Girl Boss or Girl Doss? Over a third find career-related ‘hashtags’ damaging and limiting

According to a survey by Walters People, 39% of professionals believe that the recent surge in career-related hashtags, such as #GirlBoss, has a negative and limiting impact on young people.

This trend, fuelled by social media, has led to a mix of seemingly positive (#GirlBoss, #CorporateQueen, #WorkingMum) and negative (#QuietQuitting, #RageApplying, #BareMinumumMondays, #LazyGirlJobs) hashtags. The survey revealed that 75% of professionals think these hashtags predominantly represent young professionals' experiences, with only 25% considering them a realistic reflection of workplace realities.

Many professionals (59%) indicated that hashtags like #GirlBoss and #LazyGirlJobs perpetuate harmful stereotypes, with 25% stating they contribute to gender-based workplace inequality. A mere 13% believe these hashtags empower women and foster more open discussions.

Janine Blacksley, Director of Walters People UK, remarked: "Workplace trends constantly evolve, similar to consumer behaviour. However, the rise of social media, particularly among young people, tends to trivialise job perceptions. TikTok, for example, showcases videos that either mock workplace scenarios or promote avoidance of work. This is concerning, especially with ongoing efforts to address diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as these hashtags may reinforce or create new stereotypes, especially among young or female professionals."

The survey found that 70% of respondents think these trends mainly pertain to young professionals, with 24% attributing them to female creators. "Career TikTok" has gained popularity, with influencers like @loewhaley offering career advice to her 3.7 million followers. However, Janine added that the authenticity of such content is questionable, given that most TikTok creators are under 30 and lack extensive work experience, aiming primarily to go viral.

Gen Z's approach to career trends and hashtags often reflects their grievances with past jobs. For instance, #LazyGirlJobs suggests laxity in adhering to traditional working hours, while #QuietQuitting promotes doing the bare minimum instead of exceeding expectations to address unmet needs.

The Walters People poll found a stark contrast in how different age groups express work-related frustrations. Over 60% of professionals over 30 prefer discussing issues with friends and family, with 16% turning to colleagues, 18% keeping it to themselves, and only 1% sharing on social media. Conversely, 32% of Gen Z professionals would consult friends and family, 20% would talk to colleagues, 8% would keep concerns private, and 40% would share their experiences on social media.