We have all seen news stories telling of high unemployment among people reaching working age since the year 2000. These young people have been given the tag “millennials”. Is this high unemployment (or underemployment) a real phenomenon? If so, what are the causes and what can be done about it?
Is it real?
One measure of employment, the Youth Labor Force Participation Rate, has been trending downward since the year 2000. Government statistics show the participation rate dropped 10 percent between 2000 and 2014 after holding steady the previous 20 years.
What are the causes?
- Stringent requirements of employers. Certain jobs require years of experience. Chicken and egg dilemma: How can one get the experience if you can’t get the job in the first place?
- Some social commentators suggest that perhaps Millennials have unrealistic expectations about their careers. We have all read of the enormous success of young entrepreneurs like the founders of Facebook or Snapchat. Some Millennials see these successes and think it’s possible or probable they can repeat it themselves. The older notion of gradually climbing a corporate ladder has been set aside.
- Millennials are more likely to continue education, including advanced degrees. Thus a higher percentage of millennials are out of the job market for positive reasons.
What can be done?
- Employers need to give less experienced applicants a chance. Mentoring programs can develop the needed experience internally.
- Millennials need a realistic view of their career trajectory. Not everyone can be the next 25-year old billionaire.
- Young people need an effective way to look for jobs. A job search engine like Jooble with thousands of jobs in each location and category is a good place to start.