The 19 to 30 age group, otherwise known as Gen-Y, have entered the workplace in a volatile economic environment, and often struggle to find full-time work.
For those that manage to secure a job, where do they work, in what industries, and how much can they expect to earn?
A study released today by compensation data and software maker PayScale has shed some interesting light on these questions. The results were based on a survey sample of 500,000 Generation Y workers, however as not all questions were answered by all participants some values are based on a subset of the sample -- at a minimum of 75,000 workers.
The survey results were collected through July 2011 - July 2012.
The research suggests that many Gen-Y workers are not employed in large numbers inside America's biggest companies. Instead, by preference or opportunity, 47 percent of those within the workforce find themselves in firms with under 100 members of staff. Only 23 percent are hired within large companies of over 1500 workers.
"This report confirms that Gen-Y is an entrepreneurial group, highly versed in social media, and prefers freedom and flexibility over big corporate policies," said Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, a Gen-Y research and management consulting firm. "While they are the future corporate leaders and change-makers, they are suffering in this economy by having to work in retail jobs over professional ones. A bachelor’s degree can no longer be traded in for a job."
Potentially this is the case, although the research does not state whether this trend in working conditions is a choice or simply 'taking what's available' at the time. Considering that the average time with an employer is slated at two years in the report, perhaps it may be the latter rather than the stereotypical demand for flexibility and disinclination to work for a large firm.
The report also says:
The degree is losing value. Over 63 percent of Gen-Y workers have a degree, but the most commonly reported jobs that this age group fall in to do not necessarily require one. The Gen-Y are also more likely to hold positions as clothing sales reps, mobile phone sales reps, and retail floor workers than other generations.
The "best" companies -- which report the highest levels of job satisfaction, "meaningfulness" and flexibility are in tech firms. Qualcomm, Google and Medtronic took the top spots.
The most commonly reported job skills by Gen-Y focus on marketing and social media. In the U.S., the most common self-reported skills were Tableau Software proficiency, blogging, SEO, press writing and PCR analysis.
"Millenials are arming themselves with skills and educational training focused in technology and social media, two areas with great growth potential," said Katie Bardaro, lead economist for PayScale. "However, the shaky economy has forced many of them into a world of underemployment nonetheless."