20 Reasons Gen Z Struggles to Find Employment and What Discourages Employers From Hiring Them

Gen Z, or zoomers, are part of a younger generation who grew up with more advanced technology, making them digital natives. But no matter how great they are when it comes to anything involving the digital world, they still face some challenges unique to them as a generation, mainly because of the older generation’s perceived negative understanding of them. However, though employers are often cautious and hesitant of them because of generational stereotypes, it’s important to recognize that sometimes, they’re just that—stereotypes!

Perceived Sense of Entitlement

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Gen Z may come across as entitled because of what they do or say in relation to work. These zoomers witnessed how hard their parents worked to provide for them; therefore, they want to avoid living the same lifestyle. Unfortunately, this can come across as entitlement—even if they only want to put their peace of mind above everything else.

Demand for Flexible or Remote Work

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Zoomers were largely affected by the pandemic when everything shut down. They became so accustomed to online or remote work that they constantly tried to compromise with their employers for more flexible work hours or working conditions. Today, nearly 75% of Gen Z employees believe that workplace flexibility is the top, most important employee benefit they’re looking for.

Issues With Social Media Use

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Social media isn’t a bad thing on its own; in fact, people believe that connecting with colleagues on social media can help foster better teamwork. However, if social media becomes too much, it can cause a massive bump in the road toward productivity and success. Because Gen Z’s social media usage is double the rate of every other adult in the US, employers are worried about balancing this while still being productive at work. Aside from this, zoomers are constantly exposed to anti-work trends, such as “quiet quitting,” “bare minimum Monday,” and more.

Unrealistically High Salary Expectations

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Zoomers live in a very expensive world, so it’s not surprising that they want to earn more from their jobs. The problem is that they want to earn around double the average market rate. For example, the average salary for a fresh college graduate today is around $55,000, but zoomers want to earn at least $100,000 in their first job after school! Sadly, no matter how bright and brilliant one is, companies usually can’t keep up with unrealistically high salary expectations.

Excessive Job Hopping

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Companies want to hire employees they can train and keep with them for the long term. However, Gen Z simply isn’t the generation for this. In fact, around 83% of Gen Z employees consider themselves job hoppers. Aside from wanting to find better work opportunities, zoomers decide to quit because of too much overtime, being unhappy in their workplace, the perception of a low salary, or having a bad boss.

Lack of Seriousness and Dedication

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Before, millennials were believed not to have the dedication needed to thrive in the workplace. However, this negative perception has shifted to Gen Z as more of them enter the workplace. Most employers even believe they see glimpses of zoomers’ lack of seriousness and dedication starting from the hiring phase, as many dress inappropriately, use inappropriate language, refuse to turn on the camera during a virtual interview, and more.

Struggles With Mental Health

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Mental health issues are things that have plagued not just Gen Z but also all other generations. Even so, zoomers are the most open to discussing these issues, and some studies also think they are more prone to developing them. The Walton Family Foundation shares, “Gen Z—42%—is about twice as likely as Americans over 25—23%—to battle depression and feelings of hopelessness.” Sadly, companies generally want to steer clear of these things to avoid any potential issues.

Lack of Professionalism

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Unfortunately, some zoomers who manage to get hired don’t show their employers their best selves, leading some managers to think they lack professionalism. Because of this, a fair share of employers believe Gen Z just can’t handle the workload. Aside from this, many zoomers are notoriously late for work and meetings, miss deadlines, don’t dress professionally, and deliver work of poor quality.

The Need for Immediate Feedback

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One way generational gaps are highlighted in the workplace is through how people give and receive feedback. Gen Z employees need frequent feedback and prefer to get it at least once a week, ideally. This simply goes against what older generations or older managers know, as they’re used to only giving their team annual reviews. This model or system doesn’t work for the younger generations, which is one of the main clashes they go through at work.

High Training Costs

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Like millennials, Gen Z employees also highly value opportunities for professional growth. They need training to help them grow in their respective fields and would also like opportunities to further their education—all at the company’s expense. This could be costly, and some businesses aren’t willing to splurge on these things.

Apparent Differences in Communication Styles

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When the majority of your team has older employees, there’s a high chance that those from the younger generations, especially Gen Z, would find it hard to connect. Aside from having different personalities and hobbies, their modes of communication vastly differ. For example, OfficeRnD shares, “Older generations might lean toward formal communication channels and in-person meetings, while younger cohorts often prefer digital platforms, valuing speed and efficiency.”

Perceived Lack of Work Ethic

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Because the working class includes many employees from the older generations, it’s easy to think that Gen Z employees lack the proper work ethic. However, while it’s possible that zoomers simply have a different approach to work, some studies prove otherwise. Substack explains, “Young people in 2021 and especially 2022 were less willing to work overtime, less likely to want to work if they had enough money, less likely to say work would be a central part of their lives, and less likely to expect that their future chosen work would be satisfying. Gen Z, by their own admission, has a work ethic problem.”

Messed-up Workplace Dynamics

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Aside from differences in communication platforms, Gen Z and older employees, especially those older than millennials, would have a lot of problems navigating how to interact with each other in the workplace. They grew up in very different times and, therefore, would likely have more differences than similarities. Though not always harmful to the overall workplace dynamics, it could still create a divide or an unwillingness to work with certain groups of people.

Poor Communication Skills

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Zoomers who started working during the pandemic have become so used to communicating with people through a screen that they’re good at making phone calls, sending emails, using digital messaging, and more. However, when it comes to face-to-face conversations, Gen Z employees sometimes lack the proper skills—most probably due to a lack of practice.

Skill Gaps

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Yes, zoomers are digital natives and, therefore, digitally savvy. However, to truly thrive and become a valuable member of the workplace, you have to do more than that; sadly, companies feel that Gen Z employees lack the necessary soft skills to succeed. An article published on LinkedIn explains, “The majority of managers say their new Gen Z hires are lacking so-called soft skills, according to a recent Harris Poll survey. About 82% of managers said their Gen Z workforce requires more training around interpersonal skills, including speaking to senior leaders and receiving negative feedback.”

Working for a Cause or Mission

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Gen Z employees want to work for a meaningful cause. They don’t want to be mere chess pieces and instead want to engage in roles and duties that could spark positive change for others. Though this is inherently good, it could sometimes be challenging for companies to meet. This could lead to more conflicts or difficult discussions, so businesses usually veer away from zoomers for this reason.

The Pressure to Be More “Green”

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Zoomers take environmental responsibility seriously. Because of this, they are hesitant to work for companies that are not “green enough” for their standards. At the same time, companies don’t want to pursue candidates who are overly obsessed with environmental responsibility, as it might go against their company as a whole.

In Search for International Opportunities

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Gen Z employees are more exposed to the world beyond the United States. They know that other opportunities await them elsewhere—even if it means going abroad. While this may not be a problem for multinational companies, it’s a significant roadblock when hiring for smaller or more local businesses.

The Dire Presence of Political Activism in the Workplace

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Political activism and wanting positive change are good. However, this isn’t necessarily so in the workplace. Zoomers are notorious for political activism, so most employers want to avoid hiring them to keep the peace at work.

Clashes With the Corporate Culture

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Many factors contribute to Gen Z employees clashing with corporate culture. Zoomers, after all, want more flexibility, authenticity, and social impact in the roles they pursue. When a company cannot provide these things to a potential candidate outright, they sometimes just opt out of hiring them to ensure they don’t get tied down to unrealistic promises or avoid general conflicts.

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.