6 Obstacles 2024 Gen Z Graduates Face In The Job Market

The class of 2024 represents a pivotal moment for Generation Z (born 1997-2007), with millions of students set to join the workforce and become a significant part of the labor force. As companies navigate this transition, some business leaders advocate reshaping traditional work practices to create environments where Gen Z can thrive. After five years of Gen Z's influence on the workplace, the new graduates face several obstacles, from AI taking over new jobs to overcoming earlier criticisms about their perceived difficulty to work with.

I spoke with several business leaders who believe Gen Z can expect to encounter six key hurdles as they enter the workforce:

1. Competition with AI: Gen Z's biggest competitor is generative AI. Companies are increasingly using AI to automate tedious tasks that new hires would have previously done to gain experience. However, experts advise Gen Z to leverage AI to enhance their own capabilities, such as honing data analysis and programming skills.

2. Gen Z Reputation: There have been negative perceptions about Gen Z's work ethic and attitude in the workplace. However, some leaders appreciate that Gen Z tends to bring their full selves to work and prioritize purpose-driven organizations that engage with the community. Executives should avoid stereotypes and get to know Gen Z as individuals.

3. Economic Uncertainties: Gen Z graduates are facing a shaky job market, ongoing inflation, and higher rates of debt due to the cost-of-living crisis. This has led to stress and concerns about making ends meet, despite their confidence in finding employment.

4. Fewer Entry-Level Jobs: Companies are planning to hire fewer new graduates, as AI is taking over some entry-level roles. This has led to a drop in the positive outlook among entry-level workers.

5. Flexibility Expectations: Gen Z has grown up with technology that has created an "anywhere, anytime" mindset. They expect the same level of ease and flexibility in the workplace, and if these expectations are not met, it may lead to declining creativity, productivity, and loyalty.

6. Outdated, Inefficient Systems: Gen Z, accustomed to cutting-edge consumer technologies, may find the outdated and cumbersome systems in many workplaces significantly unmet their expectations for a fluid and efficient work environment.

As Gen Z enters the workforce, companies will need to adapt to their unique needs and expectations to create an environment where they can thrive. 

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