Age bias alert: New research finds 1 in 3 hiring managers say it’s not worth the trouble to hire high-maintenance Gen Z candidates

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Public Relations

Discrimination in its many forms is one of mankind’s most tragic inherent evils. A huge number of people around the world have experienced it in the workplace and otherwise, and now we can add a new sector to the list—Gen Z. Thanks to the keenly informed and Covid-ravaged world they came of age in, this brash group has become known for its heightened expectations at work, and for being a higher-maintenance bunch than managers are used to. And now, new research from resume and career resource ResumeBuilder.com reveals the dark truth—about one-third of 1,000 hiring managers surveyed feel like Gen Z isn‘t worth the trouble, and that it’s beneficial to avoid hiring them.

The firm’s new report, based on results of a survey taken by Pollfish, explores the prevalence of ageism in the workplace in 2024. The report also shares insight into hiring managers’ apprehensions regarding the employment of Gen Z, as well as senior workers, who are more accustomed to age bias in hiring practices.  

age bias

Based on survey findings, 42 percent of hiring managers take into account applicants’ ages when reviewing resumes. This group of hiring managers determines an applicant’s age range by examining the candidate’s years of experience, graduation year, and photo. While 60 percent of respondents say applicants should “always” indicate their graduation year on their resume, 41 percent believe candidates “sometimes shouldn’t” or “never should” reveal this information. 

age bias

“By scrutinizing education and work history timelines, employers may inadvertently introduce bias based on age, rather than focusing on the candidate’s qualifications and suitability for the role,” said Stacie Haller, Resume Builder’s chief career advisor, in a news release. “Ageism remains a prevalent issue in the workforce, affecting individuals both early and later in their careers. Regrettably, many hiring managers continue to rely on age as a determining factor in their recruitment decisions. This practice presents a significant disadvantage, as one’s age should never dictate their potential for success in a role, provided they possess the requisite skills and experience.”

age bias

More than a third (36 percent) of hiring managers surveyed admit to having age bias against Gen Z applicants. Among this subset, 77 percent express concerns about their lack of experience, 63 percent about their propensity to change jobs frequently, and 58 percent about their perceived unprofessional attitude. Similarly, 34 percent of respondents admit to having age bias against senior candidates. Of this group, 74 percent raise concerns about their likelihood of retirement, 64 percent about their potential health issues, and 48 percent about their lack of experience with technology. 

age bias

Read the full report here.

This survey was commissioned by ResumeBuilder.com and conducted online by Pollfish. It launched on March 21, 2024, and 1,000 hiring managers completed the full survey. To qualify for the survey, all participants had to be older than 25, have a salary of more than $50,000, and work for a company with over 11 employees. 

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter