The young adult population in America is currently experiencing one of the worst times for young adult employment in U.S. history. According to a new report by the Brooking Institute, most young adults are either unemployed or working in jobs with no upward mobility. In comparing current times to those during the Great Depression, young adult unemployment has reportedly grown massively, and most of the problem is due to lack of need for entry level worker and a desire for highly experienced workers by employers.
Also contributing to the problem, according to the report, is a lack of racial diversity. Many of the most educated a qualified young adults fall into minority racial categories that due to inequality, is unappealing for many employers. If the job inequality issue is remedied, the report predicts that young adult unemployment could be decreased.
“An increasingly diverse younger generation will make up a growing share of the workforce. Improving the educational and employment outcomes of blacks and Hispanics is critical to maintaining a skilled and competitive labor force.”
Putting the racial gap aside, the report shows that many young adults are in the service industry due to lack of experience to pair with their education. There are reportedly several promising industries that accept and actually prefer young adults.
“While younger workers concentrate in low-wage service industries, some industries hold more promise for better career opportunities for young adults with less than a bachelor’s degree. About one in four young adult workers is employed in one of these promising sectors, which include manufacturing, transportation, logistics, and health care.”
With recent statistics published by The Atlantic showing that millennials and other young adults are both more educated and less financially stable then their parents were at their age, it is a wonder how this has occurred. The Brookings report names employers as the blame, but why are employers so reluctant to hire young adults? Reportedly, technology has a large part to play in young adult unemployment.
“While many firms appreciate the flexibility, energy, and tech-savviness of younger workers, they identify academic and soft skills, dependability, and ability to fit into the workplace culture as both fundamental requirements and pervasive weaknesses among younger workers.”
Employers who were interviewed for the Brookings report also revealed that the ways modern recruiting and interviewing, involves a little too much technology as well.
“Among the employers interviewed, some expressed dissatisfaction with their strategies for recruiting, assessing, and hiring entry-level workers for positions they deemed critical to their success. When they determined that their existing approaches to human resources threatened their competitiveness, they took concrete steps to better identify, train, and support workers in attaining the necessary skills and competencies.”
Summing up the report, employers want to hire employees they can meet before they hire, who are skilled professionals. Unfortunately, job descriptions often fail to mention the true requirements, and many young adults waist their time applying to jobs they have no chance of getting. The Brookings report also mentions what employers should do to contribute to the solving of the young adult unemployment issues in America.
“Employers need to identify more clearly the skills necessary to execute their business plans and improve their strategies to recruit, assess, and train for those skills; stakeholders need to support and participate in workforce intermediaries or employer partnerships that meet regional labor market needs; educators and employers need to strengthen their information flows and increase their use of industry-recognized competency-based credentials; and educators and employers need to work together to expand work-based learning opportunities.”
[Image via Space Coast Business]