ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose has said young workers lack resilience and “almost need hugging”.

Speaking at the Australia-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Buttrose said the younger generation has grown more demanding of the office culture.

“The younger workers like more transparency,” she said, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

“It seems to me that today’s younger workers, they need much more reassurance and they need to be thanked, which is something many companies don’t do.

“They’re very keen on being thanked and they almost need hugging – that’s before COVID of course, we can’t hug any more – but they almost need hugging.”

The 78-year-old media figure said younger workers “seem to lack the resilience that I remember from my younger days” and suggested it might have resulted from “bad parenting”.

“We older parents have very set views about resilience and, you know, I think it’s something we need to foster in everybody from a very young age,” she said.

The comments were made under Chatham House Rule, which is meant to prevent the identification of the person, and were relayed to the outlets by sources attending the event.

Buttrose has received backlash over the comments, citing the lack of secure employment in recent years.

Former ABC’s Four Corners journalist Sophie McNeill wrote on Twitter: “Lack resilience? How insulting. Us millennials at the ABC were usually paid less but expected to do so much more than many of our older colleagues, plus many are on insecure contracts for years – [Buttrose] clearly needs to go and meet more of them.”

“Strange thing to say in the middle of ABC job losses, while youth unemployment is at a 23 year high,” posted Shalailah Medhora, journalist at ABC’s national youth broadcaster Triple J.

Fellow Triple J journalist Avani Dias said Buttrose declined her team’s invitation to speak with “young workers … the very young people who are more likely to have lost work during the pandemic and be in unstable jobs than older Australians”.

This article originally appeared on Over60.