Gen Y Report: Gen Y Has the Skills to Help Employers Pay Their Bills

PayScale’s "Gen Y on the Job" report reveals Millennials’ best job and employer options, favorite cities, top job skills, common degrees and more.

In a recent study, PayScale found that Gen Y workers are more likely to have job skills that center around online marketing and social media than other U.S. workers. Three of the top five most commonly reported job skills for Gen Y workers, relative to all U.S. workers, are blogging, social media optimization, and press releases. This didn't surprise me for a few reasons. First, Gen Y uses social networking sites more than older generations, especially Facebook and Twitter. Second, many Gen Y workers have started social media consulting companies after learning how to use them for business or have applied to work in social media roles.

Back in 2007, I created the first social media role at EMC Corporation and now these positions are very common. Companies like Cisco and DELL have more than 20 social media specialists and managers and some companies like CitiGroup and Edelman have executives that focus solely on these tools. The reason? Social media is deeply entrenched in many key aspects of business now, from recruiting to marketing to customer support. Companies are creating Twitter handles for customer support and for recruiting. If you're a student or young professional, it's important that you brush up on your social (media) skills by doing the following:

Take college courses. These days, colleges are offering social media classes and programs in order to prepare students for the business world. They are also doing it to stay relevant, competitive and cater to students’ needs. A great example is San Francisco State University and their "Social Media Marketing: Professional Development Certificate." The program helps students learn about social media, how to build a community, trends in mobile applications, real-world case studies and more.

Stay on top of blogs. You can learn about social media trends and resources through reading blogs such as,, and These sites will help you learn about new technological advancements, how to use social networks personally and professionally and the latest startups.

Read popular books. Aside from my own book (Me 2.0), you should read David Meerman Scott's book "The New Rules of Marketing & PR," and Brian Halligan's book "Inbound Marketing." All three can help you learn the basics of social media as they apply to your professional career, as well as more advanced techniques.

Experiment. The best way to learn about social media tools is by using them. Try things and see what works. You can read best practices all day long, but you might stumble upon a unique technique that will give you a competitive advantage.

Dan Schawbel is the founder of Millennial Branding, a Gen-Y research and consulting firms. He is a Gen-Y career and workplace expert, as well as the bestselling author of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future.


  1. Please prove to us that you're not a robot:

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Comp Managers: Start Here »