scorecardGen Z workers are lazy, some bosses say. They don't do anything unless every second of their day is managed.
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Gen Z workers are lazy, some bosses say. They don't do anything unless every second of their day is managed.

Jordan Hart   

Gen Z workers are lazy, some bosses say. They don't do anything unless every second of their day is managed.
Careers2 min read
Managers are worried that young workers are too lazy to do their jobs, while employees worry they don't have enough energy to get through the day, The Wall Street Journal reported this week.    monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images
  • Some Gen Z employees aren't sure how to interact in person after starting their careers from home.
  • "Lazy" younger workers need a lot of hand-holding, managers told The Wall Street Journal.

In the wake of a global lockdown, young professionals are entering the workforce having taken at least a semester of their college education online.

The lack of hands-on learning might have left Gen Zers lazy or clueless when it comes to completing basic tasks on the job, some managers told The Wall Street Journal in a report this week.

"They're not looking to be productive," Laura Davis, a director at the John Ball Zoo, told the Journal. "If they're not told what to do, if someone isn't managing every second and keeping them busy, their inclination is not to self-identify what they can do — it's to do nothing."

Some colleges and companies have opted for training for new graduates who want to learn more about working in the office as experts suggest they lack soft skills — including lessons on how to compose an email, how to spark office chitchat, and even how to know what to wear to work.

A study of workers in the US, UK, Germany, France, Poland, and Japan indicated Gen Zers and millennials were two to three times more likely to feel left out of online company meetings than their Gen X and boomer coworkers.

Ivan Schury, a 17-year-old supervisor at the John Ball Zoo, told the Journal that he and his fellow teens were left feeling distracted in the fallout of the pandemic. As a result, he was constantly keeping an eye on other young workers in the kitchen — including one employee who often abandoned his post at the fry station.

"He just kept walking away to talk to his friends at the counter," Schury told the Journal. "I spend a lot of time making sure people stay on-task."

Despite perceptions of their managers, nearly half of Gen Z workers say it's not laziness that causes an inability to self-start but rather stress and anxiety. Deloitte's 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey suggested that many young professionals felt exhausted or disengaged at work.

Are you a manager who works with Gen Zers? Have you noticed anything about their work habits that's different from other generations? We want to hear from you. Email this reporter at jhart@insider.com.




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