of other generations
- 12% have fired a GenZer less than one week after their start date
- Being too easily offended is a top reason GenZers get fired
74% of managers say GenZ is the most challenging generation to work with
Overall, nearly three-quarters (74%) of managers and business leaders surveyed say they find GenZ to be more difficult than other generations to work with.
About half (49%) of this group find it difficult to work with GenZ all (11%) or most of the time (39%). Additionally 16% say they find it difficult a lot of the time, while 20% say some of the time and 10% say not much of the time. Only 4% said they almost never find it to be difficult.
The reason managers find GenZers to be challenging employees is they feel they lack technological skills (39%), effort (37%), motivation (37%), among other skills and traits.
“Compared to other generations, I find GenZ to be highly innovative, and adaptable. They are not afraid to challenge the status quo and bring new ideas to the table. They also value authenticity and transparency and expect companies to be socially responsible and ethical,” says Adam Garfield, marketing director at Hairbro.
“However, one area where I believe GenZ could improve in the workplace is their communication skills. While they are proficient in using digital communication tools, they may lack some of the interpersonal skills required for face-to-face interactions. GenZers could benefit from developing their communication skills to build stronger relationships with colleagues and clients,” adds Garfield.
Akpan Ukeme, the head of HR at SGK Global Shipping Services, finds it challenging to work with GenZers.
“In our organization, the Gen Zs I have interacted with can be exhausting because they lack discipline, and they like to challenge you,” says Ukeme.
“I’ve butted heads more than once with a Gen Z employee, because since our company is online-based, they think they know everything about the digital world and that they can teach me. They think they’re better than you, smarter than you, more capable than you, and they will tell you to your face,” he continues.
1 in 3 managers who find GenZ difficult prefer to hire Millennials
Of respondents who say GenZ is the most difficult generation to work with, 34% say they prefer to work with Millennials, 30% with GenX, and 4% with Baby Boomers.
For those who prefer Millennials, the top reasons are they believe this group is the most productive (44%) and have the best technological skills (42%).
Other managers prefer GenX because they feel they are the most honest (46%) and productive (42%).
“As a result of COVID-19 and remote education, it’s possible that GenZers lack the foundation to be more successful than older generations in entry-level positions,” says Chief Career Advisor Stacie Haller.
“We know that with remote work and education, communication skills do not develop as well and people tend to work more independently. Hiring managers need to be cognizant of this when interviewing GenZers for positions. This generation may need more training when it comes to professional skills.”
1 in 8 have fired a GenZer within a week of their start date
Of the managers who indicated they find GenZ difficult to work with, 59% say they’ve fired a GenZer.
Many say it’s more common that they need to let GenZ workers go. In fact, 19% of managers and business leaders say it’s much more common and 46% say it’s somewhat more common.
Some have decided to part ways with their GenZ employees rather quickly. Twenty percent say they’ve had to fire a GenZ employee within a week of the employee’s start date, while 27% say within a month.
The top reasons according to respondents that GenZers get fired is they lack motivation and effort and are too easily offended.
Jennifer Stapleton, a leading manager at Social Rise, offers some advice for how GenZ can improve the way they show up the workplace:
- Develop stronger interpersonal communication skills: While digital communication is essential, it’s also vital to be able to communicate effectively in person or over the phone. Building strong relationships with coworkers and supervisors will go a long way in ensuring success in the workplace.
- Be open to feedback and learning from others: GenZ is known for being independent and self-assured, but it’s essential to recognize that there is always more to learn. Being receptive to constructive criticism and seeking guidance from experienced colleagues can help them grow both professionally and personally.
- Demonstrate adaptability: The business world is constantly changing, and it’s important for GenZ employees to show that they can adapt to new situations and challenges. By being flexible and open to change, they can prove themselves as valuable assets to any company.
“GenZ needs to work to understand what professional skills are needed to succeed in today’s workforce. However, the responsibility goes beyond GenZ. Educational institutions need to properly prepare students and managers and business leaders need to to learn to work with GenZ. Bias against younger workers is unacceptable and no different than the ageism that we typically see against Baby Boomers,” says Haller.
This survey was commissioned by ResumeBuilder.com and conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish on April 14, 2023. In total, 1,000 participants in the U.S. completed the full survey.
Respondents then went through a primary screening to include only respondents who are managers or involved in hiring employees and a secondary screening to include only respondents who find GenZ to be the most difficult generation to work with. Overall,134 were disqualified by the primary screening question and 347 by the secondary screener questions.
All participants had to pass through demographic filters to ensure they are currently employed, work at a company with more than 10 employees, have a household income of at least $50,000/year, and are at least 25 years of age.
Additionally, respondents had to identify their company role as manager-level or above.
The survey used a convenience sampling method, and to avoid bias from this component Pollfish employs Random Device Engagement (RDE) to ensure both random and organic surveying. Learn more about Pollfish’s survey methodology or contact [email protected].