Gen Z Workers Are “Unprofessional” and Employers Don’t Want Them

By: Lauren Fokas | Published: Jun 21, 2024

Each generation certainly has its own characteristics; from style to work ethic, life experience, habits, and even vocabulary, there are specific traits assigned to Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and now, Generation Z.

A recent study conducted by, shows that 40% of hiring managers are biased against Gen Z, and the reasons why may be quite surprising.

Who Are Gen Z?

Gen Zers are those people born between 1997 and 2012, so as of 2024, they are between 11 and 27 years old.

A group of Gen Z young adults sit together on yellow stairs

Source: Freepik

While Gen Z are known for many things, many call them the first “digital natives,” in that they were raised using technology and conduct the majority of their lives, including shopping, dating, making friends, and even working online.

Hiring Managers Aren't Excited About Gen Z Employees

However, while Gen Z might sound like the perfect employee, as they know how to navigate the online world, are adaptable learners and technologically savvy, it seems hiring managers are avoiding Gen Z workers.

A young man dressed in a blue suit jacket is visibly stressed

Source: Freepik surveyed 1,000 hiring managers and found that 4 in 10 have “age bias against Gen Z candidates.”

Why Are Employers Hesitant to Hire Gen Z Workers?

According to the survey, there are essentially five reasons why employers are hesitant to hire Gen Z workers.

A business manager looks frustrated as he shows two employees a piece of paper

Source: Freepik

They don’t have enough experience, they lack a professional attitude, Gen Zers tend to job hop, they are unreliable, and they typically have a disappointing work ethic.

Gen Zers Don't Have Enough Experience for the Workplace

A whopping 77% of hiring managers reported that Gen’z lack of professional experience is a big concern. Of course, every generation was young once and lacked experience, but it’s different for Gen Z.

A woman applies for a job via a paper application on a clipboard

Source: Freepik

Resume Builder’s Chief Career Advisor Stacie Haller explained, “Much of this sentiment has been exacerbated by the challenges posed by the pandemic, which has disrupted how entry-level candidates learn how to be successful in the workplace.”

Gen Zers Tend to Have an Unprofessional Attitude

It may be because they spent several of their formative years isolated during the COVID-19 lock down, but many managers have noted that Gen Zers have an unprofessional attitude.

Several coworkers play a game in the breakroom at work

Source: Freepik

In fact, 58% of managers report that the lack of professionalism is a reason why they avoid hiring Gen Z Workers. It seems that these young adults simply don’t know how to adopt a businesslike persona in the workplace.


Gen Z Is More Likely to Job Hop Than Previous Generations

According to Fortune, 40% of Baby Boomers stayed with one employer for more than 20 years, but Gen Zers are not following their parents’ example.

A worker at his desk with a white flag and a sign that says “I Quit”

Source: Depositphotos

A separate study noted that 83% of Gen Z workers “consider themselves job hoppers,” as they consider it “a strategic way for these workers to diversify skill sets, pursue new challenges, and seek environments that align with their values and ambition.” However, 63% of hiring managers stated this reality was a concern when considering hiring Gen Z employees.


Gen Z Are Not Considered the Most Reliable Generation

In addition to job hopping, Generation Z are not known for their reliability. Younger workers want options, such as remote or hybrid work schedules, flexible hours and vacation time, and generally a better work-life balance than their Gen X parents had.

Woman sitting on the couch with her laptop

Source: Freepik

While, to many, this may seem like a positive mindset, to employers, it can be exceptionally frustrating. About 50% of managers said Gen Z’s unreliability is a leading factor in why they don’t want to hire them.


Gen Z Certainly Isn't Known for Their Work Ethic

In this same light, Gen Z are not known as hard workers. Of course, that is a generalization and many of the next generation have a diligent work ethic, but as a stereotype, they simply don’t have the professional dedication of previous generations.

A group of young people from Gen Z smile for a selfie in front of a yellow wall

Source: Freepik

Many Baby Boomers and Millennials alike have called out Gen Z for being “lazy” at work. However, Gen Z claims they simply value their work-life balance and are comfortable setting boundaries with employers to ensure they are not overworked. Nonetheless, 46% of hiring managers worry about Gen Z’s work ethic when choosing a candidate for a position.


Gen Z Needs to Be Better Prepared for the Workforce

The concerns among hiring managers about Gen Z workers could lead to trouble, not only for those graduating and attempting to find employment, but for the economy as a whole.

A businesswoman looks annoyed as she works on her laptop in an office with two coworkers talking behind her

Source: Freepik

Soon enough, employers will absolutely have to hire Gen Zers as more and more Baby Boomers and Gen Xers retire. And some say that to ensure the workforce continues to run smoothly, older generations need to do their part in preparing Gen Z for the workforce.


Education, Inter-Generational Teams, and Company Mentorship Could Help Gen Z Thrive

There are several ways in which we, as a society, can help Gen Z better prepare for the workforce and save both them and the economy from disaster. First and foremost, it’s important that institutions, at the high school and college level, help young students understand what will be expected of them at work.

A teacher leaning over to assist three young female students who are analyzing or working on a newspaper project in a well-lit classroom

Source: senivpetro/freepik

Additionally, companies can and should be prepared to help Gen Zers transition into the workforce with multi-generational teams and mentorship programs. By having the elder employees show Gen Zers how it works, companies may be able to pacify several of their concerns.


Employers Need to Find Ways to Accept and Incorporate Gen Z

The bottom line is that, in just a few short years, employers won’t be able to pass up Gen Z workers simply because they have concerns regarding their professionalism or work ethic.

Many people working at a desk with laptops in an office meeting.

Source: Mapbox/Unsplash

As Haller explained, “Recognizing the distinct needs and potential contributions of this generation is essential for fostering a more inclusive and productive work environment for all parties involved. Age bias should not exist no matter the age of the candidate.”