Gen Z Candidates Still Likely to Renege on Offers

We found that Gen Z candidates are still likely to back out of internship or job offers in today's market.

After going through the process of finding the ideal candidate for a position and supporting them through the interview and hiring process, the last thing recruitment teams want to do is hear that the candidate backed out the offer for another opportunity. Not only does this create more work for recruiters, but it costs the company more money in the long run. 

To get a sense for how internship and entry-level job candidates feel about reneging on offers in today’s market, we surveyed nearly 3,500 Gen Z students and new grads about their job searches, and compared it to data we collected in August 2022. Our data shows that Gen Z remains steadfast in their willingness to renege — despite changes in the labor market and waning confidence in landing a good internship or job this year. See below for more of what we’ve discovered: 

Gen Z’s attitudes toward reneges remain high

When we surveyed Gen Z heading into the Fall 2022 semester, we found that nearly three-fourths of entry-level candidates said they would rescind an offer if a ‘better’ one came along — even though the economy was taking a downturn and companies were beginning to institute hiring freezes and layoffs. This year, as we continue in this state of economic uncertainty (heading into the Spring semester), we found that the the number of candidates who said they would rescind a job hovered at just under 70% — signifying that, despite a minor decrease, a large chunk of Gen Z would still renege on an offer in today’s market.

Notably, when we compared data from these two points in time about Gen Z and their confidence in finding an internship or job, we saw a much more significant change in their mindsets. Specifically, we found that while in Fall 2022 15% of internship or job seekers said they were not confident in finding a good role this year, that number increased to 51% in our data heading into the Spring 2023 semester. 

That being said, it’s clear that despite losing confidence in their career search, Gen Z is still inclined to back out of an offer for one they find to be superior. The next section will detail what reasons would continue to motivate Gen Z to rescind an offer.  

Compensation and career fit remain top reasons for reneging

It’s not surprising that the economic downturn over the last six months has put compensation at the top of the priorities list for Gen Z candidates. And with rising costs of living and an ongoing economic downturn, financial stability remains a major concern for Gen Z. 

Our data shows that across both points in time, the most popular reason that Gen Z would renege on an offer is if another opportunity offers a higher salary, with slightly more candidates agreeing with this sentiment in 2023 (61% in Fall 2022 compared to 66% today).

Gen Z would renege over compensation or career fit

The second most popular reason for reneging across both data sets is career fit, with Gen Z admitting that they would rescind an offer if another opportunity better aligned with their long-term career goals. Notably, a larger share of Gen Zers in 2023 said they would renege if another position offered better work-life balance/flexibility (55%) than candidates in 2022 (48%). 

To avoid reneges, companies should offer competitive salaries and help candidates understand how their offer aligns with their career goals

Acknowledging that candidates remain unafraid to back out of their offers is critical for talent teams drafting or reevaluating their strategies to keep accepted candidates excited about their roles. To prevent reneges, talent teams should be sure to discuss salary expectations with candidates and aim to put their best offer forward, as well as discuss long-term career goals with candidates during the hiring process to ensure they align with the role or organization as a whole. It’s important to have those conversations throughout the hiring process so you can allow candidates time to weigh their options and make confident decisions. 

Despite a continuously murky economic climate keeping talent teams on their toes, candidates are steadfast in their willingness to rescind offers. With that in mind, it’s critical that you leverage the data behind the top reasons talent might break their contract with you to strengthen your strategies for attracting and retaining top talent — and that you are prepared to offer competitive salaries and demonstrate a clear path for growth within your organization.  

Interested in learning more about Gen Z in the workplace? Be sure to tune into our panel on building a better experience for employers and Gen Z candidates featuring internship and job seekers today by RSVPing here. If you can’t make it live, you can access the recording with the same link. 


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