It's tougher than it appears for the millenial generation
PLUGGED in, narcissistic and upbeat, America’s twenty-somethings may be the most educated, diverse and digitally savvy generation in the country’s history. They are also most likely to be living with their parents. Though they burst into the workforce with expectations of fun and fulfilment (leading employers to grouse about their sense of entitlement), they have been delivered a slap by the recession. Nearly 16% of 18-24-year-olds are unemployed, almost double the national average. Most are simply struggling to keep their heads above water, according to the MacArthur Research Network.
The young in previous generations have also tended to drift, yet “opportunity structures today are less forgiving of trifling mistakes.” That is one of the conclusions of “Not Quite Adults”. Drawing on eight years of data and more than 500 interviews with young people between 18 and 34, Richard Settersten and Barbara Ray dismantle the common belief that this generation has been coddled into laziness. Rather, these young adults have come of age at a particularly merciless moment. Even before the recession, which will wreak lasting havoc on their earning power and trust in government, the market had ceased rewarding diligent, low-skilled labour with reasonable pay and benefits. Employment is now largely divided into well-paid, highly-skilled jobs and the poorly paid, less-secure jobs of the service sector. The middle has been hollowed out, on-the-job training is rare and good posts hard to come by.
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