As someone who is on the young end of the millennial spectrum, the environment in the job market is a bit more welcoming than that of a millennial on the older spectrum who entered the working world at the height of the recession. That being said, my generation does not have it easy. College students are now subject to the highest tuition rates-$32,000/year on average for private schools and $9,000/year for for in-state public schools (College Data)-leading to the highest amount of debt with more than $35,000 for a 2015 graduate (Edvsiors) than any other group of graduates before them. Millennials may be the largest section of our population but we also have the highest unemployment rate. Even if we are working, many millennials are severely underemployed with loans and bills looming over their heads. On top of the already dire circumstances against our generation, our inability to land, and keep, jobs is a topic hitting everyone’s tongues. Millennials are stereotyped as ‘entitled’ and ‘lazy’ with unrealistic expectations for jobs and under performance. We are plagued with the reputation that we want a good workplace culture, the option to work from home, and a job we love in exchange for probably not staying in that position or even company for more than a year.
However our habits and personalities can be categorized, a whopping 44% of college grads in their twenties are stuck in low wage, dead-end jobs rather than positions that excel their career. Not only that, but the number of people making less than $25,000 per year has spiked as well (Federal Reserve Bank of New York). When the average price of a studio apartment in Chicago sits just over $1,000 (Smart Asset), but someone making 24K a year should only be spending about $625 on rent their lifestyle and standard of living is drastically different than the ‘average’.
Not only is the entire financial world quite a tumultuous place for graduating millennials, the prospect of even finding a job is a whole new ballgame. With advances in technology and the endless resources at our fingertips (AKA the internet) it’s amazing how easy it is to find information but how impossible it is to use that to your advantage during the job search. Previously, you could call up a business or simply walk through their doors to inquire about a job or to simply network. Now, millennials are drowning in a sea of job forms, recruitment sites, blocked emails and spam filters. Instead of applying to a person, many graduates are forced to apply for many jobs online, but what they don’t realize is that their fate rests in the hands of a machine-with a series of filter codes that pick and choose applicants based on a predetermined set of keywords. Even so, roughly 80% of jobs don’t even get posted so the job hunt is still dependent on cold emailing and the infamous Linkedin lurking (NPR).
However, things are constantly changing and millennials are following the ebb and flow of their circumstances. Many are able to find full time employment by six months after graduation and not all hope is lost. While I didn’t have a job secured by the time I received my diploma as planned, my diligence to work tirelessly and expand my resume paid off. But, the options are endless. Even with a degree you can pursue anything. Be a nanny, or bar tend, or work as a barista. Or you can travel, play in a band, or maybe even start a blog. There are always ways to make ends meet, the important part is to never stop chasing what you want to do. Success is not given, it’s earned. Graduating college is only chapter one, now the real work begins.