Workforce Watch List: The Millennial Generation

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In a recent survey conducted by Adecco, we polled workers from the millennial generation to gain insight into their employment goals, workplace viewpoints and career motivations. Millennials are those born between 1980 and 2000 and are quite the hot topic of conversation lately.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this group of workers is currently seeing an uncomfortable 12% unemployment rate – almost 6% above the national unemployment rate of 6.3% (as of April 2014).

We learned that today’s American youth think they have a harder time than generations before them when it comes to finding a job. Seven in 10 (69%) Americans ages 18-24 believe that it is harder to find a job now compared to previous generations. Interestingly, women in this age group (18-24) are more likely to feel that it is harder to find a job now than it was for previous generations (76% women compared to 63% men).

Time is on their side

Despite the high unemployment rate, the majority (65%) of employed American youth spent less than six months to find their current job. In fact, only 18% spent six months to under a year and 12% spent a year or more to find work.

As for those American youth who are currently unemployed and looking for work, one-fifth (19%) say they’ve been job hunting for less than a year followed by 12% who say they’ve been looking for six-months to a year. Six percent of unemployed American youth say they’ve been looking for a year or more.

‘Living to work’ or ‘working to live’?

The majority, 54%, of those 18-24 who are currently employed say they ‘work to live’ compared to only 32% who ‘live to work’ and 14% who say they like what they but do not like the company they work for.

Gender may make a difference in perception as the survey showed that men are much more likely to say they ‘live to work’ (36% men compared to 28% women); women are much more likely to say they ‘work to live’ (60% women compared to 49% men).

While the majority of American youth are employed, four in 10 (42%) are not working in their field of choice. And, 16% of American youth are undecided on their career choice.

Not so surprising, those who ‘live to work’ (59%) were less likely to find a job in less than six months compared to those who ‘work to live’ (70%).

Parental guidance

Six in 10 (63%) say the way their parents raised them has prepared them to go after the job they want, but there are a few lessons they wished their parents would’ve taught them. American youth are most likely to wish their parents had taught them the importance of making connections and networking (31%), followed by how to make a good impression (25%). Other career lessons include:

  •  How to negotiate (23%)
  • Strong work ethic (23%)
  • The importance of getting as much work experience as possible (22%)
  • The benefits of going to college (18%)
  • Not to take a job you hate/are not passionate about (17%)

The majority (62%) of American youth today limit their parent’s involvement in their job search but when they are involved their personal networks prove most valuable. However, those who do (38%) are most likely to say their parents use their personal network to help them find job opportunities (16%).

What’s driving happiness?

Priorities for American youth boil down to career advancement (34%) and paying down debt (16%). The majority (55%) of American youth define the ‘New American Dream’ as having a career you love within your field of interest.

When it comes to their current job, American youth are most motivated by the work that they do (51%), gaining valuable work experience (47%) and the opportunity for upward mobility/career growth (43%).

Not at the top of today’s youth’s priority list are some of the more long-term, traditional and family values including:

  • Saving for a major purchase (10%)
  • Having fun (10%)
  • Getting married (6%)
  • Starting a family (4%)
  • Saving for retirement (2%)

The dreaded five-year plan

Three in 10 (30%) American youth plan to either go back to school or advance their career within their current job or company (29%). Other plans for the future entail:

  • Switching careers or try something completely new (20%)
  • Working for themselves (19%)
  • Job-hopping to advance their career or title (16%)
  • Live and work abroad (13%)

How do your career goals align with those in this survey? Inquiring minds want to know! Facebook us, tweet us, or tell us in the comments and make sure to use the hashtag #watchlist.

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