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The Millennial Lie


College graduates are wrong about the lack of jobs.


MillenialBizPeople don’t want to work! There are plenty of quality jobs paying good money but a total lack of dedicated people. Saying that “nobody is hiring” is wrong. There were 5.4 million job openings in February (the most recent available data). Unemployment is currently 5 percent, the lowest economically sustainable level, so who isn’t working and what’s their excuse?

Millennials, the generation of Facebook activists and Bernie supporters, make up 40 percent of unemployed Americans. Millennials are also the most educated generation ever (and the most indebted). Why aren’t they working? Millennials, as you can see on just about any college campus in America, have a sense of entitlement unrivaled by any other generation. There are countless articles showing sympathy for recent graduates, armed with nothing but a degree in poetry or art history, so what should Millennials do to actually get jobs? Moreover, for the millions of Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 (the approximate Millennial range) without a college degree, what are their options?

First, let’s look at college-educated Millennials, and why they aren’t working.

On college campuses, there is a rather clear divide between students who know they will get jobs, and those who don’t. Pre-med students, obviously have a very structured plan; while arduous, it is well laid. Business majors, especially accounting and finance students, graduate with a diverse set of tools with which to enter the workforce.

On the other side of this divide are the liberal arts students, pursuing fields with no direct hiring options. The world needs historians, filmmakers, poets and painters, just as much as it needs doctors and lawyers, but these paths are very different. College students feel they deserve a job when they graduate, no matter what. This is wrong!

I fully support everyone pursuing their dreams, but what people don’t often realize is that this can be a long winding path. An English major may one day earn a living as a successful writer, but it is wrong to assume that day is “day one” after college graduation. An aspiring poet or historian may have to work for an unrelated business to start out professional life. Here’s the thing: Out of college, building a resume, getting work experience and making money are the important things to prepare for a successful life.

Millennials need to take responsibility for their lives. Just a few weeks ago, we offered a job interview to a college student. She showed up to the office 45 minutes late. Then, deciding to give her a second chance, I offered her a second interview, this time with me personally. She showed up 45 minutes late again! This sort of self-centered indifference and entitlement won’t get Millennials anywhere.

Unemployment is very low, and America is hiring. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, February saw 5.4 million job openings. Over the last 12 months, net employment increased by 2.7 million jobs. Businesses are eager to hire. As the economy improves, people are more willing to quit current jobs to move up, opening new jobs to Millennials. In February, 3 million people quit, contributing to the millions of job openings.

Sidebar: Four Tips to Hire &  Retain Millennials

Employers can solve the Millennial unemployment crisis by opening their doors to young job seekers. Be open to diverse resumes and not-yet-developed business skills. In the short run, hiring Millennials may not sound like a great idea, but if these new hires are managed correctly, they can become a great asset to your business. Here’s how.

1. Millennials entering the workforce need mentorship. When first hiring a Millennial, give them clear guidance, and make sure they know it’s okay to ask questions. Let new hires know your expectations, and help them meet those goals.

2. Remember, Millennials are the most educated generation ever, even if it’s not in business. Be open to hiring college grads with degrees outside your field. Increasingly, business and law schools are accepting students who studied something other than business or law in undergrad. Take a page from graduate schools – a more well-rounded employee will pay off.

3. Millennials will need to learn basic business skills they probably didn’t learn in school. In the short run, teaching Millennials these skills may cost some time and money, but, soon enough, you will have a well-trained, intelligent and loyal employee.

4. But in the end, know the difference between an inexperienced employee and a bad employee. An inexperienced employee may make mistakes, but will learn fast. A bad employee won’t bother to learn. There is no place in business for a new employee who isn’t willing and eager to learn.