Brace for Impact!

It’s high time that corporates, businesses, and even government organizations are revamped to interest, attract and retain the newer generation of the workforce.

Ugen Gautam

As a 36-year-old working professional, I belong to a unique generation where I had an ‘analog childhood’ and I am now enjoying a ‘digital adulthood’. Alas, I am a lifelong member of the infamous Millennials generation! We belong to a demographic cohort that has been labeled narcissistic, lazy, and indecisive (New York Times, 2014). So much so, we were looked upon as one of the most vulnerable generations that lacked an utter sense of direction and traditional work ethics/values. Hitherto our generation came of age, the condemnation was off the charts. Now that the people from Gen Z have started joining the workforce, it gives me a sense of relief to have passed on the baton of scrutiny to the newbies. It has been a few years that I have been observing this new generation at work. And, based on my observation, I can relate to my previous generations more than I can empathize with Gen Z.

Given my experience and age, I don’t deny that I can be a bit prejudiced on this topic. But I strongly feel there is a stark difference in the way our generation approached career vis-à-vis what I have been witnessing from Gen Z. I vividly remember my first interview at a bank. It was quite an experience. The sensory cues consisted of candidates with sharply ironed clothes, greasily combed hairs, the smell of cheap perfumes, and waiting rooms filled with candidates looking at each other intensely; the entire hiring process felt like a festival. More than that I could feel the sheer sincerity in the eyes of the candidates. I would also consider myself sincere when it came to appearing for an interview. I used to reach the interviewer’s office at least half an hour earlier just to make sure that I wouldn’t miss even by a second. It was not only about making an impression; anything less could have led to outright rejection. Moreover, the extra half an hour would give me a buffer period to manage all preparatory rituals beforehand. My cover letters would have been a result of multiple iterations and corrections. I have been very particular about all possible grammatical errors or typos to an extent that I feared the employers would reject my application solely based on that.

Fast forward to 2022, I feel now interviews have become a frequent but mundane affair. The apparent high turnover at workplaces could be a culprit; which in itself is a victim of the gap in selection criteria vs. expectations from the newer workforce. On any given day, it’s highly likely that an interview may be happening in one of the rooms of your office. The outcome: the hiring managers look less excited; the candidates appear nonchalant. Irrespective of the reasons, the very passion seems to have evaporated on either side of the aisle. On top of that, the kind of ill-prepared cover letters and resumes you receive will only boggle your mind, and leave you wondering whether you may have been too harsh on yourself during your career exploration. Surprisingly, signing in late for interviews has been normalized. In some cases, candidates go AWOL on the day of the interview, and even worse, they are unapologetic about it. The sheer lack of comprehension of the repercussions of such behavior is astonishing.

By and large, it may be an indication of changing dynamics in the mindset of the newer generation, thereby demanding newer approaches to evaluating candidates. But still, the scarier part is the display of indifference from young candidates. There are obvious exceptions; nonetheless, it becomes alarming when there is an overall paradigm shift.

Irrespective, the intent here is not to point fingers at a particular group of people but rather to express the grave concern I carry as a good samaritan for the overall well-being of all parties. The gravity of it may be unfathomable to some. But I do feel Gen Z people are now being misunderstood as we Millenials once were; me being one of the culprits, mea culpa. Alternately, I also feel that it has partly to do with the younger generation abandoning traditional values such as patience, the predefined career ladder, chain of command, grit, discipline, manners, etc.

There might be a lot of reasons to explain the change in overall expectations vs. attitude of the upcoming workforce. However, I would like to attribute the stoic approach to the career of Gen Z to two major points:

Mushrooming of Alternate Career Paths and Revenue Sources: The level of income the youngsters are generating by simply posting content on YouTube, Tiktok and other social media platforms is astounding. In addition to the increasing online job opportunities, now, a Gen Z can purely survive by existing on an online platform. Selling skills and knowledge has never been this easy. Moreover, avenues of new work opportunities such as working as a freelance ride provider also have introduced new work models in society. These prevalent alternate sources of income not only dilute the charm of a full-time career but also are establishing unbearable expectations on the employment seeker. Why would a Youtuber be interested in working for a bare minimum salary whereby s/he could earn significantly higher by following their passion that also with a desirable work-life balance? It is a rhetorical question to mull over.

Denial of FIFO Approach to Career Growth: Like it or not, new graduates joining the job market are highly ambitious, thus, leading to an utter disregard of the prescribed success formula. The norm of waiting for your time and turn for the expected growth has been transgressed. This is pretty evident in the frequency of job hops that we are currently witnessing in the job market. Primarily, it is being instigated by the unsatiated desire of the newer generation for faster career growth. This can also be a leading factor in the increased dissatisfaction seen in the full-time career and thus, the stoic approach to the career.

I personally feel that the changing dynamics in the job market could be catastrophic, if not prepared for, leading to an HR crisis. However, the big question remains “what do you do about it?” As a potential employer, do you hold on to your traditional HR practices, or do you wait for the newer generation to come of age as the majority of Millennials did? Should there be any form of intervention from the government? Could the same old measuring rod be used to evaluate the new generation? We have little to no answer to these questions. As a firm believer in nature taking its course, I feel that we will be able to adapt and conquer any problem that may arise. However, I also believe that Employers should start rethinking their stances on HR Management.

It’s high time that corporates, businesses, and even government organizations are revamped to interest, attract and retain the newer generation of the workforce. Merely planning a good remuneration package might not suffice let alone motivate the upcoming generations. Now, more than ever, employers need to realign their vision, recalibrate their HR system, and redesign their modus operandi; and or brace for impact!

Gautam is General Manager at Neo Assure Pvt. Ltd. He can be reached at

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