The Real Reason for the ‘Worker Shortage’: Entitled, Gen Z Employees

There’s always been the cycle: stable employers shed higher paid, experienced older employees and replaced them younger, cheaper employees. The problem is in that same cyclical amount of time the business’ productivity and quality goes down and the employer has to hire older experienced employees to stabilize the business again. It’s been this way for decades, thus the whole topic of “ageism” pulsates along with the hiring cycle.

It’s been seven months of people quitting their jobs at near-record highs, and businesses are continuing to complain that they just can’t find workers to fill open roles. Many have termed it a labor shortage, although five decades of declining wages argue that it’s more of a wage shortage. Even the narrative that jobs are plentiful and for the taking is not quite right: There are certainly still people not getting hired because of the mismatch between the primarily low-wage roles hiring and workers’ qualifications.
Business Insider, 12/8/21

Depending on where you get your “news”, you’ll hear a variety of explanations of why so many are electing not to return to the workplace. There’s also one very logical (and unmentioned) reason why so many are not going to go back: who would want to be immersed in an intolerant, politically-correct, woke space where it’s become praiseworthy, commonplace for some to try and cancel the hand that feeds you?

As far as Gen Z is concerned, it’s been their way or the highway on campus; so why should corporate life be any different? Unsurprisingly, Gen Z has rolled into the office place with demands. Bosses report employees asking for time off for period cramps or anxiety. They pressure their employers to take a stand on contentious social issues like BLM. And, if they don’t get their way, they’ll simply walk out. Workers in the previous generation — millennials — have served as a test case of how this mindset wreaks havoc on the workplace.
New York Post, 6/11/22

Most older experienced employees would just want to do their job and do it well, but they’d be surrounded by young know-it-alls who demand mental health days, demand others be considerate of their feelings when they insist on doing things wrong and the expected negative results subsequently happen.’s 2022 global report found “more than 9 out of 10 employers (nationally) say they are struggling to fill positions because of a skills gap, and 29% agree that the skills gap has increased compared to a year ago.” And it’s hurting the economy, nationally and locally.
Yahoo News, 6/3/22

Irrelevant issues like preferred pronouns and sexual preferences become dominate distractions that detracts from productivity and the lack of professionalism becomes something quite unattractive to anyone who just wants to do a job.

Call it a disruptor, but today’s younger woke employees have broken the normal employment cycle and you see it almost everywhere. Corporations that have long established a tradition of stability are tanking because the introduction of social issues, unrelated to their products, and have made them not worthy of their customers’ hard-earned dollars. We’re past the point of young people screwing up the business and older people can’t be paid enough to come in to clean things up.

Leaders should also consider the fact that this group has no desire to come back to work. Their main reasons for leaving are retirement and sickness, although the research shows that this started at least two years before the pandemic and wasn’t affected much by the pandemic itself.
Management Today, 6/1/22

Woke work environments have been around for more than the last two years.

One small upside of the coming “hurricane” is that a lot a companies will have the perfect excuse to purge the woke and once a good percentage are gone, mature employees may reenter the workplace to do the job they’re hired to do.

The transformation of America is underway.

UPDATE (validation)

It takes ten years or so for the aforementioned cycle to be verified. Gen Z has sped up the professional assessment of their true “value”.

In a Dec. 2023 study, the New Jersey-based research group Intelligent surveyed 800 U.S. managers, directors and executives who are involved in hiring. The respondents reported that Gen Z candidates struggle to pick up professional cues, causing 39% of employers to favor hiring older candidates.

About 60% of employers said they are willing to offer more benefits and pay higher salaries to attract older workers rather than recent grads. For that same reason, 48% of employers are offering remote or hybrid positions to older employees and 46% are willing to hire overqualified candidates, according to the new study.

One in five employers reported that recent college grads are generally unprepared when it comes to interviewing for a job. More than half of employers surveyed said Gen Z candidates struggle the most with eye contact during interviews.

Candidates in this age group also ask for unreasonable salaries and have dressed inappropriately for in-person interviews, according to about half of the study respondents.

Even virtual interviews have posed issues, with 21% of employers reporting that some candidates refuse to turn on their cameras for the interview. Nearly 20% of employers said they’ve even had a recent college grad bring a parent to an interview.

Two in three employers reported that Gen Z employees are unable to manage their workloads, while about 60% said they are frequently late to work and often miss assignment deadlines.

Sixty-three percent of employers consider Gen Z employees to be entitled, while 58% said they get offended too easily and are overall unprepared for the workforce. Employers also noted that their youngest employees lack professionalism, do not respond well to feedback and have poor communication skills.

Almost half (47%) of employers in the survey said they’ve fired a recent college graduate.
New York Post, 1/6/24

Hire wisely.

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