The chief concern for millennials? Making more money.

In the workplace, Millennials (those workers who are in their late 20s to mid-30s) are highly valued for their skills, ethics, and technology prowess. If this is the case, then why are so many worried about their earnings?

A Spring 2014 survey of nearly 540 Millennials, conducted by Business Insider and News to Love By, a Generation Y career advice source, highlighted the plight that they are experiencing trying to find good paying jobs. The study revealed that many are finding it difficult to land work that falls in line with their educational levels and work experience.

Further, unemployment levels are higher than the national average, with 16 percent of Millennials out of work past six months of looking and another 25 percent reporting that they had applied to 11 or more full-time positions before they actually found a good job. While survey participants indicated that they felt that balance and flexibility was high on their list of professional values, pay outranked all other deciding factors by 69 percent.

Why is Money on the Minds of Millennials?

When it comes to landing a job worthy of their qualities, Millennials have a number of pressing issues that puts their focus on compensation.

First, these are professionals who have already worked at least 2-3 entry level jobs. They are ready for more and they deserve to be earning more than their colleagues right out of college.

Second, they have a large amount of debt already accrued at this point, from student loans and wedding bills to first-time home ownership and starting families. Millennials need to be earning a decent living so they can afford the lifestyle they are accustomed to.

The Fight for Better Paid Positions for Millennials

There are several factors that may be making it difficult for Millennial candidates to find jobs that pay enough.

Increased Baby Boomers Staying in the Job Market

While Millennials are the largest group of workers in the job market currently, there are also a large number of Baby Boomers who are delaying retirement. The average retirement age is now 62, and this means less job openings for the younger, emerging workforce. A CareerBuilder survey from 2014 advised that the “number of jobs held by Baby Boomers grew by 9 percent from 2007 to 2013”, which equates to nearly 1.3 million jobs. However the job market has not kept up with the demand for work opportunities, only adding 110,000 jobs for other age groups.

Millennials Find it Hard to Negotiate for Higher Salaries

Another factor that may be causing challenges for Millennials to advance in their careers and thus, in salaries, is their avoidance of anything that could create waves at work. While Millennial men and women tend to work very hard, regularly get raises and earn nearly the same in many careers (according to Pew Research Center), they tend to find the discussion about salary particularly difficult.

A Chicago Tribune article provided additional insight with a study done by Gravett and Associates, a human resource consulting firm. Millennials have a strong aversion to conflict in the workplace, not wanting to deal with them head-on and this can include not wanting to get into heavy negotiations over compensation.

Millennials See the Future as Uncertain

The truth is that many Millennials are worried about their futures, in the workplace and when it comes to their lifestyles and retirements someday. The Great Recession shaped an entire generation of young people, who now make up over one-third of the entire workforce. Many either were forced to move back in with family members or take smaller apartments when they lost their full-time jobs and homes. Others have been so strapped by personal debt that they won’t ask for more money at work for fear of losing their current careers.

The Wall Street Journal reported that 45 percent of Millennials think that “a decent paying job is a privilege”. The 2013 Stress In America survey conducted by the  American Psychological Association surveyed found that 41 percent of Millennials are considerably stressed, as compared to 35 percent of all other Americans. Some worry that they will have to delay their own retirements as the economy continues to catch up.

Yet, among all of these factors and worries, the Millennial workforce is one of the strongest and most talented of all generations. Many believe that they will be able to earn the kind of money they deserve, based on years of education and hard work. With the right resources, like Payscale’s special study Compensation Challenges for a Multi-Generational Workforce and a number of salary survey tools available for job seekers, future compensation for these hard-working folks looks brighter than ever for Millennials.


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