A recent survey by iHire highlights the growing disconnect between Gen Z and employers. Born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, Gen Z steps into the workforce with distinct expectations.

However, a noticeable disconnect between Gen Z and employers often leads to misunderstandings and missed opportunities. Let’s explore this disconnect and uncover strategies to bridge the gap.


Understanding the Disconnect

According to the study, 34.4% of Gen Z respondents fear negative stereotypes could hinder their job searches and career advancement. Employers, on the other hand, express concerns about Gen Z’s perceived “entitled” mentality, lack of commitment, and work ethic.

Despite these stereotypes, the study also reveals positive traits associated with Gen Z. Employers describe this generation as tech-savvy, socially conscious, and diverse. These attributes should ideally make Gen Z attractive candidates, yet the disconnect persists.


Understanding The Disconnect: Brown paper with a section ripped away to reveal the word, "Why?"

Reasons for the Disconnect

Several factors contribute to the disconnect between Gen Z and employers.


  1. Divergent Expectations
    • Mission and Values: A significant 70.3% of Gen Z members consider it extremely or very important for their employer’s mission and values to align with their own. Additionally, 68% emphasize the importance of their company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Employers need to communicate their mission and values clearly to attract Gen Z talent.

  1. Skill Perception Gaps
    • Interviewing and Communication Skills: While 58.3% of employers believe Gen Z job seekers need to improve their interviewing skills, and 57.5% think they need better communication with hiring managers and recruiters, Gen Z’s self-assessment sometimes differs. For instance, although 52.8% of employers think Gen Z needs to enhance their office/workplace etiquette, 73.7% of Gen Z members rate their etiquette skills as excellent or good.
    • Résumé Writing: There’s also a gap in perceptions about résumé writing skills; 48.4% of employers see room for improvement, but 68.4% of Gen Z members feel confident about their résumés.

  1. Technological Concerns
    • Artificial Intelligence: The rise of AI introduces additional concerns. About 33.2% of Gen Z members fear AI might replace their job or diminish their role’s significance in the coming year. Despite being tech-savvy, 42.7% of Gen Z respondents have never used AI tools like ChatGPT for job search assistance, such as writing résumés or cover letters.

  1. Work Environment Preferences
    • In-Person vs. Remote Work: Contrary to popular belief, the survey found that 82.4% of Gen Z respondents prefer in-person work at least some of the time. A majority, 55.8%, favor entirely in-person work environments, and 26.6% opt for hybrid setups. Only 17.6% prefer completely remote work.

  1. Job Search Challenges
    • Dream Jobs and Job Search Barriers: Gen Z job seekers face significant hurdles. About 38.6% struggle to find jobs for which they are qualified or have the required experience. Additionally, 25.6% are frustrated by employers’ overly specific or unrealistic requirements, which pose barriers to entry-level employment opportunities.

Strategies For Employers: Hands typing on an open laptop computer. The word "Strategy" is superimposed over the image.

Strategies for Employers

Bridging the gap between Gen Z and employers requires proactive strategies to address the unique needs and expectations of this generation. Here are some actionable steps for employers:


  1. Align Mission and Values
    • Communicate Clearly: Highlight your company’s mission, values, and commitment to DEI prominently in your recruitment materials and on your website. Ensure these align with what Gen Z candidates are looking for.
    • Live Your Values: Demonstrate your commitment to these values through actions, such as participating in community service, implementing sustainable practices, and promoting an inclusive workplace culture.

  1. Enhance Interview Processes
    • Provide Feedback: Offer constructive post-interview feedback to Gen Z candidates (this applies to candidates of all generations…no “ghosting” allowed!. This helps them understand areas for improvement and shows you value their growth.
    • Use Modern Tools: Incorporate technology and social media in your recruitment process. Gen Z is comfortable with digital interactions, so leverage video interviews and social media outreach.

  1. Improve Communication
    • Train Hiring Managers: Equip your hiring managers with training on how to effectively communicate with Gen Z candidates. Emphasize the importance of transparency, prompt responses, and clear explanations of job roles and expectations.
    • Open Channels: Maintain open communication channels where Gen Z employees can voice their concerns, provide feedback, and suggest improvements.

  1. Foster Skill Development
    • Offer Training Programs: Provide opportunities for Gen Z employees to develop their skills through training programs, workshops, and mentorship. Highlight these opportunities during the hiring process.
    • Encourage Continuous Learning: Create an environment supportive of continuous learning and professional development. This can include access to online courses, seminars, and industry conferences.

  1. Flexible Work Arrangements
    • Hybrid Models: Given the preference for in-person work, consider offering hybrid work arrangements to combine the flexibility of remote work with the benefits of in-person collaboration.
    • Work-Life Balance: Promote a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible hours, wellness programs, and mental health support.

Tips For Gen Z Job Seekers: Light bulb sitting on a wooden table top. The words "Helpful Tips" are spelled out next to the bulb.

Tips for Gen Z Job Seekers

Gen Z job seekers: consider these practical tips to better align with employer expectations and improve your chances of landing the right job.


  1. Understand Employer Expectations
    • Research Companies: Before applying, research potential employers to understand their mission, values, and culture. Look for companies aligned with your personal values and career goals.
    • Highlight Relevant Skills: Tailor your résumé and cover letter to highlight skills and experiences matching the job requirements and the company’s values.

  1. Improve Interview Skills
    • Practice Makes Perfect: Prepare for interviews by practicing common questions and answers. Consider conducting mock interviews with friends, mentors, or career coaches.
    • Showcase Soft Skills: Demonstrate your communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills during the interview. Employers value these attributes as much as technical abilities.

  1. Enhance Résumé and Application Materials
    • Keep It Concise: Ensure your résumé is clear, concise, and free of errors. Highlight achievements and experiences relevant to the job you’re applying for.
    • Use Keywords: Incorporate keywords from the job description into your résumé and cover letter to help pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS).

  1. Leverage Technology:
    • AI Tools: Utilize AI tools like ChatGPT to improve your résumé and cover letter. These tools can help you craft professional and effective job application materials.
    • Online Presence: Maintain a professional online presence on platforms like LinkedIn. Engage with industry content, connect with professionals, and showcase your expertise.

  1. Adapt to Workplace Norms
    • Observe and Learn: Pay attention to workplace norms and etiquette. If you’re new to a professional setting, observe how colleagues interact and adapt accordingly.
    • Seek Feedback: Actively seek feedback from supervisors and peers to understand areas for improvement and demonstrate your willingness to grow and adapt.

Let’s Get to Work

Bridging the disconnect between Gen Z and employers requires mutual understanding and proactive strategies.

Employers must adapt their recruitment and retention approaches to align with Gen Z’s values and expectations, while Gen Z job seekers should hone their skills and align themselves with employer expectations.

Working together, we can help create a harmonious and productive workplace for both.

Let’s get to work…

Source: https://www2.staffingindustry.com/Editorial/Daily-News/Report-cites-disconnect-between-Gen-Z-and-employers-69440