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1 in 5 Gen Zers haven’t spoken to colleagues over 50, unveiling a Gen Z communication gap

Generational inequalities are becoming more noticeable in the quickly changing workplace, particularly between Gen Z employees and their elder counterparts. Recent data from LinkedIn indicates that there appears to be a communication gap between age groups, which may be impeding prospects for job progression, especially for younger people. This blog article explores the main conclusions from LinkedIn’s study, including the difficulties and suggestions for overcoming the generational gap in the workplace.

Gen Z’s hesitation in conversing with older colleagues

The LinkedIn research reveals a startling communication gap within the workplace: 20% of Gen Z workers have not engaged in direct conversation with colleagues over 50 years old in the past year. This reticence extends to general interactions with other generations, with Gen Zers showing the least confidence in such interactions. Compared to the overall British workforce, where only 17% express uncertainty about approaching colleagues of different age groups, the hesitation among Gen Zers is notably higher.

The root of the problem: A lack of relatable topics

One potential explanation for this communication gap, as highlighted by a Harris Poll for Fortune, is the difference in life stages. Many Gen Zers, without the common conversational anchors of spouses, pets, or children, find it challenging to connect with older colleagues who may have these shared experiences. This disconnect not only hampers casual conversation but could also be detrimental to Gen Z’s career prospects, as building relationships with management has been shown to correlate with career advancement.

Gen Z’s call for intergenerational collaboration

Despite recognizing the benefits of communicating with their wider team for productivity and learning, a significant 64% of Gen Z workers are looking to their companies to facilitate intergenerational collaboration. This expectation points to a larger issue: the need for workplace cultures that actively promote and support communication across different age groups.

Encouraging older generations to initiate conversations

Gen Z is not the only generation that has to do the heavy lifting to close the gap. According to a survey by LinkedIn, older professionals—baby boomers and Gen Xers in particular—are essential at starting discussions. It is evident that proactive interaction is necessary, as 74% of professionals see the opportunity to learn from other age groups, and 40% of those over 55 have not spoken to a Gen Z colleague in the previous year.

Solutions and strategies: Fostering connection across generations

Reverse mentoring: A path to mutual understanding

Charlotte Davies, a career consultant at LinkedIn, suggests reverse mentoring as a useful tactic for overcoming generational gaps. This methodology not only promotes the sharing of knowledge but also aids in comprehending the distinct viewpoints and life experiences of various age groups. Mentoring allows younger and senior employees to learn about one another’s lives, dispelling stereotypes and fostering a more positive work environment.

The power of active listening

Another essential tactic for bridging generational gaps is active listening. Through authentic interactions with coworkers of varying ages, staff members can steer clear of presumptions, establish credibility, and capitalize on varied backgrounds for shared advantages. This strategy places a strong emphasis on the need of transparency and empathy in creating a cooperative and welcoming work atmosphere.


The results of LinkedIn’s study underscore the significance of intergenerational communication and comprehension. It is possible for both younger and older employees to contribute to a more dynamic, inclusive, and productive workplace by addressing the issues and putting tactics like reverse mentoring and active listening into practice. Accepting generational diversity will be crucial for both individual career advancement and corporate success as the workforce changes.