Small Business Owners Call Out Gen Z As ‘Most Toxic’ and ‘Least Reliable’ Employees

In a damning new report, small business owners have accused Gen Z workers of being the “least reliable” and most toxic generation of employees. But is the labor force really so dire, or is it a case of generational divides?

Bad Reputation

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Gen Z employees are garnering an increasingly bad reputation in the workplace, particularly amongst small business owners, according to a new report by the Freedom Economy Index. 

Generational Complaints

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The report surveyed up to 80,000 small businesses in the U.S., many of whom reported a raft of complaints about the youngest generation of workers who are flooding into the workplace as they graduate from high school and college.

An Unflattering Picture for Gen Z

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Ranging from toxicity and unreliability to lawsuit risks and disproportionate mental health claims, the report paints an unflattering picture of America’s youngest workers. 

80,000 Small Business Owners

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Of 80,000 business owners who participated in the survey, 68% found that Gen Z employees were the “least reliable” of all employees. 62% reported Gen Zers as the most likely group to “cause division and toxicity in the workplace.”

Workplace Lawsuits and Mental Health Issues

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Over half of all participants believed that Gen Z employees posed the biggest risk for a workplace lawsuit, and a whopping 71% said they were the most likely group to report mental health issues.

Harsh Criticisms

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Certain individual employers were even harsher with their criticisms, with one pointing out their penchant for “absolute delusion, complete lack of common sense, and zero critical reasoning or basic analytical skills.”

Unreasonable Expectations?

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A second employer reported a general tendency to expect promotions “for simply showing up every day.”

Gen Z Workforce Growing

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This less-than-impressive feedback on Gen Z in the workplace may pose a problem for business owners.

Gen Zers, who fall between ages 12 and 27, are only going to become more prominent in the workforce.

More Than a Quarter by 2025

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According to data from GilPress, Gen Z workers are likely to make up 27% of the workforce by 2025.

A Difficult Labor Market

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The report was also conducted by the online job marketplaces RedBalloon and PublicSquare.

Andrew Crapuchettes, CEO of RedBalloon, predicted in the report that the “2024 labor market will be one of the most difficult in decades.”

“Struggling to Make the Grade”

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“With large-scale retirements by baby boomers,” Crapucettes continued, “the market needs an influx of new talent, but Gen Z is clearly struggling to make the grade.”

Some Disagree

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But not everyone agrees. In fact, critics of the report, like HR consultant Dan Space, believe that generational divides around work culture, as well as the underpaid positions of many small businesses, are more likely to be the issue.

No BS for Gen Z

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Space and others believe that it is actually Gen Z’s unwillingness to put up with “BS” in companies with low-quality work cultures that lead to more issues between younger employees and older employers.

An Informed and Confident Generation

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“Gen Z is one of the most informed, confident and no BS generation because they saw what happened to the millennials before them,” said Space. 

No “Gen X Apathy”

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“You can’t intimidate them the way you could with millennials, nor do they have the Gen X apathy,” he continued. 

Gen Z Struggles

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He also pointed out that issues around reliability and mental health struggles were not surprising, as Gen Z have struggled with “a work landscape fraught with challenges” that other generations had not experienced.

Time to Recognize

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Space claimed that it was “crucial” for older employers to recognize the different needs of younger workers, who have grappled with “economic instability and a global pandemic that has reshaped notions of work-life balance and mental well-being.”  

New Strategies Needed

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Whatever path small business owners choose in responding to generational workplace issues, it’s clear that new strategies will be needed as the percentage of Gen Z employees grows, and economic stressors continue.

Fear of Recession

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The same report showed that 67% of small business owners believe that the U.S. is heading toward recession, and are putting a hold on staffing changes and only making essential purchases.

A Turn In the Economy

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“Small business owners are clearly feeling a turning in the economy,” said Michael Seifert, CEO of PublicSquare. “But they’re not willing to bet the farm just yet on which direction the economy will turn next.”

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The post Small Business Owners Call Out Gen Z As ‘Most Toxic’ and ‘Least Reliable’ Employees first appeared on From Frugal to Free.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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