Employers Really Dislike Hiring Gen Z’ers. Here’s Why

Employers Really Dislike Hiring Gen Z. Here’s Why

Employers Really Dislike Hiring Gen Z: Here’s Why

Some employers avoid hiring recent college grads in favor of older workers, a new study finds.

A December 2023 survey by Intelligent.com of 800 U.S. managers, directors, and executives who are involved in hiring found that 38% of employers prefer hiring older workers over recent college graduates. 58% say recent college graduates are unprepared for the workforce and nearly half of employers have had to fire a recent college graduate.


Employers say they’re willing to implement a variety of tactics to avoid hiring Gen Z college graduates—from offering more benefits (60%) to paying higher salaries (59%) in order to attract older workers.

48% of employers surveyed say that let older employers work remotely or in a hybrid format and 46% say they’d hire an older employee who is overqualified for the position to avoid working with someone younger.


Unreasonable salary demands and interview blunders are some of the main reasons behind employers’ disdain for Gen Z. 53% of employers say that recent college graduates struggle with eye contact during interviews. Additionally, almost half of employers say Gen Z asks for unreasonable compensation, and that they’ve had candidates show up to their interviews dressed inappropriately.

21% of employers say they have had a candidate refuse to turn on their camera for a virtual interview, while 19% they’ve even had a recent college graduate bring a parent with them to their interview.

Some experts say that employers should take into context the circumstances around recent college graduates’ education.

“Employers need to recognize that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, young people graduating from college had more than two years of disruption in their education as well as their social and professional development,” Diane M. Gayeski, PhD, professor of strategic communications at Ithaca College, says. “Current seniors were in their freshman year at the height of COVID. They likely took classes online and were unable to participate in clubs, internships, or summer jobs.”

When asked about their opinions of recent college graduates, 63% of employers say that Gen Z is entitled. 58% say recent college graduates get offended too easily and are overall unprepared for the workforce. Nearly half of employers, 47%, say they’ve fired a recent college graduate.

“Gen Z hires need a lot of mentoring,” Gayeski says. “They may need very specific guidance about what to wear, how to write an appropriate business email, or how to speak up in a meeting.”


Despite many employers’ gripes around Gen Z, some experts say that as the newest generation enters the workforce, companies need to also look at how “work” itself is changing and evolving—if they hope to attract future talent.

“We think Gen Z will have the ability to demand greater personalization in how they move along their career journey,” Tiffany Mawhinney, a Principal at Deloitte, and Kimberly Betts, a Managing Director at Deloitte, say. “For organizations to attract and retain the best and brightest of the generation, it will require a different mindset. To attract Gen Z, employers must be ready to adopt a speed of evolution that matches the external environment. That means developing robust training and leadership programs, with a real and tangible focus on diversity.”

Gayeski echoes a similar sentiment when it comes to the Gen Z workforce.

“These individuals value training and connections with fellow employees,” she says. “They really want to do a good job and be valued. They also care very much about the values of an organization and its leaders, so if companies want to attract the top talent, they should be prepared to talk about more than just the job and making money.”


The survey was conducted on December 7, 2023 by survey platform Pollfish and commissioned by Intelligent.com. A total of 800 U.S. managers, directors and executives who are involved in hiring were surveyed.

To ensure qualified respondents, the following demographic criteria was applied: age (25 and above), household income (exceeding $75,000), organizational roles such as C-Level executive, HR manager, director, president, owner/partner, senior management, and middle management, as well as company size (greater than 10).

Sources: Intelligent.com, Deloitte

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