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How a Struggling Job Market Has Affected Generation Y Workers

November 25th, 2011

There is no denying the fact that the US economy is struggling and the job market has a bleak outlook. For Generation Y, though, the implications go farther than most realize. Even if the market picks up in a year, or a few, this generation which is poised to enter into the working years of life, is likely to be struggling for decades to come.

Who Are They?

Generation Y, also known as the “Millennial Generation”, are those aged 15 to 30 right now who are graduating college, entering the workforce or even just picking out a career path to take themselves on. These individuals consist of one of the largest generations in the history of the country and, by far, are the most educated generation ever. However, not all of this still may prepare them for their bleak future.

The Job Market Now

Plenty of signs show that the job market will continue to improve, but it is likely it will do so at a very slow pace. The result, then, for this generation of Americans will be fewer positions available. Many will face challenges like the following:

  • Paying back hundreds of thousands of dollars in education debt on minimal salaries
  • Taking unpaid internships because they cannot find positions
  • Taking low income positions because they can’t find anything else
  • Taking positions outside of their field of study
  • Entering entry-level positions in their field far later than previous generations.
  • Difficulty in finding promotions and climbing the ladder of success because they will lack fundamental skills often learned during these first years of employment in their fields.
  • Many will have and will maintain lower salaries for years to come because they did not move up the ladder fast enough.

In an article on Knowledge Wharton, management professor Matthew Bidwell says, the following. “If you don’t get a decent job in your first five years in the workforce, do you ever? You don’t develop the stable work habits or the self-esteem to move up the corporate ladder. It’s a horrendous waste of human capital.”

Late Starts

Those who graduate in 2011 are unlikely to find the positions they went to school for available to them. Those who graduate in 2012 may face the same fate. If by 2013 new jobs are available because the economy is moving, those graduates from 2011 and previously, not to mention from 2012 and 2013 will be competing for the same positions. More so, these graduates are already several years behind in their careers and that could plague them for many more years to come.

As individuals, it is important to consider this information carefully prior to entering into just any career field for study. More so, the graduates of this year and previous years must find a way to create a new path that allows them to push past the risks they face overall of not entering in a stable career for years to come. Not doing so could impact the quality of their lives for years to come.

Photo Credit: suphakit73


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