Employers Don’t Think Much of Millennials’ Work Ethic

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Want a job? Don’t blow off a job interview.

That may sound like common sense if you’re looking for a job. But, according to The Associated Press, it’s one of several complaints employers have about job applicants, particularly millennial job seekers, and it’s leading bosses to an unfortunate conclusion:

The job applicant pool is full of unskilled, unreliable slackers. Many of the complaints are about younger workers, but human resources consultants say it’s an issue across the age spectrum and pay scale.

Brian Schutt, owner of Homesense Heating in Indianapolis, said young people (ages 25 and under) have a different work ethic. “They just want to play and have fun and smoke,” Schutt told AP.

Schutt’s beliefs about the millennial generation and its work ethic (or lack thereof) are shared by a large number of employers across the country. In a 2013 survey of 1,200 employers by St. Louis Community College, more than 56 percent cited potential employees’ work ethic as a major issue, the AP said.

According to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Joel Daas, a manager at staffing agency Manpower Inc. in Texas, said young applicants’ attire can also pose a problem.

“The most common faux pas are flip-flops, wearing hats backward or baggy pants,” Daas said. “They think when they come to us that they don’t need to dress appropriately because we’re a job agency and not the actual employer.”

Although bosses point their finger at young job applicants for their difficulty filling job openings, job seekers tell a different story, AP says.

Employers may be partly to blame for applicants’ uncaring attitudes, says James McCoy, a vice president at the staffing company Manpower. Many human resources or hiring managers never acknowledge applications. Candidates are following their example, McCoy says.

Three-quarters of candidates surveyed last year said they never heard back from an employer after applying for a position, according to job search company CareerBuilder. Sixty percent said they went on interviews but weren’t informed afterward they hadn’t gotten the job.

Are you a millennial job seeker or an employer with experience hiring millennial employees? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

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  • mona

    Yes, all these employers would rather continue to complain about younger
    generations and let jobs go unfilled, when they could hire older
    workers. Age discrimination is
    rampant with many job listings not even trying to hide that only under 30
    need apply. Look, the choice is either cheap but young, inexperienced,
    no work ethic; or more expensive older workers who are experienced and
    do have work ethic. Business doesn’t want to deal with the reality
    that you get what you pay for.

  • Michael Smiley Gawthrop

    You would be amazed how many people don’t know that. I have friends who called me crazy for taking an $8.50 an hour graveyard shift customer service position after I graduated… after all, I could do so much better with a degree… yeah, but that doesn’t mean I can’t work while I’m looking for something better, and as it turned out, that $8.50 an hour job directly lead to a promotion to an internship at $10 an hour that allowed me to find a job at $14. Still not that great of a salary, but that is $14 an hour more than the people still holding out for one of those good jobs that they are “owed” for having completed college.

  • cybrarian_ca

    News to the applicants complaining that the employers weren’t nice to them – they don’t have to be. They’re the ones with the paycheck. Is it good etiquette? Of course not. And yes, as an employer myself, I do tell interviewees when they didn’t get the job. But almost no one acknowledges applications, unless it’s automated. I work for a large college system. For all but the most specialized positions, we may get between 150-2000 applicants. No way do we have time to acknowledge them all, especially from applicants who clearly didn’t read the ad, and are applying for a “customer service” position when we advertised for an English professor with a PhD in rhetoric, or a plumber, or a science librarian.

  • Matt M.

    Companies need to look within and understand that they share an equal responsibility in this observation about the millennial generation and its work ethic.
    In general companies don’t have worker ethics because of their demand for low wages and a total lack of respect for good employees when they have them. Their loyalty is to themselves so they can maintain their standard of living irrespectable of their employees. It’s called greed and greed fanned the flames of the crash of 2008.
    Disagree if you may only to show that you are no worse than the people whom contributed to the crash of 2008.