The plight of the Millennial

Posted On October 22, 2013

The delay of adulthood, or extended adolescence, is a well-documented reality and in most discussions a great deal of blame is placed at the feet of parents hover and enable, creating an almost co-dependency.  And while there is certainly some truth to that, good old fashioned economics are also to blame—at least for the Millennials.

Throughout history, college graduates had a reasonably expectation of solid professional employment upon graduating with a four-year degree.  College debt was significantly less than it is today.  And while the cultural belief that college is a prerequisite for just about any career path is still alive and well, the payoff is no longer as guaranteed.

Despite an increase in college attendance, young adults are earning median-wage income jobs later and later.  According to the Wall Street Journal,“through analyzing about three decades of census data—from 1980 to 2012—the (Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce) study found that on average, young workers are now 30 years old when they first earn a median-wage income of about $42,000, a marker of financial independence, up from 26 years old in 1980.”

The study goes on to talk about the impact of the economy on a wide range of employment trends, including the tendency for older workers to stay in the workforce longer and an increased expectation for advanced degrees.  At the same time, the study advocates for an increase in employment opporunities that do not require degrees that are rarely achievable without crippling debt.  It’s an ugly catch-22 that the younger generations will continue to face unless changes are made to the employment landscape.

And while the problem may have come about because of systemic problems, the solution, like most, may well reside in grass roots change.  What might your company do to restore balance across the generations?

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