Many Execs Aren’t Hiring New Grads & Why

My morning begins with a cup of coffee in one hand and something to read in the other, be it in
print or online. This morning, an article by Haley Tenore from Businessinsider.com caught my
attention, and it is something of interest to all, especially those of us who are connected to the
meetings and hospitality industry in any way. The article is about the results of a new survey of
more than 1,200 business leaders and their views on the younger generation. In this case, Gen Z,
those born between 1997 and 2012. Briefly, this is what it found:

  • 40% of business leaders thought Gen Z grads were unprepared for the workplace.
  •  94% of that subset said they had avoided hiring recent college graduates.
  •  88% of that subset said "etiquette classes" could help graduates transition to post-college jobs.

According to Tenore, Insider garnered these facts and observations from a student-focused
magazine called Intelligent but, she says, it isn’t the first report like this to declare such an
alarming blanket statement about the upcoming generation. “And those feelings are leaking into
hiring decisions,” Tenore observed.
Such a report won’t be the last we hear on the subject. The bugle call here is the fact that
Gen Zers are now entering the workplace or will within the next decade, and they are being
targeted as the “most challenging generation” to work with by nearly 75% of managers and
business leaders proclaim another pollster, ResumeBuilder.com.
But, from the Lost Generation to the present one, hasn’t disappointment with the younger
generation always been in vogue? How many of us “elders” recall hearing – or even saying –
when I was a kid, we didn’t do it that way….we knew better….we worked hard for what we got.
It’s that age-old metaphor of having to walk five miles to school every day without complaining
about it.
I got to wondering, is this all true? Are we just picking on these young upstarts for no
good reason? Or, is there a germ of truth to what the survey-takers declare? According to Insider,
it declares that “some bosses claim young workers won’t do anything unless every second of
their day is managed.” Furthermore, these young ones have zero work ethic, poor
communication skills, and no understanding of how things get done or why. 
Sounds cold but, well, think about it. Anyone graduating from the nation’s colleges
recently, meaning 2023, spent a good deal of those years homeschooling themselves due to covid
restraints. That period in history was a great disconnect for this generation, a disconnect from
peers, friends, teachers, professors, schedules, goals, and more – at a most pivotal time in their
lives too. Indeed, it was a great disconnect from society and all of its unwritten rules of behavior
like getting a job, working 9-5 (at least), respecting your elders, getting ahead, being ambitious, getting a mentor, planning
for the future, save for future, and so on.
But, survey says, nothing like this seems to be going on with the Gen Z crowd.

Fortunately, academe and corporate America are both responding to this lackluster
demographic with training programs to sharpen or even create communication skills, people
skills, job responsibility, and more.
Upon further investigation, however, there is a plus side to all of this, and it’s a big plus!
Gen Z does bring something valuable to the table. Insider quotes Diane Gayeski, a professor of
strategic communication at Ithaca College on this very thing. She analyzes the situation this way:
“Gen Zer’s are proficient in using tools like Slack and Google Docs, and a boss willing to find a
middle ground with their younger employees could stand to benefit. For instance, a sales director
at a medical company credited his Gen Z colleagues with figuring out a way to leverage AI
to automate tedious jobs and boost productivity apparently when no one else on the team could.”
Well, that’s very encouraging. Maybe that Z doesn’t stand for, um, zero after all. Maybe it
stands for ZIF or Zettabyte or Zip Insertion File. If you don’t know what they are, chances are
that Gen Zers do.

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