Thursday, July 08, 2010

A New Generation Chasing the American Dream

On Tuesday the New York Times posted a column about a new generation of Americans who are finding the "American Dream" elusive in the current economic environment. The article is still the most e-mailed piece on the New York Times website, and rightfully so. As the article talks about "an age group — the so-called millennials, 18 to 29 — whose unemployment rate of nearly 14 percent approaches the levels of that group in the Great Depression." The rest of the article is equally bleak for the millennials:

For young adults, the prospects in the workplace, even for the college-educated, have rarely been so bleak. Apart from the 14 percent who are unemployed and seeking work, as Scott Nicholson is, 23 percent are not even seeking a job, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The total, 37 percent, is the highest in more than three decades and a rate reminiscent of the 1930s. 

The college-educated among these young adults are better off. But nearly 17 percent are either unemployed or not seeking work, a record level (although some are in graduate school). The unemployment rate for college-educated young adults, 5.5 percent, is nearly double what it was on the eve of the Great Recession, in 2007, and the highest level — by almost two percentage points — since the bureau started to keep records in 1994 for those with at least four years of college.

Yet surveys show that the majority of the nation’s millennials remain confident, as Scott Nicholson is, that they will have satisfactory careers. They have a lot going for them.

“They are better educated than previous generations and they were raised by baby boomers who lavished a lot of attention on their children,” said Andrew Kohut, the Pew Research Center’s director. That helps to explain their persistent optimism, even as they struggle to succeed.

That type of optimism is why companies should be looking at millennials as potential candidates as they start hiring again. It's not that older employees are bitter and are not worth hiring, but they may seem like better choices because of their experience. But the optimism and education that comes with millennials is worth considering as well. I am somewhat biased being a millennial myself, and seeing what my peers are going through who are unemployed, but I think that companies need to make sure to give them their equal shot at the American Dream.

1 comment:

  1. Nice posting!
    It's really helpful for me.
    Thanks for sharing.


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