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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.

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.

(Photo Credit: startupstockphotos/Pexels)

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.

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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.

Conclusion

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!


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36 Comments on "Millennials Are Seriously Unprepared for the Workforce"

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Becky
Guest
The problem starts very early. As someone who works for a teachers’ union I can tell you that a very large number of elementary, middle school and high school teachers know nothing about grammar, spelling or punctuation; I’m sure their math skills are equally poor. What’s more, they don’t care, and consequently their students don’t care. That’s why so many college students are illiterate. Along with not having a grasp of the language, they have been raised to think that making money is unfair to others, “hard worker” is a racial slur, and that they will be bailed out of… Read more »
Wes H
Guest
Getting good grades and a diploma at a top tier college is overrated and not the best indicator of future potential or success in the professional working world. It’s like the NFL Draft prospect who has the best 40-time, veritical jump, and bench press measurable, but that’s no guarantee he’ll make it in the NFL. The college grads (in this case, the Millenials) need to understand some basic premises which apply to both the professional sports or “real” business world. In the pros, they: 1. Hit really, really hard. 2. Run really, really fast. 3. The season/year is long. 4.… Read more »
Jackie
Guest
My company is focusing exclusively on trying to bridge this gap. Our goal is to help new grads and hiring companies make the right match so they can grow and learn together. I agree that the data here is a bit vague, but the important thing to understand is that every every job and job seeker (Millennial or other generations) is truly unique. Companies must hire the right Millennial for the job and not just one that has a good GPA, a couple of internships, is the child of a friend, or just had the right keywords in their resume.… Read more »
olderworker
Guest

I’m a Baby Boomer, and I think I have all the skills listed above NOW, but when I was just starting out in the workplace, at age 18, I lacked pretty much all of them. (I remember being particularly bad at public speaking).

Joel
Guest
As a Canadian, I have to say that this issue is universal across North America. Here it’s a complete lack of fundamental skills training going all the way back to public school. Students are no longer taught things like spelling and grammar, and math is a lost cause. Simple addition and subtraction, multiplication and division is a requirement for critical thinking, without having to use a calculator. Go into a store these days, pay cash and ask the cashier to calculate your change in their head. Most people here born after the 1980’s are completely incapable of doing it, something… Read more »
Cassie
Guest

The millennial age rage is extreme. I am two years in and I know my writing proficenies and critical thinking skills are much more developed than those born in the year I graduated high school. Sliding through high school and college shouldn’t be allowed. Getting a C (and passing) takes no effort on the students part. Employees need to lean towards the gpa for extra assistance in hiring which will force students to realize what needs to be done to be successfully employed.

Leon
Guest

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Teddy
Guest

The map will print on the 2nd page or back of a scouting report. freewarezdownloadplace.ru You can search shops and facilities anywhere worldwide by specifying a center point, too.

twoof
Guest

kids raised by the loser hippy generation are coming home to roost. they couldnt teach anything in university because someone might be triggered and a parent might get mad

Tyler
Guest
I think some of it has to do with technology, with the workplace so automated and digitized, both managers and Millenials probably had higher expectations of performance out the gate. In reality, even the most computer literate Millenials may lack the intelligence to effectively absorb on-the-job trained skills (like coding or database management. The “free college for everyone” attitude of the past 20 years hasn’t helped, either. By democratizing and subsidizing higher education, they simultaneously reduced the value of it’s exclusivity, while increasing the financial cost. Once upon a time your bachelor’s degree in any liberal arts program was a… Read more »
Joel
Guest
As Baby boomer which mean parent of a millennial , I am always nervous of this and all survey which actually find them to be pure garbage , the reason is simple , They entered Data , Fine ! Which Data ? By How many peoples ? From what type of Companies ? How old were the Peoples conducting these Survey ? What is the past achievement of peoples conducting these survey ? Since H.R is something which has been eliminated in the mid 90’s this statement and fancy Graph look more like something from someone out of school v/s… Read more »
Nick
Guest

Big multinationals stopped being loyal to their employees in the 70s and 80s and millenials were particularly affected by this. If the major employers are disloyal, why should the millenials be? They should learn the basic skills needed to do well in employment, but after that it’s up to the companies to motivate them. Senior company members – stop complaining – do something about making feeling your employees feel safe and good LONG TERM.

Mark
Guest
Experience is supposed to be a predictor for ability and performance but somewhere along the line people forgot that it’s incredibly unreliable. The millennial that consistently performs at the level typically expected of someone with more experience is “entitled” for wanting to be compensated accordingly. They have to wait their turn management says. They have to “pay their dues”. This, of course, is garbage. Workers are paid to perform. We are not paid for our experience. A worker that mops the floor with their superiors despite their relative inexperience should be compensated as such or the employer needs to find… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest

I think this article is focused on the minority of millenials. If only 13% of managers thought that millenials are unprepared for the workforce, what did the other 87% think? I don’t it’s fair to generalize this to all millenials because of a few. Also, how exactly did this study objectively measure unpreparedness for the workforce? It seems like to me unpreparedness was a matter of subjective opinion.

stellamarie3
Guest
I don’t think it is necessarily right to blame educators either. Granted, some educators are better communicators/teachers than others, but by the time a student gets to high school, it’s already pretty late in the game to pick up language/spelling/writing/math and verbal communication skills they are lacking. I don’t know that class sizes are necessarily bigger in elementary, junior high or high school classrooms compared to when I was a student (60s-70s). A classroom teacher is ONE person—parents still need to do their part at home helping/reinforcing/tutoring their children on concepts that they may not be grasping in class. Parents… Read more »
al
Guest
That comment from shane says it all. Arrogant with nothing to back it up. Like talking to a teenager who knows nothing but you can never tell them anything because they don’t accept any constructive criticism. I personally know of one young person who falls in the bottom 4% in the country with respect to credit rating but yet she thinks she knows everything. The facts prove otherwise. How can you possibly teach someone like that who has no respect for others but yet history dictates a huge amount of improvement needed? Thank Shane for pointing out the problem. Couldn’t… Read more »
Kelly
Guest

The data from this study are not really that strong. Only 13% of managers thought millennials are unprepared. Even though there’s an 11% difference between that and the responses from the millennials themselves, it’s still a very small number. I’m not sure I buy it.

GG
Guest

However broad the study might be, I and my colleagues across industries have found this information to be TRUE. There are some sharp young folks out there, don’t get me wrong. There are quite a few that just don’t cut it and on top of it all, come with confident incompetence. I have friends who work in academia as well…..parents with $$ are influencing the school boards and instructors to just move things along when their child fails or falls short on a course. It’s horrible and yet, this is our collective future……

HR Lady
Guest
The problem starts much earlier than college. The reading and writing skills of many (not all) in high school is pathetic. I’ve hired and fired a lot of people on my 20 years in HR and I have to say that millennials fall into 2 categories. The ones who feel entitled and the ones who are committed to do their best no matter what they do. The entitled ones spend the majority of their “work” day complaining and say no one is listening and complete very little work. The committed ones jump in, understand that they are responsible for completion,… Read more »
Not2gripe
Guest
I find most employees between the ages of 18 and 28 lack not only certain communication/social skills but a desire to do more than tweet or watch youtube. While this is primarily in the retail market it is disconcerting that few employees believe that a full days work equals a full days pay. If I am lucky (as with other managers in the area) we get about 5 hours of real work out of an employee in an 8 hour day. Skills can be taught but having dedication and respect for your work has been slowly bred out of this… Read more »
GenX Prof
Guest
In my current role as R&D Manager for a Nutrition firm, I was forced to hire Millenials since my budget did not allow me to shop for seasoned applicants. I found them to be lacking loyalty, they all felt they should be promoted and have offices right away, and their salaries should be in the six figure range. They never showed initiative and complained that they never received enough guidance. It was a constant bitch fest. While other employees put the extra time required to get the job done, the Millenials constantly left work unfinished, took extra long lunch hours,… Read more »
Bob
Guest

Sad and true. I owned a chain of learning centers for over five years and almost exclusively hired millennials. I tried motivating them with new facilities, bonuses, flextime and benefits. Yet, after excessive turnover due to lack of commitment, skills and discipline, they nearly bankrupted me and I ended up shutting it all down. I wanted to help the younger generation get a good start in business but I completely miscalculated the values and competencies of the milleniel workforce.

TB
Guest

Millennials, like most other workers, have not been adequately prepared for the speed and fluidity of product and service cycles that put a premium on constantly learning and doing things differently. The skills-based economy is global and the comprising values will continue to evolve. Get with it people! Building walls is myopic and counter-productive in this time of vast digital connectivity. Keep learning, shift some of your leisure time to study time and get out here and compete!

linnie
Guest

I’m curious what preparedness means here. These student’s are coming out with 4 internships under their belts, impressive technological and social skills, and a new way of thinking. I would rather hire someone slightly less “prepared” than some smug Gen Xer any day.

stellamarie3
Guest
I work in the Registrar’s office at a 4-year state college. I would have to agree with the findings, and unfortunately, I can see this trend continuing with future college graduates. We get numerous calls in our office every day from parents of college students who feel they have to do everything for their young adult student—from registering their kid for classes, to contacting instructors on the student’s behalf to question assigned work. They don’t trust their offspring to do one simple task themselves. So, how are these students supposed to be critical thinkers if mommy and daddy are making… Read more »
stellamarie3
Guest
I work in the Registrar’s office at a 4-year state college. I would have to agree with the findings, and unfortunately, I can see this trend continuing with future college graduates. We get numerous calls in our office every day from parents of college students who feel they have to do everything for their young adult student—from registering their kid for classes, to contacting instructors on the student’s behalf to question assigned work. They don’t trust their offspring to do one simple task themselves. So, how are these students supposed to be critical thinkers if mommy and daddy are making… Read more »
Amber
Guest

I believe that the reliance is too much on GPA. I made average grades but, I get great reviews, promotions, and raises. Just because someone makes grades doesn’t mean that it translates into being a good employee. The age range is quite large. I am a millennial and I often scratch my head at some of the things people in my age group do or say. I do feel like older generations look down on millennials from the beginning and some of them don’t want to try new things, they are too stuck in the old way of doing things.

FrankNormal
Guest

Well at one point. These were taught in Highschool.
Instead of forcing students to have a college degree for gainful employment lets raise the bar grades 7-12
Both liberal classical education and vonational.
Start internships and apprenticeship for young citizens again. Honestly stop illegal immigration, offshoring and HuB visas.
Today a Bachelors is equivalent to HIS diploma and you need a degree from a name brand schoold and Masters to build a middle class life. Except for technical jobs we are offshoring like manufacturing
Everything is watered down while prices swell

Wake up America or start studying Mandarin Spanish and Hindi

Lullapop
Guest
It’s very simple; ask for a writing sample. Do a better job in interviews asking questions which demonstrate critical thinking acumen. Don’t be fooled by big name schools and high GPA’s. Ask them if they worked while in college-that will show you a young adult who understands time management and prioritization. Make them write a quick analysis at the interview; have them read something and then give them 20 minutes to quickly jot down their initial thoughts. Give them a difficult scenario and ask them to compose an email addressing the issue professionally. And be willing to train them. Nobody… Read more »
Jason Cavness
Guest
I am a Generation X and I have to disagree with this report. Based on being an Army retiree and someone who has some limited experience dealing with Startups. I believe so called millennials are a great addition to the workforce. They have a different outlook and that is a good thing. Many people do not give them enough credit. They are the ones who have basically fought two wars for this country since 2001. Plus they are not called the Benjamin Franklin generation for nothing. If you go back in time, I am sure that each generation says how… Read more »
Ian Boreham
Guest

Big range of years there in the definition of millennials. What is surprising is the skills shortage in areas that you would have thought would be stronger such as data analysis skills.

Liz
Guest
@MarkZ that’s because you haven’t met me yet! I think this study is awfully broad. It doesn’t take into account schooling, majors, work experience prior to college, etc. I developed critical thinking and writing skills at a young age because I was fortunate enough to attend a college preparatory school. From what I’ve seen, colleges aren’t the problem when it comes to writing skills – high schools are. The public schools are so over-crowded that the students are never asked to write papers of any significant length. Additionally, I am amazed at the number of “professionals” who lack appropriate professional… Read more »
MarkZ
Guest

I have yet to meet a millennial who was capable of good critical thinking. Period.

KT
Guest

Cassie, employers are certainly using GPA in hiring. That seems to be the real issue at hand: college grades are not necessarily indicative of students/prospective employees in the capacities mentioned in the article.

I can think of more than a few dim bulbs I’ve encountered that were sporting a 4.0- the potential for variation in grade assessment is considerable when one considers the variety of programs, degree paths, and subjectivity of some majors.

shane
Guest

More old folk crying about how the young folk are taking their jobs.

Cassie
Guest

Excuse me: Employers* not employees

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