I am a millennial. I have been labeled as having delusions of grandeur, a tendency for being increasingly narcissistic and confident in abilities I do not yet possess. It has been said that I am part of a generation that thinks we are "special" and therefore unable to be happy with the career opportunities we can attain.
As a member of this so-called entitled and whiny generation, I'd like to address this idea with a simple answer: We are.
But we did not develop these traits without the assistance of the generations who forged the path before us, laying down the groundwork for the development of us Gen Yers. It was simple. We were told to stay in school, we did. To get our high school diploma, we did. To graduate from college, we did. We were engrained with the notion that the key to financial security and success was education and hard work. So we developed dreams, and we followed them.
The problem is, the country wasn't actually ready for an entire generation to actually do what was asked of them. No longer was a college education and hard work the ticket to success; and now, rightfully, my Millennial Generation is... unemployed and frustrated.
I have had a front-row seat to this reality facing my generation, so I thought I'd lay out the numbers underlying this frustration. Let's start with a doozy...
The percentage of millennials who are unemployed in the United States, according to the United States Labor Department, this is even more alarming when paired with a Harvard study finding that just 6 in 10 millennials have a job, half of which jobs are part-time. The bottom line here is that my generation can't seem to find jobs. Maybe we just don't have the appropriate education?
1.8 million is the number of bachelor's degrees universities are expected to award during the 2013-14 school year. This is in addition to the 943,000 associate's degrees, 778,000 master's degrees and 177,000 doctoral degrees projected. Did I mention that 59 percent of millennials have gone to college? But don't worry: there are enough entry-level jobs for the average millennial if they are flexible, right?
The percent of hiring managers in a recent survey by Adecco who say they have no plans whatsoever to hire a recent college graduate, and the ones that do plan to hire only one to two candidates. Okay, so they are picky; how many millennials can there be, anyway?
The number, in millions according to Barron's, of millennials in the U.S. 86 million: that's 7 percent larger than the baby-boom generation. Now don't forget, this same group has a 16.3 percent unemployment rate: maybe we should take a look at the job creation numbers. Surely the good ole U.S. of A is booming with new jobs for the largest generation ever...
4.7 million jobs have been created over the past three years, according to the Jobs Report. Keep in mind, about 8 million jobs were lost in 2008 and 2009. The fact is, jobs aren't being created fast enough for the entire U.S., much less the newest generation entering the workforce. But the baby boomers are getting older, so maybe they are leaving the workforce for retirement soon?
The average age at which current U.S. retirees said they retired, compared with 59 in 2003 and 57 in 1993. That figure is just current retirees; current non-retirees expect to delay their own retirements past age 65. Whether they haven't saved enough money or just love working, their delayed retirement means less upward mobility for younger generations. What about that valuable education we have which some baby boomers were never afforded?
The average student loan debt of the two thirds of millennials who graduate from college with outstanding debt. This can be contrasted to 1993, when less than half of students graduated with debt, and those who did had an average of $9,350 in loans. Maybe we are just bad with our money?
The percentage increase of college tuition cost across the country for our generation; according to Bloomberg, over the last 28 years tuition expenses have increased 538 percent. This has made college nearly unaffordable and created high demand for those student loans, which leaves us with the next dreaded number...
The total number, in millions, of millennials who lived in their parents' home in 2012, up from 18.5 million of their same-aged counterparts in 2007. We simply can't afford to live on our own. So we move home or find other Gen Yers who can support our stay, while we send out a few job applications...
The average number of résumés, according to ERE, that are received for each corporate job opening. Out of this number, 4-6 will get an interview, 1-3 will be invited for a final interview, and 1 will be offered the job. Which brings us back to that 16.3 unemployment rate.
I am a part of an entire generation with more college education than ever before, with cutting-edge technology at our fingertips, and who possess a hard-working team member mindset. Unfortunately, I am also a part of a generation that faces impossible tuition costs, crushing debt and a job crisis, leaving us with less dreaming and more frustration.
All hope is not lost, however. In the next few weeks I'll take a look at what millennials can do to combat all these numbers and find a way to be that "special" contributing member of society that all other generations have told us we think we are.
After all, by 2020, millennials will be 50 percent of the U.S. workforce and 40 percent of the U.S. electorate, whether the country is ready or not. I'd certainly hope there was something special inside us.