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Navigating the Challenges of Hiring and Managing Gen Z in the Workplace

    As the workforce dynamics evolve, the emergence of Generation Z (Gen Z) has sparked discussions and challenges for hiring managers. Glassdoor predicts that Gen Z will surpass Baby Boomers in workforce numbers this year, making it imperative for companies to adapt their hiring strategies. However, a recent survey commissioned by sheds light on the reluctance of some hiring managers to embrace this generation.

    The Hiring Landscape: 30% of Managers Avoid Gen Z

    According to the survey, 30% of hiring managers admit to avoiding the hiring of Gen Z candidates for various reasons. This raises concerns about the potential impact on workforce diversity and the need for organizations to address the challenges associated with assimilating Gen Z into their company culture.

    Key Findings and Challenges in Hiring Gen Z

    The evolving landscape of the workforce brings forth both opportunities and challenges, especially as Generation Z (Gen Z) steps into the professional realm. The key findings and challenges identified by the survey conducted in January 2024 shed light on the intricacies of hiring Gen Z candidates, providing valuable insights for organizations navigating this transition.

    Recruiting Process Insights

    1. Financial Expectations (42%): A prominent concern among hiring managers is the perception that Gen Z candidates often demand excessive compensation. This finding underscores the importance of aligning salary expectations between employers and candidates, emphasizing the need for transparent communication during the hiring process.
    2. Communication Skills (39%): Nearly four in ten hiring managers express reservations about the communication skills of Gen Z candidates. This highlights the significance of effective communication in a professional setting, prompting organizations to consider targeted training programs to enhance these essential skills among entry-level employees.
    3. Engagement Issues (33%): One-third of hiring managers observe a perceived lack of engagement among Gen Z candidates during the recruiting process. This finding prompts a reflection on how organizations can create an inclusive and stimulating environment for younger employees, fostering a workplace culture that resonates with their expectations.

    Interviewing Challenges

    1. Inappropriate Dressing (58%): A majority of hiring managers (58%) report instances of Gen Z candidates not adhering to appropriate dress codes during interviews. This underscores the importance of professional presentation and raises questions about the preparedness of candidates for the corporate environment.
    2. Eye Contact Struggles (57%): Over half of the hiring managers note struggles with eye contact during interviews. This aspect delves into interpersonal skills and suggests a potential area for improvement in the soft skills of Gen Z candidates.
    3. Compensation Demands (47%): Almost half of the hiring managers encounter Gen Z candidates requesting unreasonable compensation during interviews. This finding emphasizes the necessity for open discussions about salary expectations early in the hiring process to ensure alignment between employer and candidate.

    Workplace Performance Concerns

    1. Entitlement Perception (60%): A significant percentage of hiring managers (60%) perceive Gen Z candidates as entitled. Addressing this perception requires a nuanced approach, focusing on communication and mentorship programs to instill a strong work ethic and collaborative mindset.
    2. Lack of Work Ethic (57%): A considerable number of hiring managers express concerns about the perceived lack of work ethic among Gen Z employees. This finding signals a need for organizations to invest in cultivating a robust work ethic through training and mentorship initiatives.
    3. Communication Skills Deficiency (57%): Matching the earlier observation during the recruiting process, 57% of hiring managers identify a deficiency in communication skills among Gen Z employees. This underscores the ongoing importance of communication skills throughout an individual’s professional journey.

    Addressing Challenges: Strategies for Success

    Stacie Haller, Chief Career Advisor at, emphasizes the need to recognize the unique challenges faced by Gen Z in assimilating into a company’s culture. To address these challenges, organizations are increasingly implementing mentoring programs and etiquette training. These initiatives aim to provide Gen Z employees with the necessary skills to seamlessly integrate into the workplace, fostering a positive and productive work environment.

    The Impact of Remote Learning on Gen Z: Navigating Workplace Challenges

    The surge of Generation Z (Gen Z) into the workforce comes with a unique set of circumstances, largely shaped by the unprecedented prevalence of remote or hybrid learning experiences during their college years. The survey conducted in January 2024 sheds light on the implications of this shift, emphasizing how the departure from traditional in-person learning environments has impacted Gen Z’s ability to seamlessly assimilate into the professional landscape.

    Remote Learning and Workplace Skills

    Stacie Haller, Chief Career Advisor at, highlights the distinctive challenges Gen Z faces due to the predominant reliance on remote or hybrid learning settings. Unlike previous generations, Gen Z spent a considerable portion of their college years navigating virtual classrooms, an experience that significantly differed from the traditional in-person learning environment. As a result, the development of foundational workplace skills, such as effective communication, constructive criticism handling, and the observation of professional dynamics, was influenced by these remote learning modalities.

    Honing Crucial Skills Amidst Remote Challenges

    The shift to remote learning has implications for the acquisition of essential soft skills crucial for workplace success. Effective communication, a cornerstone of professional interactions, may be compromised when the majority of one’s educational experience occurs in virtual spaces. Handling constructive criticism, a skill honed through in-person feedback, could be a challenge in remote environments, potentially impacting the ability of Gen Z to adapt seamlessly to workplace dynamics.

    Observational Learning in Virtual Spaces

    Observational learning, a process where individuals acquire knowledge and skills by observing others in action, has traditionally been a vital aspect of professional development. However, the remote or hybrid learning landscape has altered the dynamics of observational learning for Gen Z. Limited exposure to real-time workplace scenarios may influence their ability to navigate professional nuances and expectations effectively.

    The Role of Workplace Culture Integration

    Haller underscores the impact of these challenges on Gen Z’s integration into a company’s culture. Hiring managers, cognizant of the unique circumstances faced by this generation, may lean towards candidates who have demonstrated proficiency in seamlessly integrating into a workplace culture. Organizations, in response, are recognizing the need for tailored strategies to bridge the gap between the expectations of hiring managers and the skills Gen Z brings to the table.

    Proactive Measures: Mentoring Programs and Etiquette Training

    To address these challenges, organizations are proactively implementing mentoring programs specifically designed for entry-level employees. These initiatives aim to provide Gen Z with guidance, support, and insights into the intricacies of professional life that might have been missed in a remote learning setting.

    Moreover, the growing trend of etiquette training across the board signifies a concerted effort to equip Gen Z with the interpersonal skills necessary for success in the workplace. These programs go beyond technical competencies, focusing on professional conduct, communication etiquette, and other soft skills that are foundational for building a successful career.

    Strategic Considerations for Gen Z Job Seekers

    For Gen Z job seekers, understanding the importance of soft skills is paramount. Demonstrating adaptability, technological proficiency, collaboration within teams, and resilience in overcoming challenges becomes crucial in showcasing not only skills but also the ability to contribute meaningfully to the workplace. Providing specific examples with measurable results becomes a compelling way for Gen Z candidates to differentiate themselves in a competitive job market.

    Addressing Challenges: Training and Mentoring Programs for Gen Z Integration

    As Generation Z (Gen Z) emerges into the workforce, organizations are confronted with the imperative to bridge the gap between the unique challenges faced by this generation and the expectations of hiring managers. The survey conducted in January 2024 illuminates the importance of strategic interventions, with training and mentoring programs at the forefront of initiatives designed to facilitate the assimilation of Gen Z into the professional landscape.

    Recognizing the Need for Tailored Programs

    Stacie Haller, Chief Career Advisor at, emphasizes the significance of recognizing the challenges Gen Z faces in assimilating into a company’s culture. In response, organizations are increasingly implementing tailored training and mentoring programs, recognizing the pivotal role these initiatives play in preparing entry-level employees for success in the workplace.

    Mentoring Programs: Guiding the Next Generation

    Mentoring programs designed specifically for entry-level employees, including those from Gen Z, serve as invaluable tools for facilitating a seamless transition into the workforce. These programs typically pair less experienced individuals with seasoned professionals, providing a structured framework for guidance, support, and knowledge transfer. For Gen Z, mentors become mentors become crucial guides, offering insights into workplace dynamics, professional norms, and career development strategies that may not have been fully developed during remote learning experiences.

    Benefits of Mentoring Programs

    1. Knowledge Transfer: Mentoring programs facilitate the transfer of tacit knowledge from experienced professionals to the next generation. Gen Z employees gain insights not only into their specific roles but also into the organizational culture, fostering a deeper understanding of workplace dynamics.
    2. Networking Opportunities: The mentor-mentee relationship provides Gen Z with valuable networking opportunities. Establishing connections with seasoned professionals can open doors to new possibilities, allowing for a smoother integration into the professional community.
    3. Soft Skills Development: Mentoring goes beyond technical competencies, focusing on the development of soft skills crucial for workplace success. Communication, adaptability, and resilience are among the skills that can be honed through mentorship, addressing concerns raised by hiring managers.

    Etiquette Training: Shaping Professional Conduct

    Etiquette training programs have gained prominence as organizations recognize the need to equip Gen Z with the interpersonal skills essential for success in the workplace. These programs extend beyond traditional professional development, emphasizing aspects of conduct, communication etiquette, and workplace norms. For Gen Z, who may not have had the same exposure to in-person learning environments, etiquette training becomes a crucial component in their holistic development.

    Key Components of Etiquette Training

    1. Professional Communication: Etiquette training focuses on honing communication skills, both written and verbal. This includes email etiquette, workplace communication norms, and the ability to articulate ideas effectively.
    2. Dress Code and Presentation: Addressing concerns raised by hiring managers about inappropriate dressing during interviews, etiquette training emphasizes the importance of professional presentation. Gen Z employees gain insights into the expectations regarding attire and presentation in a corporate setting.
    3. Meeting and Networking Etiquette: Etiquette training programs guide Gen Z on appropriate behavior during meetings, networking events, and other professional gatherings. This helps in building confidence and ensures that they navigate professional environments with ease.

    Strategic Considerations for Success

    For Gen Z job seekers, active participation in training and mentoring programs becomes a strategic consideration. Actively seeking mentorship opportunities and embracing etiquette training can enhance their readiness for the professional sphere. The ability to showcase the acquired skills and knowledge becomes a powerful differentiator in a competitive job market.

    Business Leaders’ Perspectives: A Wider Trend in Hiring Practices

    The landscape of hiring practices is undergoing a significant transformation, as indicated by the insights derived from a survey conducted by This survey, involving 1,243 business leaders aged 30 to 60 with a household income exceeding $75,000 per year and representing companies with over 10 employees, offers a broader perspective on the prevailing sentiment towards Generation Z (Gen Z) in the professional arena. The findings underscore the growing trend among business leaders to exercise caution in hiring recent college graduates, with implications for the future of the workforce.

    Quantifying Leaders’ Avoidance of Gen Z Hires

    According to the survey, a staggering 94% of business leaders admit to avoiding hiring recent college graduates at times. This statistic sheds light on a pervasive trend that extends beyond the concerns highlighted in the survey, indicating a broader reluctance among business leaders to readily embrace Gen Z into their organizations.

    Perceived Unpreparedness of Gen Z for the Workforce

    Forty percent of the respondents in the survey believe that Gen Z is unprepared for the workforce. This perception reflects a widespread concern among business leaders regarding the readiness of this generation to meet the demands and expectations of the professional sphere. The notion of preparedness encompasses various aspects, including technical skills, work ethic, communication abilities, and adaptability.

    Driving Factors: Lack of Work Ethic and Communication Skills

    Among the reasons cited for avoiding Gen Z hires, a staggering 70% of business leaders pinpoint the perceived lack of work ethic. This underscores the importance placed on a strong work ethic in the eyes of hiring decision-makers. Additionally, communication skills, entitlement, and technological skills are also identified as factors where Gen Z is perceived to fall short.

    Avoidance Trends Over Time: A Worsening Situation

    The survey outcomes indicate that 88% of business leaders believe the situation is worsening, asserting that recent graduates are less prepared for the workforce now than they were three years ago. This sentiment implies a growing concern among leaders that the preparedness of Gen Z candidates is on a declining trajectory, necessitating a reassessment of hiring strategies and workforce development initiatives.

    Alignment with Previous Surveys: Consistency in Concerns

    This survey aligns with previous research, such as the May survey of 1,344 hiring managers that found three-quarters of them considering Gen Z tough to work with. The consistent concerns across various surveys underline the persistence of challenges associated with Gen Z integration into the workforce, emphasizing the need for targeted interventions and strategic planning.

    Workplace Adaptation Strategies: Etiquette Classes

    In response to these concerns, workplaces are adopting innovative strategies to fill skill gaps. The survey notes that some organizations are incorporating etiquette classes into their onboarding curriculum, aiming to equip recent graduates, including Gen Z, with the essential skills needed for professional success. This highlights a proactive approach to address perceived shortcomings, emphasizing the importance of workplace etiquette in the eyes of employers.

    The Broader Implications for Workforce Dynamics

    The reluctance of business leaders to readily embrace Gen Z into their organizations signals a shift in hiring dynamics. As Gen Z prepares to take on a more substantial role in the workforce, organizations may need to reevaluate their recruitment and onboarding strategies to align with the evolving expectations and concerns of business leaders.

    Bridging the Gap for a Cohesive Workforce

    The convergence of findings from various surveys, including those conducted by and, paints a comprehensive picture of the challenges and concerns surrounding the integration of Generation Z (Gen Z) into the workforce. As organizations grapple with the imminent rise of Gen Z and the evolving dynamics of the professional sphere, the imperative to bridge the gap between expectations and realities becomes paramount for fostering a cohesive and thriving workforce.

    Understanding and Addressing Unique Challenges

    The acknowledgment of the unique challenges faced by Gen Z, including the impact of remote learning, is the initial step towards effective integration. Stacie Haller, Chief Career Advisor at, rightly points out the distinctive circumstances this generation encountered during their college years, marked by remote or hybrid learning settings. Recognizing these challenges provides the foundation for targeted interventions that address skill gaps and prepare Gen Z for the workplace effectively.

    Strategic Implementation of Training and Mentoring Programs

    The strategic implementation of training and mentoring programs emerges as a cornerstone in bridging the gap. Mentoring programs, designed explicitly for entry-level employees, offer invaluable guidance, support, and knowledge transfer. These initiatives not only facilitate the development of technical skills but also focus on soft skills such as communication, adaptability, and resilience—attributes identified as crucial by both hiring managers and business leaders.

    Etiquette Training: Shaping Professional Conduct

    The incorporation of etiquette training into onboarding programs reflects a proactive approach by organizations to equip Gen Z with the interpersonal skills essential for success in the workplace. These programs extend beyond technical competencies, emphasizing professional conduct, communication etiquette, and workplace norms. By addressing concerns raised by hiring managers about inappropriate dressing, communication deficits, and other behavioral aspects, etiquette training becomes a pivotal component in Gen Z’s holistic development.

    Strategic Considerations for Gen Z Job Seekers

    For Gen Z job seekers, active participation in these training and mentoring programs becomes a strategic imperative. By actively seeking mentorship opportunities, engaging in etiquette training, and showcasing acquired skills, Gen Z individuals can distinguish themselves in a competitive job market. The ability to demonstrate adaptability, technological proficiency, collaboration, and resilience becomes not only a testament to individual capabilities but also a key factor in earning the trust and confidence of potential employers.

    A Proactive Approach to Workplace Adaptation

    The broader perspective provided by the survey adds depth to the narrative, revealing a wider trend wherein business leaders exercise caution in hiring recent college graduates, including Gen Z. The perception of unpreparedness for the workforce prompts organizations to adopt proactive measures, such as etiquette classes, signaling a commitment to addressing perceived shortcomings and nurturing a more prepared and adaptable workforce.

    Strategic Adaptation for Future Success

    In conclusion, bridging the gap between the expectations of hiring managers, business leaders, and the attributes of Gen Z necessitates strategic adaptation. Organizations that invest in targeted training, mentoring initiatives, and etiquette programs are better positioned to harness the unique strengths of Gen Z while addressing concerns raised by hiring decision-makers. This proactive approach not only fosters a more inclusive and harmonious workplace but also lays the foundation for the success of both Gen Z and the organizations that embrace them in the ever-evolving professional landscape. As Gen Z prepares to redefine the workforce, strategic adaptation emerges as the key to unlocking a future of innovation, collaboration, and sustainable success.

    Note: The information in this article is based on surveys conducted by and