Are you on of the Unemployable Millennials

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Are graduates to blame for being “unemployable millennials”?

I was part of a graduating class of about 12,000 students. Many of us were eager to get out and start contributing to the world. We were ready to start our next journey and showcase the skills we gained in college. Most of us did not realize how difficult it would be to pin down our first jobs. Many people we turned to for advice told us that once we had our degrees we would be able to do whatever we wanted. We heard we would be able to move from job to job until we found what best suited us. But no one told us just how difficult it would be to get our foot in the door.

Unemployable Millennials microscopeI have had some friends lucky enough to get jobs in big fancy corporations. I have had friends who decided to start their own business and see how far they could take it. Other friends have settled for the first job that came their way out of fear that nothing else would come. Some are working for one of the many startups popping up all over major cities. Though, a large part of my graduating class is either unemployed or underemployed. Are they to blame for being unemployable millennials?

I have read many articles that lump large groups of people together. They try to provide vast explanations for large discrepancies. Labeling us as unemployable millennials is the easiest way to account for this epidemic. The truth is, nothing is as easy as it seems. A recent article written by Alistair Cox wrote, “Research in the US found that while 87% of recent graduates feel well prepared to hit the ground running in their new job, only half of hiring managers agreed.”

Are #millennials really unemployable? If so, who's to blame? #business #company Click To Tweet

That same article attributed this statistic to the fact that few graduates have the technical and vocational skills needed to start out in a field. They also claim that hiring managers report that recent graduates lack critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills.

I resent these accusations. Making broad generalizations about an entire demographic of people is impossible and even irresponsible. While the millennial generation does have a specific set of skills (or maybe lack thereof) it is impractical to lump them all into the category of “unemployable millennials”. These articles create self-fulfilling prophesies upon which millennials feel the need to act out. Or, they create biases in the minds of hiring managers before the millennial even walks into an interview.

Many #HiringManagers have biases before the #millennial walks into an interview. #business Click To Tweet

Older generations claim that the lack of skills millennials have are due to the increase in formal education. The belief is that higher education is teaching us to be book smart but inexperienced. It is interesting that people are so eager to criticize millennials. They are even willing to go so far as to put down receiving an education.

In my eyes the disservice occurs with the employers who value experience over education. After all, it is expensive to teach, train, and mentor. That’s why when millennial’s are looking for a job, they are confused when potential employers are looking for a 22 year old with 4+ years of experience for an entry-level job. When they do not fit these criteria they are immediately labeled unemployable millennials.

Do entry level jobs require an unrealistic amount of experience for recent grads? #Millennials Click To Tweet

Not all organizations share this mentality. Many of the most innovative, global companies see the value in adding millennials to their workforce. They offer incentives and perks, to acquire and retain this specific demographic. We have shared this info in a previous blog post.

Many companies, big and small, have also implemented what they call “reverse mentoring” programs. This is when executives employ interns or young employees within their organization to spend time with. They mentor both in and out of the business setting. The younger employees mentor the executives on everything from social media and trends to the newest technologies. The companies that use this strategy understand the benefits of hardworking millennial employees.

A millennial that was willing to spend time and money on receiving an education should be valued. Though he or she may need a little extra attention at the beginning, the individual has already proven their eagerness to learn and make a difference. They’ve proven that when they value something they are willing to spend the extra time and effort on perfecting it.

Millennials have put themselves in debt for the rest of their young lives because they care about themselves and their future. Millennials believe in all that they are capable of. I want to read more articles about millennial’s accomplishments, and less about broad generalizations of what millennials cannot do because of the year they were born.


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About Our Guest Author!

Halley Barnes is a graduate student at Rutgers University in the field of Communication. She recently graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication with a specialization in Public Relations and a dual minor in Digital Communication, Media, and Information and Psychology. She spent four years as a member of the division one Rutgers Women’s Lacrosse team where she served as the captain of the team her senior year. She was also named a member of the Big East All Academic team her freshman and sophomore years, and a member of the Big Ten All Academic team her junior and senior year. As an undergraduate student she made Dean’s List all eight semesters and was the keynote speaker at the 2015 Rutgers Alumni Leadership Conference. She was also inducted into various honor societies including Chi Alpha Sigma, National Society of Leadership and Success, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Halley loves traveling, trying new food, going hiking and kayaking, and spending time with her family.

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