Talented Gen Z graduates with tech skills are increasingly turning down lucrative jobs with the big tech firms of Silicon Valley, due to company ethics, according to the New York Times. This grad “techlash” is in response to the growing scepticism of younger generations that tech companies can be a force for good. Following multiple scandals involving gross mishandling of data, employee diversity, tax and lack of action on climate change, it is unsurprising that trust in tech companies to do good is languishing. Indeed, the share of Americans who believe that technology companies have a positive impact on society has dropped from 71% in 2015 to 50% in 2019, according to the Pew Research Center. On university campuses, students are beginning to show disillusionment for careers in major tech companies. At Stanford, the second-biggest feeder school for jobs in Silicon Valley, and Yale, students are no longer sure they’d go to work for Facebook or Google. Former recruiters for Facebook told CNBC that the acceptance rate for full-time engineering job offers at the company had dropped by as much as 40% in recent years.
For the last decade, jobs with the big tech firms have been attractive propositions for new grads with the right skills. They have topped the best employer lists across the board, with trendy offices and flexible working styles. Gen Z being a generation of “digital natives” demanding to work anywhere, any time, jobs with the tech giants seem like a perfect match. However, the anti-tech activism on US college campuses may be an indication that repeated scandals have had an impact. Facebook has slipped from first to 23rd place in two years according to Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work in the US. Even worse, Forbes places it 179th for new graduates. This adds weight to the argument that Gen Z want to work for companies with a purpose. Businesses of all industries must take this as a lesson that Gen Z want purposeful work that does social good.