Managers Think Gen Z Lacks Soft Skills & Have Unrealistic Demands At Work

Managers Think Gen Z Lacks Soft Skills & Have Unrealistic Demands At Work

Posted by

In general, the onboarding process teaches a new hire everything they need to know about their job. It identifies their point person for technical issues, when to meet with their manager, and how to deal with the most common roadblocks.

However, a half-week of modules and PowerPoint presentations are unlikely to teach a new hire—let alone a recent college graduate—how to receive direct criticism or strike up a conversation with a senior manager if you run into them in the office kitchen. These are soft skills, and according to new data from a Harris Poll conducted exclusively for Fortune, bosses believe Gen Z lacks them the most.

Out of the 1,200 knowledge workers surveyed for the Harris Poll, 82% of managers stated that more supervision, time, and training are needed for the soft skills of their new Gen Z hires. Three out of four managers believe it is more difficult to teach new hires soft skills than technical ones, and they believe Gen Z newcomers have unrealistic demands at work, more so than they did in the past.

Even the Gen Z employees in question acknowledge the issue, but they are pleading for some mercy. According to a Harris Poll survey, nearly four out of five Gen Z workers (78%) believe that certain abstract, ambient workplace soft skills are best learned by monitoring from more seasoned workers over time rather than through formal instruction.

They also note that since many of them received Zoom college and Zoom internships rather than on-the-job training, they are having a more difficult time adjusting to workplace norms and right-sizing their expectations than their predecessors. But, as Gen Alpha closes in behind them, it’s time for Gen Z to join in.

Perhaps soft skills are more important than hard skills

Soft skills were not always widely used. However, amorphous soft skills such as emotional awareness and the ability to connect are becoming increasingly valuable. 

Related link: Hard Skills: How to Include Them on Your Resume

What makes work a human experience are the more social skills—how to approve emails to suppliers, how to speak with superiors, and more. Furthermore, because socialization styles vary widely, what suits one person may come across as fake to another. The uniqueness of soft skills can be what makes them both difficult to acquire and vital.

According to a 2022 LinkedIn survey, 61% of employees stated that soft skills are equally as crucial in the workplace as hard skills. 

According to Linda Jingfang Cai, VP of talent development at LinkedIn, soft skills are “the currency of the future workplace,” and any business run by individuals who don’t value connection and empathy will suffer. This is particularly true as AI becomes more and more integrated into the workforce, posing a threat to gradually replace all rote, repetitive tasks with AI, leaving only creative, interpersonal skills to be performed by humans. Consider discernment, collaboration, and articulate a vision, even one for the subsequent stage of A.I.

According to a Harris Poll, 55% of Gen Z workers claimed that they are afraid to ask “dumb questions” because they have not received enough interpersonal training, and 59% claimed they are hesitant to ask for assistance with soft skills. They would also have a committed mentor and a friend with the same skill set on whom to lean and ask questions.

Even better, if they had to come into the office, they would have more chances to pick up knowledge by osmosis.

Source: Fortune


Hanis Izzatul, is a digital writer who writes about careers, lifestyle, and current trending content to engage Malay readers, informing them about the latest trends happening around. Hanis also are into arts, music, film, and gigs.

Reach me at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *