Recent research has shined a light on the challenges faced by businesses looking to engage Gen Z workers.  CYPHER Learning surveyed 794 workers aged 18-34 at companies with over 500 employees. It found seven in ten feel school, college, or university didn’t prepare them for entering the workplace. Moreover, 71% feel there are “a lot of unspoken rules” in the workplace that they need guidance and training on.

The research suggests a greater emphasis on soft skills could help younger workers to acclimatise and succeed in the workplace – especially in such areas as leadership, collaboration, time management, and critical thinking. Yet training is often lacking, according to the survey, leaving many feeling underappreciated and unsure of their roles:

  •   42% (rising to 47% of 18–24-year-olds) say they are told they need to improve yet are not provided with adequate training.
  •       42% say they are not being offered the training they need to do their role effectively.
  •       45% feel that their company’s inadequate training is hindering their career progress.

The results show that inadequate workplace learning, and development (L&D) programmes could not only cost younger workers the opportunity to develop but hurt employee retention. 72% of workers aged 18-34 see room for improvement in training received at work. And 84% say insufficient professional development has made them consider leaving the company, with 44% saying they are actively looking at their options.

Graham Glass, Founder and CEO of CYPHER Learning, commented:

Our future leaders must be empowered to succeed and thrive in the workplace. Yet a chasm exists between the skills learnt in schools and those needed to succeed in the workplace. While the topic of developing soft skills in schools is being discussed, it will take time to change the curriculum and set education on the right path.

Graham Glass, Founder and CEO of CYPHER Learning

Research shows that motivated and happy staff are 12% more productive, so investing in staff makes business sense – and given the UK is currently at the bottom of the productivity league tables, the need to increase productivity is an urgent problem.

The research suggests more personalised training can better support newer entrants to the workforce. Almost nine in ten (88%) of 18–34-year-olds say they would be ‘encouraged and motivated’ if they were offered training programmes specifically tailored to their individual needs and career aspirations.

This demand for personalised training would also help meet the increasingly diverse needs of the younger workforce. Almost a third (32%) of workers aged 18-34 self-identify as neurodivergent – a figure that rises to 38% for those under 24. Of these workers, 43% say the workplace learning they have received does not meet their needs.

Glass continues:

The survey results point to the clear need for organisations to provide just-in-time, just-for-me learning to empower employees, and in particular Gen Z workers, with the skills they need to develop their careers. As the shape of the workforce changes, and expectations of employees rise, delivering personalised learning is a must. And importantly, it is achievable. Organisations no longer need to be shackled by time and money constraints. With a new generation of AI-enabled L&D, personalisation at scale can be a reality.

Findings are detailed in CYPHER Learnings new report – From skills to success: L&D insights for the modern workforce.

Joanne Swann, Content Manager, WorkWellPro
Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.