Reverse ageism: why do companies avoid Gen Z workers?

Okay, so legally, age discrimination isn’t illegal unless you are discriminating against people who are over the practically dead age of 40. (At least from a federal perspective – some US states prohibit age discrimination from 18.)

However, discrimination is happening frequently to the youngest members of the workforce – Gen Z.

A survey conducted by in December 2023 found that many employers are steering clear of Gen Z employees.

If you ask me, I think the goal is to show how awful Gen Z is, and instead, it demonstrates three things to me:

  1. Every generation thinks the next generation is lazy and awful.
  2. If all laziness and awfulness of Gen Z is true, boy, Gen X, and Baby Boomers are bad parents.
  3. There is something wrong with our universities.

To keep reading, click here: Reverse ageism: why do companies avoid Gen Z workers?

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10 thoughts on “Reverse ageism: why do companies avoid Gen Z workers?

  1. Number 1 is borne out by all the TikTok videos that these young people choose to post about how they can’t believe they have to work 9 to 5. Or how they need to find a job that provides more “work life balance”, or how they expect to make 6 figures coming out of college. They have 0 concept of how the world actually works. Which is the fault of numbers 2 & 3.

    I have taught my adult children from the time they were small that you have to work in life to get what you want. While they were afforded many of life’s luxuries when they were younger, they were not given everything they wanted. Many Boomer and Gen Z parents DID give their children everything they wanted and now we have a whole generation who feel entitled to have the world revolve around them. And no one wants an employee like that.

    Number 3 has been evident for a while but if the events on universities, and the various administrations reactions to them, since October 7th has not proven that to you, then I don’t know what will.

    1. Does Gen Z have more unrealistic expectation when they enter the workforce? Of is it just that we know about their unrealistic expectation because they have Tik Tok, which is a far larger audience than the local bar?

      1. It is both. They have unrealistic expectations and they seem to WANT us to know about them because they blast them on TikTok. I heard a statistic yesterday that 20% of Gen Z take the parents with them on job interviews. The parents should be ashamed on two points – one that they have done such a poor job of preparing their child for the world, that they feel like they need their parents with them for a job interview, and two that they actually go when asked.

        1. Do you have an actual source for that statistic? Because of all the GenZ folks we’ve had interview for jobs, internships and volunteer gigs, not a single one has brought a parent – or anyone else for that matter. Nor has anyone asked to do so.

  2. It helps to remember that sometimes things go viral on social media not because anyone agrees with something, or because it’s in anyway representative of a given group, but because it’s inflammatory, or fits in with the preconceived notions of the people OUTSIDE that group.

    We heard and read the same tired blather when Millenials hit the workforce, and somehow civilization has not collapsed.

  3. As a semi-retired college professor and Human Resource professional, I tend to agree that Gen Z has issues but there is enough blame to go around.
    The universities share some of the blame but so do the high schools. Too often, the students are passed along because it’s too much trouble to actually make them work.
    The parents share some of the blame. Gen Z was raised by Gen X, the smallest generation and the most over-protective. Ever heard of side air bags for strollers?
    Technology shares some of the blame, as well. Too much screen time and too much time in “never-never-land” using technology leads to unrealistic expectations and views of reality.

  4. Gen Z workers create their problems with their non-acceptance of basic work ethics, especially when dealing with others who are their coworkers, They are so used to using technology, that they forget/or don’t know how to interact in personal interactions like receiving instructions or asking questions. They have very short attention spans and expect constant acknowledgment. They also expect that because they have degrees they should be paid higher wages or given titles if they perform more than one job skill at the same time. After all, in California, non-skill jobs start with a minimum wage of $20/hour, therefore their college degrees entitle them to a 6 figure income at a starting salary in a white-collar job regardless of their hands-on knowledge of how to perform the job because their degree supplied all the knowledge of how to do the job in real-life.
    Aside from these negative habits, Gen Z workers can be a good addition to any workplace if their supervisors are effective managers as EvilHR has on many occasions mentioned they be. All new employees should be told the job expectations, give feedback on the performance, set goals, etc.

  5. Universities are bloated and expensive (compared to “back in my day” — I’m 65 years old) and poorly integrated into the workplace. (Fortunately for me, I chose to attend an engineering college with a mandatory co-op program).

    The workplace is awful. “Hour long” meetings that last 75+ poorly-planned minutes and stomp on the next meeting with no bio-breaks. Meetings that should have been emails. Salaried jobs demanding 50+ hours per week. Preening bosses lacking any meaningful feedback (contrast Rate My Teachers, 50-minute classes with syllabus, etc).

    Now CEOs (Clueless Exalted Oafs) are demanding Return To Office. Fortunately I have my own RTO = Retirement Timing Option.

  6. As a Gen-Zer, this topic is becoming more popular as the older generations are establishing certain stereotypes against this younger generation. Whether we like it or not, the future of the workforce will be dominated by Gen Z. It is dangerous for these companies with older generation leadership, to avoid Gen Z workers. Adapting to change is a staple for companies to establish to remain competitive as new technology and with AI being increasingly popular. The Gen Z generation possessed some of these new skills and characteristics that will be useful in the workforce. This generation needs to develop some experience and leadership skills as in 10-15 years, corporations and businesses will be dominated by Gen Z workers and leaders. If we fail to hire Gen Z workers based on certain stereotypes, then the future of the world is in bad hands. Rather, it is imperative for HR managers and executives to establish a setting in which the various generations work together and exchange information and skills. Ignoring Gen-Zers won’t make the problem go away if we’re concerned about them entering the workforce. The only way to deal with them is to expose and skill them.

  7. After reading this article and the various blog posts my very first thought was to look at the survey itself on the original post to see how they collected the data. The biggest reason for this is that I have gone to various job interviews and walkthroughs and not once have I ever seen somebody my age underdressed or with a parent in tow. There are millions of businesses in the US alone so the fact that the survey was limited to only 800 seems like too small of a sample size to me. That being said there are quite a few interesting trends that were identified. One of those is the second point brought up by The Evil HR Lady about how the parents of Gen Z failed brings me back to an interesting quote. It goes something like hard times make strong men, strong men make good times, and good times make weak men. I wonder if this might be what we are seeing happening today with Gen Z. Maybe it isn’t the parents fault though, maybe technology is to blame for the negative tendencies that Gen Z exhibits. One of the points brought up in the blogs was that TikTok is to blame for the negative view of my generation but they quickly go on to say that maybe that is only a thing because we choose that over the local bar. I personally do not have tik tok, twitter, and I rarely download instagram onto my phone so I can’t say that I speak from the typical Gen Z perspective but technology definitely makes it easier to judge people, and Gen Z is a big percentage of technology usage. At the end of the day I think that my generation is currently on the receiving end of the “this new generation sucks” trend and that as time goes on the focus will shift to the next generation.

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