The Millennial generation is, in general, non-conformist and is seeking to build a society and economy that is different from that of the one created by Generation X and even Baby Boomers. However, in their attempts to change America and the world, Millennials are facing an important challenge: unemployment. This, combined with the lack of management and leadership roles for people their age and with their experience, has made it difficult for Millennials to achieve the change they desire, such as using cleaner energy sources and placing more women in leadership roles.
Unfortunately for many Millennials, the economy that they are entering to seek employment is not particularly in their favor. With unemployment for Millennials at 8.8% and average wages down to 8% since the Great Recession began in 2007, many Millennials are having a hard time getting started in the professional world. That, along with record-high student debts acquired during college, sets young adults in the workforce up for a reduced income for the rest of their lives. Essentially, college graduates are entering into the workforce at entry-level jobs and are making up to 5% less than other generations at their age over a twenty-year period.
Despite the relatively high unemployment rate of Millennials, there is an even greater disadvantage for Millennials that did not receive a college education. And while Millennials have more individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree (43% of women and 36% of men), those who have some college or do not have a college degree make an average of $36,000 a year which is a $2,900 reduced from that of Baby Boomers in 1982.
The Millennial Attitude
To add to the problem of unemployment, it seems that the Millennial mindset when it comes to employment is strongly misguided. A majority of Millennials want to reform societal norms and desire greater change in economic policy. These are admirable desires, but there comes a time where the system in place is stronger than the will of the new generation entering it.
Even despite the desires of Millennials to jump straight into jobs that will “make a difference” or be exactly the field that they went to school for, many Millennials are disappointed to find that the jobs that are available to them are typically entry-level jobs and internships. As long as Generation X and Baby Boomers remain the dominant leaders and workers in the workforce, Millennials will have to put in the time and work to bring about the change they desire as well as climb up the corporate ladder.
In the end, the economy today seems to be structured in a way that limits Millennials from achieving equal wages compared to that of generations before them. To add to that misfortune, Millennials are not able to achieve their reforming goals in entry-level positions. With time they may be able to earn positions in leadership through hard work, just as those before them have. This may require innovation, but as Millennials become the older generation of the workforce and replace their predecessors, they may be able to shape society and the economy to be the one they desire.