The Job Market Melee | Is the Youth of Today Entitled, or Are Employers Unforgiving?


The youth of today seem to be all-consumed with conversations regarding the job market, money making, careers and financial stability. With a deluge of wisdom at their fingertips, and libraries of self-help books and motivational podcasts in their phones, there is more career-guiding information available online than ever before. 

We have a whole cohort of youth who arguably have a greater worldly insight than previous generations, and are exposed to the intimate reflections and reviews of those who have tested the waters before. This cohort should be prepped to jump into the career pool. But is this pool welcoming them with welcome arms, and does being well-versed in the backstories of others actually ensure you will float?

The job landscape today is anything but forgiving. Social media is aglow with outspoken voices who are challenging the goliaths of traditional industries, and questioning hiring practices and unreasonable expectations. From leveraging interview processes as a means of free work, to job descriptions that list entry level roles with mandatory experience, the process seems to be awash with unfair gambits.

But is the mumbling and grumbling from a plucky cohort of Gen-Zs warranted? Are the youth of today really at a disadvantage, or rather are they the product of their own downfall? Armed with the wealth of knowledge and interchange offered by the media of today, are our youth perhaps becoming too outspoken and too entitled in the workplace? Are powerful stories of self-autonomy and luck convincing young people they are owed something, and perpetuating unfounded whines of “unfairness”? The job market debate is certainly murky, but also aggressively charged. 

There certainly seems to be a dramatic discordance in how current employers view freshly schooled and inexperienced employees. There is a current trend encouraging employers to explore the unique benefits of hiring fresh faces; this includes alerting them to the fact that this is a generation that has battled through education disruption brought about by COVID. At the same time, during the virus outbreak there was an excess of experienced employees out of work, and it became easier for companies to find talent who were already trained. 

With the economy still pressurized from the COVID overhang, many companies have taken up strategies to improve efficiencies and cut costs, resulting in hiring freezes, and a lack of accessible job opportunities for the younger generation. The pandemic in its entirety completely skewed the way we as a society view work. Many jobs are no longer deemed necessary, many jobs have ceased to exist, and many jobs are being overtaken and streamlined by technology. The job market has unquestionably changed, but has it been downsized?

It is true that Gen-Z of today have an entirely different skill set to the twenty-something-year olds of before. We now have a completely technology literate youth who have grown up alongside the boom of the digital age – these are applicants who have been scrolling, tapping, and experimenting with digital interconnectivity since childhood. Perhaps over time, as our society and concept of work rebalances itself after the tumult of Covid, the opportunities will become more aligned with the applicants, and we will return to a less vicious career pool that lends itself to the capabilities of the generation at hand. As working practices become more isolated and insular with the interconnectivity offered by new tech, what entry level candidates lack in experience, personal connection, and historic relationships, will be counterbalanced by their understanding of the digital world.

For now, there is still an iron gate of employers who are very reluctant to employ virgin workers. Perhaps too wrapped up in stereotypes of the past, and carrying a sense of entitlement themselves, many white collar officers are particularly hard to permeate unless you fulfill a very specific, and somewhat outdated, ticklist. 

Let’s not forget that young workers are being asked to subject themselves to the drudgery of the standardized and merciless corporate ladder, but no longer have the guarantee that this path of work will allow them to rent an apartment or build their life comfortably. The appeal and motivation to become part of this spinning cog is dramatically lessened when current inflation and living costs mean the financial benefit is insignificant. This very fact has unsurprisingly incited a growing cynicism amongst young people and the general concept of office work.

Yet, cynicism, and an awareness of this post-Covid situation, is very different from entitlement or outspokenness. Graduates and young professionals find themselves in an atypical period with regards to working dynamics. They do not deserve to be labeled as difficult to deal with. They do not deserve to be labeled as a less rigorous generation of workers.

At the same time, today’s social culture can sometimes cinematize overnight success, and forget to contextualize impressive career stories. It is understandably easy for social media users to develop a perfected view of working life that is distributed into the public domain by a small snippet of society, and a view that is quite dissident from practical reality of many.

Written by Hebe Street from GLITCH Magazine


Want to work with us?