Young people in the workplace don’t have the skills to debate, disagree and work alongside people with different opinions, Channel 4‘s chief executive has said.
Speaking at the Royal Television Society’s Cambridge Convention, Alex Mahon said ‘particularly post-pandemic’ Gen Z youngsters ‘haven’t got the skills to discuss’ and ‘haven’t got the skills to disagree’.
She said this phenomenon, which was being seen in the workplace, was a ‘dangerous step change’.
The Channel 4 boss cited the time youngsters had spent ‘being out of colleges’ during the pandemic, meaning they had not been exposed as much to ‘people with a difference of opinion’.
Gen Z usually refers to people born between the middle to late 1990s and the early 2010s.
Ms Mahon told the Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention: ‘What we are seeing with young people who come into the workplace – Gen Z – particularly post pandemic – with this concentration of short form content [short videos on services like Tik Tok and YouTube] is they haven’t got the skills to debate things.
‘They haven’t got the skills to discuss, they haven’t got the skills to disagree and commit because they haven’t been raised, particularly with being out of colleges to have those kind of debates, to get to the point where you’ve got people with a difference of opinion to you and your happy to work alongside that and that is a really dangerous step change in my view that we are seeing.’
Last year Channel 4 carried out research which showed these youngsters are less tolerant of others’ views than their parents or grandparents.
The study found that young people could therefore be said to be ‘less liberal’ than their elders. The research branded this phenomenon as the ‘rise of the Young Illiberal Progressives’ or ‘Yips’.
During Ms Mahon’s appearance at the event she unveiled new research which showed that many ‘associate their short form social media consumption with feeling a lack of control’.
It was added: ‘When the algorithm is in charge, people say they feel emotionally out of control – the immediate dopamine-hit fades rapidly and they are left feeling empty.’
It added that it gave them a sense that their lives had been ‘encroached upon’.
The research said viewers in Britain felt ‘anxious about video overload’.
People watch over five hours per day ‘and the video day is lengthening’, Ms Mahon revealed, adding that ‘short-form viewing has piled on to long form viewing, and gaming has piled in on top of both’.