The Important Job Skills That Most Young Workers Lack

Due to remote and hybrid work models, some young workers lack job skills such as critical thinking, interpersonal communication skills, and adaptability.

By Wendy Hernandez | Published

Job skills

As the digitally savvy Gen Z generation enters the workforce, they bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. However, these young workers, born between 1997 and 2012, often face challenges in developing essential job skills that can propel their careers forward.

According to a recent BBC report, experts worry that early-career workers might miss out on vital workplace experiences amid the rise of remote and hybrid work. Indeed, the lack of casual conversations and informal observations in virtual environments could leave them struggling to learn essential behavioral cues and job skills for collaboration and networking.

So, what job skills does this younger generation lack, and how can they fix them?

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills

Gen Z’s upbringing in the digital age has inadvertently impacted their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Accustomed to instant gratification and digital dependency, they may need help with patience, persistence, and self-reflection.

To address this issue, employers and educators should encourage Gen Z workers to think independently and provide opportunities for hands-on learning experiences, such as internships and job rotations. 

By fostering a culture of curiosity and independent problem-solving, Gen Z workers can confidently develop the job skills needed to tackle real-world challenges.

Interpersonal Communication Skills

Gen Z workers often need to improve their interpersonal communication skills. The prevalence of digital communication in their lives has led to fewer face-to-face interactions, making it harder for them to build strong interpersonal relationships in the workplace.

“It’s particularly focused on communication,” said Helen Hughes, an associate professor at Leeds University Business School in the UK, in an interview with the BBC. “It involves understanding norms, values, and etiquette. For instance, knowing who to call, how to contact them, and recognizing if some people are off-limits.”

To help Gen Z employees improve their communication abilities, employers should prioritize in-person communication and provide training workshops on active listening, empathy, and conflict resolution. By offering opportunities for skill development and emphasizing the importance of effective communication, Gen Z workers can learn to excel in collaborative work environments.

Furthermore, if this younger generation wants to take a more proactive approach and mitigate their lack of critical interpersonal skills, Gen Z workers can take several steps of their own accord by joining social and networking clubs and organizations outside of work. 

For example, organizations like Toastmasters, offer people of all ages and backgrounds a supportive environment to improve communication and leadership skills, in addition to building confidence, networking, and developing professionally through taking on roles within their club.

Adaptability and Resilience

Adaptability and resilience are crucial for success in today’s rapidly changing job market. However, many Gen Z workers have had limited exposure to challenges and setbacks due to overprotective parenting. This lack of experience can make it difficult for them to cope with failure and adapt to new situations.

To cultivate adaptability and resilience, employers should foster a growth mindset and create a workplace culture that embraces learning from mistakes. By encouraging Gen Z workers to view setbacks as opportunities for growth, they can develop the skills needed to persevere and thrive in any situation.

Final Thoughts: Cultivating Jobs Skills for Young Workers

Employers and educators must join forces to create opportunities for skill development and cultivate an environment that nurtures growth. 

As we address the gaps in critical thinking, interpersonal communication, and adaptability among Gen Z workers, their success in the modern workplace becomes inevitable.