Is Gen Z more difficult to work with than other generations?

Managers say generation lacks technological skills, effort, motivation

Is Gen Z more difficult to work with than other generations?

Many managers believe that there is some truth to the perception that the youngest generation in the workplace isn't as hardworking, driven or resilient as the others, finds a recent report.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of managers and business leaders say they find Gen Z to be more difficult than other generations to work with, according to

Among these managers, 59% say they’ve fired a Gen Z worker. Nearly one in five (19%) say that letting these workers go is much more common while 46% say it’s somewhat more common.

And some have decided to part ways with their Gen Z employees rather quickly. Twenty percent say they’ve had to fire a Gen Z employee within a week of the employee’s start date, while 27% have done so within a month.

Millennials, Gen X

Among those who say Gen Z workers are difficult to work with, 34% say they prefer to work with Millennials who they find to be the most productive (44%) and have the best technological skills (42%).

Over a third (34%) of managers, meanwhile, would prefer to work with Gen X workers because they feel these workers 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.”

By 2025, it’s estimated that Gen Z will make up almost 30% of the global workforce, according to a previous report.

Why the dislike’s survey of 1,344 managers and business suggest that leaders and managers find Gen Z difficult to work with because they:

  • lack technological skills (39%)
  • lack motivation (37%)
  • lack effort (37%)
  • lack productivity (37%)
  • are easily distracted (36%)
  • have poor communication skills (36%)
  • are easily offended (35%)
  • lack drive (29%)
  • are dishonest (24%)
  • feel entitled (21%)

“In our organization, the Gen Zs I have interacted with can be exhausting because they lack discipline, and they like to challenge you,” says Akpan Ukeme, the head of HR at SGK Global Shipping Services, in the report.

“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.”

‘Highly innovative and adaptable’

These perceptions, however, could be because they need to improve their relationship-building skills, says Adam Garfield, marketing director at Hairbro, in the report.

“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.

“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.”

The rare sense of self that Gen Zers display leads to an environment where identities are fluid, teamwork is valued and altruism is necessary, said Aneesh Dhawan, CEO and co-founder of Knit, the Gen Z insights platform.

Here are some ways employers can attract Gen Z applicants.

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