'Tech shame' is hitting young colleagues the hardest as they try to fix older colleagues' technical issues and their own
- Gen Z workers are 10 times more likely to feel ashamed about technical issues than their older colleagues, HP survey says.
- Despite being online all the time, they aren't as tech savvy as some may think, HR expert says.
Anxiety around technology is more common in an increasingly remote workplace, but research shows that Gen Z is having a surprisingly tough time adjusting to job-related tech issues.
According to a November survey from tech company HP, young people are 10 times more likely to feel "tech shame" than their older colleagues when experiencing computer problems like WiFi connection.
Debbie Irish, head of HP's UK and Ireland human resources, told WorkLife there are many reasons why a young employee might feel more anxious about technology than their more experienced — and oftentimes — higher paid coworkers.
"Some young professionals are entering the workforce for the first time in fully virtual settings," said Irish. "They have less face-to-face time in the office than any other generation and have limited access to senior employees, mentors and even their bosses."
Although they're often tapped to assist, Gen Zers say they're fed up with being the tech gurus for older coworkers. Being the team's go-to for those questions also can bring on shame when their own issues arise, WorkLife reported.
"The assumption is that because Gen Z and even millennials spend a considerable amount of time on technology that they are technology savvy," Irish said, according to WorkLife.
"This is a huge misconception. Sadly, neither watching TikTok videos nor playing Minecraft fulfills the technology brief."
A July survey from OSlash and young people's social media complaints about their unofficial tech support roles at work confirm Irish's theory.
The survey of 1,000 workers in the US revealed 25% of Gen Zers feel they can't get work done because they are "tech support" for coworkers.
A TikTok highlighting the results of the survey garnered thousands of views and comments complaining about the overwhelming task of helping colleagues through tech issues.
@jareenimam Gen Z has turned into tech support for their older coworkers @jareenimam #genzcorporate #workculturematters #getthatraise #betterjobs #workplacestruggles #workdynamics ♬ Quirky - Oleg Kirilkov
"I just Google whatever they need but 90% of the time it's a 'did you try restarting your computer' kind of problem lol," a commenter wrote.
While most of the comments were from younger workers complaining, one commenter offered advice that could help address tech shame and lessen frustration in early-career workers.
The user suggested Gen Zers "use this opportunity to find a mentor" within their company instead of feeling anxious about their ability to help solve tech problems.
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