No One Wants To Work, Young People Are Lazy


“No one wants to work these days,” they say. If I rolled my eyes any harder, I could go bowling with them, but before I even make a start on this, I want to make it clear that this post is based on my own experience and the experience of those around me. It does not mean that this applies to every person and/or business.

I’m fortunate enough to be a 22-year-old in 2022 that’s in a well-paid, full-time, permanent job role. However, if you’d told me 6 months ago that this is where I’d be, I would’ve laughed with tears in my eyes.

We’ve all seen and heard businesses and managers complaining that no one wants to work these days, and back in their day there were no complaints, people just got on with it. Yes, Karen, that’s also why half of your generation are living with pent-up trauma.

I Do Want To Work

The truth of it is that people do want to work. In fact, 75% of young people say work is important to their lives. Before I landed this position, I applied for around 150 jobs in the space of around three months. Out of those 150 applications, I attended 5 interviews. Of those 5 interviews, 3 people got back to me. There was 1 nicely worded rejection as they had found someone more experienced; that’s fine, fair enough. I also got 2 job offers. 

Now you might be thinking, well that’s great, good for you! I rejected them both. One of the offers was from a manager who wouldn’t stop staring at my breasts during the interview. Seriously. I locked eyes with him and he still lowered his gaze. The other offer was from a manager who huffed when I asked him about the pay. It’s not that no one wants to work, it’s that we want compensation for our time. He replied, “Well, I suppose I can do £9.50.” Yes, I should think so too, considering that is the minimum wage. He then proudly showed me his cupboards, which he explained he had to keep locked, as one of the employees tends to steal things from there, so now everyone has to ask him to retrieve anything they may want from this cupboard. So, yes, I turned 2 jobs down.

A young person at work talking to a senior member of staff.
Portrait of young Indian female client or candidate sitting at table, talking to senior male manager and smiling in office. Job interview or consultancy concept

No One Wants To Work For Pennies

The first problem with businesses now is they don’t want to pay people what they’re worth. They will advertise an entry-level job, with a salary just above minimum wage, and ask for a degree and 5 years of experience. If that’s really the requirement, it’s not an entry-level job. The reality now is that when you’re looking to start your career, unless you have a few years of experience, which you wouldn’t have if you’re looking to start your career, you probably won’t get anything in the first few months. Employers now are not willing to train people and invest in them, despite the fact that a tremendous 88% of people say they would engage in learning and development programs. Employers want someone fully trained with experience, without having to pay for it.

Employees are an investment; you reap what you sow. If you invest time and money into them, the outcome will greatly benefit you. Talk to them, ask if there is anything they need support with, offer training courses and opportunities, listen to their concerns about the workplace, grant them a raise, offer some gratitude and praise every now and again. It’s amazing how much people can be motivated by feeling valued. By doing these things and offering things like paid sick days and wellbeing checkups, productivity in the workplace will increase substantially. Your employees are people too, treat them as such, because this is the bare minimum for Gen Z.

A chart about employee wellbeing.

Work On Your Terms

The second problem is flexibility. The idea of a 9 to 5 office job is so incredibly outdated. Yes, it’s still preferable to some people, and those people should be given the opportunity to work in that space if they please. On the flip side, those who don’t benefit from it should be given the opportunity to work flexibly. The COVID-19 pandemic was a huge eye-opener for the majority of people, especially Gen Z, and the abundant benefits of working remotely are things people are not willing to give up. In fact, nearly ¾ of people say the flexibility of work location is important, and 83% desire hours that complement their lives.

Work-life balance is becoming increasingly important to the younger generations – they’re simply not willing to follow in the footsteps of the older generations. Gone are the days of answering emails at 9 pm and working a 12-hour day on a Saturday. No one wants to work that way. Gen Z has witnessed the baby boomers burn out, and fall asleep at midday on a Sunday due to exhaustion from working extra hours. That will not be us. Your job should not dictate your entire life, and Gen Z is starting to catch on to this. If there are repeated occasions where you require the employee to work overtime at any point in the week, you should either talk to them about amending their contract and raising their wage, or be prepared for them to leave.

A man working from home with a young child.

So What Now?

Employers – you need to step up to the plate. 56% of 18-24 year-olds said they would quit a job that prevented them from enjoying their lives. Now is not the time to tighten the reigns. Pay people their worth, offer the training, consider hybrid roles. We refuse to settle. Gen Z is the future of your company; adapt to the world we’re living in. Stop claiming people don’t want to work if you’re not providing ample opportunity.