Half of Gen Z workers claim they work better alone

Sep 13 2023 by Management-Issues Print This Article

Over a third of Gen Z professionals (37%) say they don’t enjoy working in a team setting, with almost half (49%) stating that they ‘work better alone’, according to a new survey by global recruitment firm Robert Walters.

The survey also found that these attitudes are already creating fallout the workplace, with more than six out of 10 (62%) of managers agreeing that the biggest impact of Gen Z entering the workforce is a decline in collaborative working.

Despite being hyper-proficient with technology, many managers say that they are unable to reap the benefits of their young workforce due to Gen Z’s poor interpersonal skills. Four out of 10 managers (41%) believe that Gen Zs lack adequate communication skills, and a fifth (21%) also think they lack critical thinking skills.

The findings highlight the challenges that companies face as they try to bring five generations together in a hybrid working world.

“Gen Z’s have the potential to revolutionise our ways of working and business practices, but workplaces risk standing still or going backward unless they understand how to bring the best out of this cohort,” said Chris Poole, Managing Director of Robert Walters.

“Every one of us has weaknesses in our professional skillset, and so it is unfair to focus on what ‘isn’t working’ with younger workers – what about their strengths?

“Young workers possess a unique set of skills and characteristics shaped by their upbringing and experiences. Understanding these strengths – and adapting to this – can ultimately lead to a more productive and successful workforce.”

Other Robert Walters research has found that intergenerational conflict is a key factor in employee turnover, with a quarter of workers stating that clashes with colleagues on ways of working is a contributing factor in them deciding to leave a job.

“Gen Z's ability to communicate effectively in virtual environments is valuable in today's increasingly remote and digital work settings,” Chris Poole added. “However it is apparent that in-person communication and team-working needs to be built upon if we are to get the very best out of a multi-generational workforce and help Gen Z professionals to fully thrive in the workplace.”