Recent College Graduates Have Worse Work Ethic, US Bosses Say

United States North America Higher Education News Statistics by Erudera News May 31, 2024

students working

Employers are reluctant to hire Gen Zers graduates, with one in two saying recent grads have “a worse work ethic, are more political, and have fewer practical skills,” a new survey has found.

Intelligent, an online education magazine, surveyed 1,268 business leaders this May and found that 51 percent have been more concerned about this issue in the last five years as Gen Zers enter the job market. Only 6 percent said they are less worried, Erudera.com reports.

“There’s always been plenty of debate about hiring new grads due to broad assumptions around lacking soft skills, entitlement, and overall job readiness.

In recent months, there seems to be a heightened concern about Gen Z becoming far more politically active and vocal with their beliefs in all aspects of their lives, including the workplace,” Chief Education and Career Development Advisor Huy Nguyen explains.

Findings show that 64 percent of businesses are worried about hiring recent college graduates overall, with 65 percent citing a lack of strong work ethic among these graduates as a primary concern and 57 percent saying they have too high salary expectations.

When asked about Generation Z, 84 percent of respondents said they expect to get paid more compared to previous generations, and 79 percent said Gen Z college graduates have a worse workplace ethic.

About 75 percent and 70 percent of leaders said Generation Z is more entitled and more political, respectively, compared to other generations.

According to the hiring managers, other true characteristics of Gen Z recent graduates are lack of mental toughness (67 percent) and worse social skills (60 percent). About 57 percent of hiring managers said Gen Zers are also more difficult to train.

“Employers should be cautious about making generalized assumptions about Gen Z,” says Nguyen. “Recent grads need to directly prepare to address misguided stereotypes about their qualifications and mindset through developing their personal brand and demonstrating their experience.”

A different survey of 1,100 Gen Zers conducted between March and April by the career platform iHire found that 81.3 percent of participants said “when, where, and how” they would work was an “extremely” or “very” important factor.

On the other hand, a competitive salary is very or extremely important for 82 percent of respondents. Nearly 56 percent of Gen Zers said they wanted to work in person all the time, and only 18 percent said they preferred remote work. One in four said they liked a hybrid work model.

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