(NewsNation) — The “ghost” has made its way into the workforce, and employers aren’t happy. The concept itself is not new. In the dating world, the term “ghost” has long been used to describe a romantic suitor who abruptly cuts off contact and communication with the other party, usually out of the blue.
But in 2019, an Indeed survey found that 83% of employers had experienced applicants disappear before their start date. And 69% said work-related ghosting, in general, started two years earlier. COVID-19 has caused the job market to continually change, with many experts saying that it is the employees who now have the upper hand in labor negotiations.
“The incidence of ghost calling, of accepting offers and then saying they’ll start and not showing up, is at a record high,” Jonas Prising, president and CEO of the ManpowerGroup Inc. staffing agency, told the Wall Street Journal.
Manufacturing, restaurant, airline and cleaning jobs are reportedly seeing an increase in job seekers who accept positions and then disappear just before they start.
NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield spoke with Rob Bralow, the owner of BLVD Wine Bar in New York City, who has been scammed multiple times by would-be applicants.
Bralow says that 90% of the applicants he reviewed didn’t even show up for their interview.
“Getting an interview is not really a difficult proposition. The real problem is that once you have the interview, you decide to go. And if they’re not willing to go do that, then there’s really no next step. And it really doesn’t matter what I’m hiring for. Not specifically for servers, not specifically for dishwashers or chefs. It’s all the way to management. And it’s fascinating.”
The WSJ reports that the rise in absences “might just be an expression of job seekers being much more confident in their ability to find work,” according to Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed.
“Banfield” spoke to a panel of Gen Z job seekers to get their thoughts.
“I definitely think it’s a common stereotype (laziness) given to a lot of Gen Z,” said Lillian Zhang, a recent graduate. But I don’t think that’s true. There is something much deeper than that, I feel. There are so many options for students and Gen Z to choose from, that I think when it comes to seeing all these options laid out in front of them, some of them may feel too overwhelmed.”
Zhang also says that people her age prioritize different things like mental well-being, good company culture, paid time off, and fair treatment.
Zayne Violet, who has been cheated by an employer, also spoke out on the matter.
Violet says that she, personally, would never ghost an employer, but she can understand why her generation would.
“I think part of it is constantly having a phone in front of our face. That’s what we were raised on. And I do think it creates a bit of a discrepancy between wanting to be confrontational and wanting to do things in person. It’s very awkward, because it’s easier to be direct on the screen with each other, rather than directly in front of another person,” said Violet.
It may seem careless, lazy, or disinterested, but clinical psychologist Dr. John Duffy says that younger people are simply more demanding about their needs in the workplace.
“The pandemic has only exacerbated that, where they realize, ‘Oh, we don’t have to work the number of hours our parents worked at their first jobs to be efficient,'” Dr. Duffy said on “Banfield.”
Duffy also said there is an anxiety more prevalent in younger people that needs to be overcome “to just get them into the space where they learn how competent and resilient they really are.”
Therapist Darby Fox says it’s no surprise that mental health awareness ranks high among younger people when it comes to priority.
“We have created an environment where it is okay to say that I have anxiety or that I might be depressed. And I think that’s a really important result, if you will, of COVID, a positive result,” Fox said.
Deutsche Bank has warned its members of a “major recession” looming soon in the United States amid rising interest rates and inflation hitting consumers in the United States hard.
Is Generation Z ready for a recession? A stellar panel of professional experts also joined NewsNation’s “Banfield” to offer insights.
“I think there’s a kind of ‘kid in the candy store’ kind of confidence that job seekers get, and they don’t always make good decisions,” said Julie Bauke, chief career strategist at The Bauke Group.
Paul McDonald, the senior CEO of Robert Half, says there may be too many options for job seekers in this market.
Hiring gains have been surprisingly consistent in the face of the worst inflation in four decades, with employers adding at least 400,000 jobs for 12 straight months.
McDonald also said that it’s not just Gen-Z who act this way. It goes through all generations.
“So with all those openings, confidence is too high. And they’re making decisions early on to try to find a job, get a job. They’re all excited without doing enough research, without looking for connections, if it’s a good cultural fit for them. And, you know, looking at the job description, am I really a good fit?