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Study shows managers are being forced to fire snowflake Gen Z workers

By Sarah May on
 April 23, 2023

Stereotypes about the absence of work ethic among the youngest members of the workforce have persisted for some time, but according to the Daily Mail, those perceptions are, in many instances, grounded in fact, as evidenced by the number of Gen Z workers who have been fired from their positions.

The findings were revealed in a recent study from ResumeBuilder, which asked roughly 1,000 managers in a range of sectors about their experiences with employees of various ages.

The trouble with Gen Z

The demographic group known as “Gen Z,” described by Deloitte as including individuals born between the years of 1997 and 2012 and thus currently between the ages of 10 and 25, brings a host of challenges to the workplace, according to the managers surveyed by ResumeBuilder.

In the estimation of 74% of study participants, Gen Z is harder to work with than any other age cohort.

That assessment is bolstered by the fact that 59% of those who felt that way about the youngest members of the workforce stated that they have had to fire a Gen Z worker.

A staggering 12% of that subset indicated that they have dismissed such an employee within their first week on the job.

Reasons for struggles abound

The ResumeBuilder study unearthed a number of reasons for the difficulties employers are having with Gen Z workers, with 39% of respondents lamenting a lack of technological skills within that age group.

In addition, 37% of participants cited a paucity of effort and motivation underlying their disdain for younger employees.

Further, the propensity of Gen Z employees to be too “easily distracted” and “easily offended” was raised by respondents at a rate of 36% and 35%, respectively, according to the survey.

ResumeBuilder quoted HR professional Akpan Ukeme of SGK Global Shipping Services, who explained, “In our organization, the Gen Zs I have interacted with can be exhausting because they lack discipline, and they like to challenge you.”

Not all negative

Though the survey yielded some jarring observations about Gen Z workers, the news was not all bad when it comes to the least experienced demographic group.

Adam Garfield, marketing director at Hairbro, stated, “Compared to other generations, I find Gen Z to be highly innovative and adaptable. They are not afraid to challenge the status quo and bring new ideas to the table.”

That praise was soon qualified by Garfield, who also said, “However, one area where I believe Gen Z 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. Gen Zers could benefit from developing their communication skills to build stronger relationships with colleagues and clients,” Garfield added.

Varied causes, potential solutions

Numerous reasons have been cited for Gen Z's workplace attitudes, including the ubiquitousness of technology for the entirety of their young lives.

According to Stacie Haller, chief career advisor at ResumeBuilder, the pandemic may have also played a significant role. “As a result of COVID-19 and remote education, it's possible that Gen Zers lack the foundation to be more successful than older generations in entry-level positions.”

“We know that with remote work and education, communication skills do not develop as well, and people tend to work more independently,” Haller added.

All is not lost, however, according to Jennifer Stapleton of SocialRise, who said that if Gen Z workers commit to developing stronger interpersonal skills, remain open to feedback, and show employers that they are adaptable and open to change, they can succeed in the workplace just as their parents and grandparents have.