Nearly everyone agrees that recent college graduates are having an inordinately tough time finding work almost five years after the end of the Great Recession. Young people aged 18 to 34 have struggled with double-digit unemployment and account for half of the 10.9 million unemployed Americans, according to government figures.
Now a new study shows there is widespread disagreement between business leaders and young adults and their families over the root causes of this problem, beyond the obvious problem of a sluggish recovery.
Nearly three-quarters of hiring managers complain that millennials – even those with college degrees – aren’t prepared for the job market and lack an adequate “work ethic,” according to a survey from Bentley University, a private business school in Waltham, Mass. (The Surprising Reason College Grads Can’t Get a Job)
As the parent of a few of these millennials, I would like to address the “work ethic” issue. What I have seen is that the millennials have as good, if not better, work ethic than anyone. But they also have a lot less patience for nonsense. They won’t work in a bad work environment or put up with bosses who are bullies. They work hard and demand respect. It is not a lack of a work ethic when you refuse to be treated badly. It is not a lack of work ethic if you don’t want to be underpaid, or to work without benefits. It is not a lack of a work ethic that there are not enough jobs. All those companies that cut jobs? Why aren’t those jobs back? Because the folks in the middle and at the bottom are working harder for less, and the folks at the top are making a lot more. Those jobs need to come back. Pay needs to be fair and just.
They are a different breed. They have high expectations of themselves and others. It is not business as usual anymore. This is a good thing. The days of a career with one company, and tolerating a bad workplace, all for the gold watch are gone. The problem isn’t the kids. The problem is bigger and more complex. I think the kids know this, and will continue to push for things to be better. Just wait until they really get rolling. I expect great things from this generation.