HR Policy Association

Is Age Bias the Next Gen Z Workplace Complaint?

A recent survey from shed light on concerning trends regarding the hiring of Gen Z candidates. 

  • Nearly one-third of hiring managers surveyed admit to avoiding hiring Gen Z individuals due to skepticism about their professional and interpersonal skills, and retention. 

  • This bias has been criticized by experts as shortsighted, potentially unlawful, and indicative of rising age bias complaints in the workplace.

While federal law protects workers aged 40 and above from age discrimination, some states have broader statutes encompassing all adult workers. Despite legal protections, younger workers are increasingly reporting instances of age bias, often intersecting with other protected characteristics such as gender and race.

Why it matters: Gen Z is entering the workforce, bringing with it new sensibilities and work expectations. Known for its diversity and activist spirit, and influenced by significant social movements and technological advancements, Gen Z demonstrates a heightened sensitivity to workplace issues and a willingness to seek change. Despite these unique characteristics, research by John Della Volpe, Looking Forward with Gen Z, indicates that Gen Z’s work goals – ability to support themselves financially, harmonizing work and home life, and feeling passionate about work, are issues that HR regularly addresses.

The bottom line: Dismissing Gen Z applicants based on age stereotypes is counterproductive. Employees of different generations share common work goals. The key is identifying these drivers for Gen Z employees and working with managers to address them.

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