The unemployment rate for the youngest members of the workforce is significantly higher than the general population — 14.8 percent, in fact, as of November, 2013, according to the Center for American Progress, compared to the 7 percent or so we’ve been seeing for the general population. All indications are that Millennial workers are not recovering from the Great Recession at the same rate as other age groups. But why?
(Photo Credit: Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net)
1. Millennials have a branding problem.
A recent survey from Bentley University found that employers don’t feel that recent college graduates are prepared to work, easy to manage, or have sufficient hard and soft skills to be a success. Whether or not that’s true, the fact that employers think it’s true represents an obstacle for younger workers who are looking for work.
2. Businesses aren’t clear on what they want.
“While roughly two thirds of business leaders and recruiters say that ‘hard’ technical skills and ‘soft’ skills are equally important, a majority say they’d prefer to hire a recent graduate with industry-specific skills than a liberal arts graduate who needs to be trained first,” writes Eric Pianin at CNBC.
In other words, companies say they’re looking for one thing, when they’re really looking for another. No wonder, then, that younger workers have trouble fulfilling employers’ expectations.
3. Recent graduates genuinely are underprepared.
Being “prepared to work,” in the context of this survey isn’t just passion for the job and a good work ethic. It’s also knowing how to function in an office environment, something the survey takers say recent college grads don’t know how to do. That’s always been the case, throughout history — all of us were once clueless workers who didn’t understand how to get a read on corporate culture, and we learned.
The difference today is that employers are impatient. (See previous re: wanting workers who don’t need to be trained to do their jobs.) The solution? Schools might need to do a better job of preparing students for life in the work world, as well as teaching them the hard skills they need to get the job done.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you think employers are being unfair to younger workers? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.