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Survey: 40% of Business Leaders Find Gen Z Unprepared for Workforce

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Aug 7, 2023

Four in 10 business leaders said that the members of Generation Z are unprepared for the workforce, a survey by of 1,243 business leaders found

The opinions supporting that belief vary. Seventy percent of the respondents said that unpreparedness is a result of Gen Z's work ethic, and the same percentage said it was also the result of communication skills. Fifty-one percent blamed a sense of entitlement, and 43 percent attributed that lack of preparedness to technological skills

Whatever the reason, 94 percent of that subset said that they avoid hiring members of this cohort at times. Seven percent said they avoid hiring them all the time, and 27 percent said most of the time.

Eighty-eight percent of the respondents said that college graduates from the last three years are less prepared for the workforce than less recent graduates.

On the subject of graduates from the last three year, 62 percent of the respondents said that culture is to blame for their being unprepared. Half said that it was due to parents, 46 percent said that it was due to educators, and 48 said that it was due to the pandemic.

Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed were in favor of colleges offering etiquette classes. Half of these respondents said such classes would very helpful and half said they would be somewhat helpful.

“Elders have always complained about the 'new generation—but somehow each new cohort has managed to find work and eventually to lead," said Diane Gayeski, Ph.D., professor of strategic communication at Ithaca College and a principal of Gayeski Analytics, who was interviewed in connection with the survey. "The two-year gap of Zoom school clearly had a large impact on college students who typically grow dramatically in their “'people' skills and confidence by class discussions, clubs, and dorm life."

Gayeski added, “The trick for smart organizations will be to understand the styles and values of the incoming cohort, and for leaders to ask themselves how they can create organizations that do well and do good—for their employees and their customers. They’ll find no shortage of smart young professionals who can bring important new perspectives on how to efficiently accomplish goals and create environments that are conducive to the growth of both employees and the bottom line.” is an educational consulting company. In its methodology section, the company reported that its survey of 1,243 business leaders was conducted on July 27 by survey platform Pollfish, adding, "Demographic criteria were used to ensure qualified respondents. These criteria included age (30-60), household income (>$75,000), employment status (employed for wages), organizational role (C-Level executive, HR manager, director, president, owner/partner, senior management), and company size (>10)."