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Disconnect Between Gen Z Workers and Corporate America Getting Worse, Says Future of Work Expert

With AI revolution underway with more human workers losing jobs to machines, younger employees have lost trust in capitalism and corporate leaders.

Los Angeles (January 27, 2023): A noted future of work expert says that trends such as the Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting and increased demand for remote or hybrid work options are symptomatic of the huge disconnect between senior corporate leadership and younger workers, particularly those from Generation Z. And this disconnect has only grown worse due to the huge number of layoffs in the tech sector and given ongoing concerns about a major recession.

“Roughly 60 percent of Gen Z workers are choosing to launch their own businesses or work in the gig economy rather than secure a full-time position with an established organization,” said Adam Gefkovicz, co-founder and co-CEO of talent recruiting platform Untapped, who himself turned down a prestigious full-time role at LinkedIn when he graduated from college five years ago to launch his own company instead. “That tells us that younger workers don’t believe that the corporate sector shares the same values as they do and have so little trust in corporate leaders that they would rather take on the riskier proposition of working for themselves.”

Indeed, a recent poll found that 43 percent of Millennials and Zoomers hold negative views of capitalism, compared to 32 percent for Gen X and 24 percent for Baby Boomers. Such beliefs are antithetical to most senior U.S. corporate leaders for whom increased profits or rising stock prices are the holy grail.

“Recently social media was all abuzz about a WSJ story that said today’s workers were less ambitious than older generations. There were lots of stories and posts about how Millennials and Zoomers are lazy or entitled. What most corporate managers aren’t getting is that it is not that young workers lack ambition—they are just ambitious about things other than their careers,” Gefkovicz said. “They want to have more time for volunteer or community work such as combating climate or fighting for social justice. Or they are interested in building stronger relationships with family members or friends, which require care and nurturing. Working 70 or 80 hours a week for a corporation doesn’t help them achieve these bigger goals.”

Gefkovicz added that the situation is further compounded by the massive number of layoffs taking place in the tech sector. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced the layoff of 10,000 workers while Google laid off 12,000 on January 20. Spotify and Amazon also laid off workers earlier this month on top of the thousands laid off at the end of 2022. Studies show most tech workers land a new position in about three months. But things may be different this time, as depending on their skill set, workers may discover that certain positions in tech, as is the case in dozens of other sectors, have permanently disappeared thanks to the coming AI revolution. While ultimately AI technologies are projected to create more jobs than are lost, according to the World Economic Forum, by 2025, as many as 85 million jobs will be displaced, and assigned work tasks will be divided equally between humans and machines.

“Zoomers are digital natives, so much so that one recent study found that 91% of them factor in what technologies a company deploys when making the decision about where to work. At the same time if you look around the office and the person you used to write marketing copy with has now been replaced by a GPT-3 program, it’s hard not to question if that organization cares about the long-term growth and success of its employees,” Gefkovicz said.“While there is no doubt that AI will allow society to resolve some extremely complex issues, it also raises tough questions about the value of human beings in relation to the nature of work, creativity and the human experience. We need to be having such conversations now and with workers of all generations if we are going to be able to successfully negotiate this next phase in the evolution of work.”

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