Millennials Are Seriously Unprepared for the Workforce

Another day, another depressing report about millennials, the generation born between 1982 and 2002. This week, PayScale released an in-depth study that asked employers how prepared they feel their employees are for the workforce upon college graduation. We also asked the same of employees themselves. And the data confirm what most of us already know. Millennials are not adequately prepared for the workforce. Lets dig into the data so you can see the numbers for yourself.

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In a survey of over 2 million people, we found out how prepared managers feel their workers are compared to how prepared workers feel they are. We then broke down that data by generation. And because millennials are now America’s largest living workforce, let’s focus on them.

The Perception Gap: Millennials vs. Their Managers

If you do a comparison between millennials and their managers, you can easily see that there is a huge perception gap when it comes to preparedness in the workforce. In fact, only 2 percent of millennials said they felt unprepared for the workforce after they graduated college. When we asked managers if their millennial workers were prepared, 13 percent of managers said millennials were unprepared. On the other side of that same sad coin, 20 percent of millennials said they felt extremely prepared, compared to only 9 percent of managers who said the same thing. What this tells us is that millennials did not learn certain skill sets between college and their first real job.

The Skills Gap: What Job Skills Are Millennials Missing?

You may have heard that millennials are missing very specific hard skills – like programming knowledge or even (sigh) how to use email correctly. But our latest report found that soft skills, not technical skills, are the problem, with a whopping 60 percent lacking critical thinking skills, for example. Here’s the full breakdown.


As the data show, millennials need to focus on the basics. The top lacking skills in both the hard and soft categories, writing proficiency and critical thinking, are the foundation for any college student to successfully start their career. But we also have to ask what colleges are doing to close the skills gap. And until that bridge is connected, I can only assume the skills gap will continue to be present among millennials entering the workforce.

Tell Us What You Think!

Do you think millennials are prepared for the workforce? We want to hear from you! Comment below or join the discussion on Twitter!