Nearly 40% of U.S. employers avoid hiring recent college graduates for positions they are eligible for in favor of older candidates, a new survey reveals.
Six in 10 of the employers who steer clear of Gen Z job candidates said they offer more benefits or higher salaries to attract older workers and 46% said they hire an older employee who is overqualified for the position to avoid working with someone younger.
Gen Z graduates joining the workforce struggle with many aspects of professional life making them less desirable to hire, according to the survey of 800 U.S. managers and executives involved in hiring. The survey was conducted Dec. 7.
Employers said half of recent college graduates struggle with eye contact and ask for unreasonable salaries during job interviews and nearly that many dress inappropriately.
Hiring managers also report that 1 in 5 recent college graduates either refused to turn on the camera during a virtual interview or brought a parent to an in-person interview.
“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, professor of strategic communications at Ithaca College, said in the survey report. “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.”
Among employers who have worked with recent college graduates, 63% said they cannot manage the workload and 60% said they arrive late to work or turn in assignments late. Nearly half have had to fire a recent college graduate.
Additionally, 63% of employers said Gen Z graduates “are entitled.”
What may appear as entitlement could be viewed more appropriately as an entrepreneurial attitude, Tony Buffum, a client strategy member at Upwork, wrote in a recent article for HRMorning.
The latest generation to join the job market “is swiftly reshaping the employment landscape … with a unique set of values, expectations and digital fluency that sets them apart from their predecessors,” Buffum wrote.
“New talent is no longer willing to put their career in the hands of the organization and follow a sometimes opaque and amorphous career path. Instead, they recognize that, with the right skills and experience, they can take their career anywhere they want.”
He concluded, “As Gen Z disrupts the workforce and transforms hiring paradigms, business leaders must remain proactive and innovative in their approaches.”