GenZ Hiring Problems Reflect America’s Cultural Failure

GenZ Hiring Problems Reflect America’s Cultural Failure
GenZ Hiring Problems Reflect America’s Cultural Failure

Cultural changes driven by politics and social movements are having catastrophic effects on GenZ members entering the workforce. GenZ refers to those born between 1997 and 2012. Corporate initiatives like DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) and a flawed education system are failing to teach them the basic social skills they need. These shortcomings are creating unprecedented difficulties for managers in companies across the country.

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Recent studies of the current wave of college graduates entering the workforce offer some shocking details about what employers face when hiring qualified people. The December 2023 issue of the online magazine Intelligent featured a commissioned  Pollfish survey of 800 managers and executives involved in hiring, and the results are astounding. Among the notable findings:

  • Twenty percent of recent college graduates bring a parent to their job interviews.
  • Fifty percent of recent college graduate recruits struggle to make eye contact during an interview.
  • Fifty percent of recruits are improperly dressed for interviews.
  • Employers say that newly hired college graduates do not respond well to feedback and are unprepared for the workplace.

These are not isolated or anecdotal results but a sampling of 800 managers and executives engaged in running businesses. The results reflect a breakdown in how young men and women are formed and educated in homes and schools.

When once the thought of bringing parents to interviews was a recipe for embarrassment and ridicule amongst peers, today’s employers are faced with helicopter parents attending an interview in a supporting character role.

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The rapid regression from ‘casual Fridays’ to an anything-goes wardrobe has deteriorated to a point where there are cases of applicants showing up for an interview wearing sweatpants and flip-flops.

Another indicator of this epic failure can be found in a recent article on bearing the headline “Etiquette Classes are coming to more than 60% of companies in 2024.” According to a survey of over 1500 business leaders by Resume Builder, 60% of companies in the U.S. will be offering etiquette training to their employees to teach such topics as: how to send an email, how to dress appropriately, how to interact with clients, how to speak up at meetings and how to respect shared spaces.

The survey found that recent college graduates (Gen Z) lack the skills to debate, disagree, or even work alongside people with differing opinions.

The sobering reality of these results is that corporations like PWC, Deloitte and KPMG must supplement running a ‘for profit’ business with instruction on topics that 16 years of education in school and home should have covered but failed to do. Employers today are taking on the added burden and cost of forming their employees in the basic skills of adulthood so that they can keep providing products and services to their customers. 

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Indeed, the burden of training employees in skills was once taken for granted as the fruit of a child’s formation at home and in school. Now, companies will have to hire qualified trainers to teach baseline etiquette skills to their employees. Under normal circumstances, hiring new employees is a sign of growth in revenues and profit, with an expectation that the new hires will contribute to productivity and profitability. The economic impact is balanced by the additional new business created by the additional staff.

It is not unusual for companies to have staff members who serve the company as trainers on matters of production and techniques. Some duties of trainers include orienting new employees on the policies and procedures of the company, conducting product training, and maintaining safety standards in the workplace. Employees are educated on various topics with a focus on maximizing productivity and safety and have measurable results.  

However, the new training will be different. Basic soft skill training for improving employee productivity becomes difficult, if not impossible, to measure. Corporate initiatives without measurable productivity results often have an economic impact on customers.

A reality of business is that any time cost is added, CEOs and shareholders expect that the cost (people, processes, or procedures) will produce revenues that exceed the amount invested. Otherwise, investors ask why risk the investment. As Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank says, “I’m not trying to make friends. I’m trying to make money.”

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Like him or not, Mr. O’Leary’s words reveal the cold, hard facts of business in America. The need for companies to make money and operate a sustainable business makes the flourishing of generations of families and the support of countless communities possible.

Another inconvenient truth is that the moral breakdown of families, communities and churches impacts business. All components must work together if society is to prosper.

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