This is one in a lineup of blogs about the early-career generation known as the Millennials. They are a remarkable generation with unusual insights and enormous potential.
The first blog attended to the misconceptions about the millennial generation and why generalizations can be misleading. The second blog in this series focused on the wide range of ideas people have about what Millennials think. I posed a theory that reveals why the number one concern for Millennials is Safety.
In this blog, I hope to bring some thoughtful evidence that may explain why some (a large number) of Millennials seem lazy, entitled, and unmotivated and apathetic.
As mentioned in the earlier blog, many Millennials experience the Great Recession when they graduate college.
Hard lessons are being learned:
- Many “boomers” have not moved out of the workplace and jobs have not become available for them.
- A Pew study shows that living with a parent is the most common living arrangement for young adults for the first time in 130 years.
- According to SmartAsset writer Amelia Josephson, the average salary of Millennials is $17 per hour nationwide…which is 20% less than their parents made at their same stage in life. (And some people are frustrated that they aren’t buying houses…pardon my rant.)
How we pulled a dirty “bait and switch” on Millennials—TWICE!
You’ve heard of the bait and switch routine…yes?
Here’s the definition by Merriam-Webster.
Bait and switch is a sales tactic that tricks consumers into buying something other than an advertised item.
Actually, this tactic is illegal. How did it happen? What was the trick?
The first Millennial bait and switch
We have been telling Millennials that if they went to college and finished their degree, that a job would be waiting for them when they finished.
We told them to major in whatever degree program they liked. We encouraged them to follow their dreams. They were free to pursue any major they wanted. We promised them that if they finished their undergraduate degree, they could expect a good job and a career. Their degree would guarantee a path to independence.
- Only 27% of college grads have a job related to their major according to The Washington Post.
- According to the Daily Caller, 86% of college grads, (5 of 6) have nothing in the way of career prospects.
The second Millennial bait and switch
As the job market became somewhat finicky, STEM jobs took front and center. As late as last March, US News was touting The 25 Best STEM Jobs for 2017 https://money.usnews.com/careers/slideshows/the-25-best-stem-jobs-for-2017 The article states:
These STEM jobs offer high pay, low unemployment, and robust growth:
A quick breakdown of these positions showed:
- 10 were in Technology
- 4 in Science (2 were Psychologists)
- 3 in engineering
- 3 in Math
That’s 20. Of the remaining five projected opportunities, two were in Finance and two were in management. (I didn’t know what to do with the 3,600 expected jobs in Cartography.)
We easily notice a heavy leaning towards technology jobs. The employment projections by the US Labor Department through 2022 looks like this:
We can see that there are more graduates (the orange bars) than jobs (yellow bars) in Engineering, Physical and Life Sciences, and Math than we have openings. That means that the competition for the few jobs available will be met with very steep competition. ONLY in the technology sector do we see a shortage. I suspect that U.S. News has isolated specific areas within these sectors where there are job shortages. That in itself is helpful.
Regardless, college bound youth and their parents looked to the STEM-based degree programs with the high expectation of a well-paying job and career track following graduation. We are seeking that this is not the case.
As we move through this challenging haze to help early-career jobseekers land a job with a future and start a successful career, we have to take into account that:
- According to a McKinsey study, 45% of current jobs could be replaced using technology that already exists.
- An Oxford University Study indicates that 47% of total U.S. Employment is at risk. http://www.horsesforsources.com/jobs-wont-be-jobs-anymore_022016
Why do some (many) Millennials seem lazy, entitled, unmotivated and apathetic?
Reason No. 1: They were set up with expectations that if they completed their degree, they would have a job. Many of them banked on that! Literally! They took out loans based on that promise. Those Millennials that are employed and found work are only 14% likely to have found a job in their chosen career path or that relates to their college major.
Reason No. 2: Many are facing the reality that their hopes and dreams for their life are unlikely to materialize. While it’s true that most people’s lives don’t work out the way they thought it would; most of us didn’t have to face that reality as soon as we graduated college with years of debt payments ahead of us.
More Reasons: Millennials have information that is immediately available to them. They know about the national debt, the environmental concerns, the threats and wars in the Middle and the Far East. I believe that their future holds more uncertainty than any generation before them.
From their perspective, finding a lasting career path is unlikely. I believe a different approach is to:
- Identify a process to navigate changes in the job market
- Develop skills that will transfer into newly developing employment opportunities
- Develop a network of associates who recognize your strengths and expertise
These skills are now a part of the standard jobsearch tool set. We can help each other and we can build the future we hope for. I believe it and I’m here to help!
Master these jobseeker skills to differentiate yourself, and stay ahead of the curve.