5/22/2013 5:15 PM ET|
Millennials wait as boomers hang on
Slow-to-retire older workers are often blamed for stifling opportunities for younger generations. The theory doesn't hold up, but tensions remain.
Younger workers can't seem to get a break. Just as members of the Millennial Generation were trying to launch their careers, the economy fell into the worst recession in decades. Even now, with the economy gradually recovering, the obstacles don't seem to let up.
You'd think the picture for younger workers would be improving, with unemployment down to 7.4% for ages 25-34 from a peak of well over 10% in 2010. But try telling that to someone like Chad Heard, who's struggling to get launched.
Heard, 25, blames baby boomers at least partly for his slow career start. He graduated in 2010 from Augusta State University in Georgia with a degree in business administration, finishing with a 3.8 GPA, including dean's list honors and a prestigious college marketing award.
Filled with ambition, he went on 24 interviews in rapid succession, all for entry-level positions. Not one produced an offer.
"Employers kept saying 'You need more experience.' But the jobs I was applying to were entry-level positions," he says. "I have tons and tons of drive. I was like, 'Give me a shot!'"
Heard lives with his parents in Augusta, giving him the financial security to try a new strategy: working for free.
He took four unpaid internships, at an advertising firm, a historical-preservation group, an economic growth organization and a municipal redevelopment authority.
His fifth internship, at a property management and redevelopment company, came with a salary and ultimately turned into a permanent position. But he's still wondering how he'll move off the bottom rung of the career ladder. Happy as he is to have work, his job -- project management coordinator -- uses his marketing and advertising background only sparingly.
The problem, Heard believes, is that entry-level jobs, which traditionally go to recent college graduates, are now being offered to workers with several years of experience in today's highly competitive environment.
"In my opinion, this phenomenon (is) mainly predicated upon two things: the economy . . . and the fact that upper management is now retiring later in life. It's a ripple effect that is felt all the way down to recent graduates."
Certainly, boomers, who make up a quarter of the nation's population, are retiring later. They're delaying retirement to rebuild depleted savings, make up for lost pensions and repay home-equity debt taken on during the free-spending housing boom. They are also staying healthy later in life than earlier generations, and some prefer to keep working.
Survey results help tell the story:
- Most workers polled by CareerBuilder this year said they plan to keep working after retiring from their current employer.
- Financial planners surveyed in 2011 by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants said half of their baby boomer clients were postponing retirement.
- The average boomer now expects to retire at age 68½, according to Met Life's 2011 Transitioning into Retirement Survey.
But while the trend is clear, the impact on younger workers is not. A spate of media stories has popularized the idea that boomers stand between younger workers and their goals. But research doesn't bear that out.
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Washed cars, pumped gas and did small repairs at a service station, delivered groceries, delivered newspapers seven days a week. graduated high school, worked in a factory, joined the Marine Corp, back to the factory, Took night classes and took an entry level quality assurance position, got married at twenty seven, took a nine month sales and marketing course, worked as a commissioned sales person until sixty two. raised four kids, married forty four years, live comfortably with my wife also retired.
The point is life is not always easy, we have to change course when it makes sense to do so. Having a degree today is like not having a degree years ago. Today trades people make a hefty wage while college kids can not get work. Case in point a young neighbor GIRL is working for a plumbing firm in town. The owner is a friend. I asked why did you hire a girl to do such hard work? He said she was the only applicant, is a quick learner, never whines nor takes days off. He started her over three years ago at $14.00 an hour. Today she is making $23.00 an hour with full company benefits. Oh, by the way, she is twenty two years old.
They shouldn't be called the Millenneals, but Generation Whiners. Aw, poor baby... only 24 job interviews? Try over 100 after I got laid off in 2008 as a Baby Boomer!
Grow up and stop whining. Try working at McDonalds before reaching for the 6 figure job! How do you think most of us Boomers got started!
mabey chad should try to get a real entry-level position. I am starting to wonder if he did go to college. I mean realy , If a project management coordinator is entry level Chad is a dunce(not to mention mary should have notice that ) . It would have made more sence to say " College grads expect to make top wages in first job , Or they will live at home.
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