It’s hard out there for a young person.
According to a new survey by Business Insider and News To Live By, a Gen Y career advice destination, millennials continue to struggle to secure good-paying full-time jobs in line with their education levels.
The survey of 548 millennials in the U.S., conducted by Survey Monkey in May, finds that 16% of millennials remained unemployed after six months in the job market. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate is currently 6.3%. In addition, nearly a quarter of respondents applied to 11 or more full-time jobs before they were ultimately hired.
Brooks Holtom, associate professor of management at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, says millennials struggle in the job market for two reasons.
“First, the number of private-sector jobs has grown very slowly since the economy emerged from the recession that started in 2008,” Holtom says. “Second, few Baby Boomers have been retiring while a record number of college graduates were entering the job market.”
Furthermore, millennials may be forced to take jobs below their education levels. While the majority of the survey respondents had attended some college, a whopping 44% said their first full-time job did not require a college degree. Of those respondents with a bachelor’s degree, more than one third (35%) said their first job did not require a degree.
And although millennials are often believed to prioritise balance and flexibility, they ranked pay (69%) as the most important factor in a job, above meaningful work (53%), positive relationships with coworkers (43%), and work-life balance (36%).
“These students are graduating with more student debt on average than any previous generation,” says Holtom. “While there is abundant talk of work-life balance concerns for this generation, the hard realities of debt and low expectations for salary growth emphasise the importance of starting with the best pay possible at the first job.”
Indeed, salary and career advancement seem to be their biggest motivators. More than a third of respondents said they left their first job within two years. When asked what would have kept them in the job, the predominant answer was a higher salary (26%), followed by a clearer sense of how to move up in the company (17%) and more responsibility (11%).
Interestingly, despite the clear emphasis on pay, the survey revealed that 82% did not negotiate their salary because they either didn’t feel comfortable (38%) or didn’t know they were allowed to do so (44%).
See the full results of the survey below.
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