The Millennial generation seems to be all anyone can talk about these days. Whether the discussion is memes or financial wellness, members of older generations can’t help but label Millennials as entitled, lazy and unable to fend for themselves. In many cases, it’s unclear who even classifies as a Millennial in the mind of the person bagging on them. It seems that the term “Millennial” has become a catch-all for young people these days. But are these judgements justified?
“Millennials are not lazy and entitled.” This is a knee-jerk reaction that many come to when hearing all over the news that Millennials are less financially stable than their parents’ generation was at their age. We have all heard our parents or someone’s parents wax poetic about how they struggled to work to put themselves through college. They love to paint that pretty picture of them walking uphill both ways to get their degree while sweating it out minimum wage style. The fun detail that is often forgotten is the ways in which the economy has changed since those good ole’ days.
Students are not demanding more financial aid, scholarship or action by policymakers to reduce or forgo the price of attending college because they are too lazy to get a job. On the contrary, inflation and rising demand for a college education has caused tuition prices to skyrocket. The purchasing power of a minimum wage income is nowhere near enough to support tuition payments, let alone survive on top of that.
In addition, the days where a high school degree was sufficient to find a job that will support a family in the long run are all but gone. A college education is a minimum requirement for many of the same jobs that former generations held without one. This much seems clear to most, though it hasn’t stopped everyone from doling out their opinion.
All that aside, Millennials are delayed financially when compared to previous generations. On average, Millennials are waiting longer to buy houses, leasing cars instead of buying them and waiting longer to get married or start a family. Why? These changes are results of both the financial crisis that has hindered our ability to establish ourselves financially and a culture shift.
It is clear that Millennials are still feeling the aftereffects of the financial crisis of 2008 because it came at the critical transition to adulthood for most. However, beyond economic factors, Millennials are adapting along with a changing world.
The huge increase in globalization along with the rise of internet has made the job market drastically different for Millennial graduates than for previous generations. LinkedIn found in a study of over 3 million graduates that on average Millennials change jobs four times in the first 10 years after they graduate.
That is more than double the job changes in comparison to the generation before them. Why is this? There are multiple reasons why Millennials are changing jobs so often. A study conducted by Dell Technologies found that 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet. The nature of a job market changing at such a high rate is that when new opportunities are created, people will leave their current positions and even industries to pursue them.
“A college degree used to slot you into a 40-year career. Now it’s just an entry-level point to your first job,” LinkedIn economist, Guy Berger said.
With all the new opportunities in the job market, Millennials are also finding that the fastest way to “move up the ranks” and get a higher salary is by changing jobs (15 percent salary vs. 1-3 percent pay raise from staying at the same job). As such, this prolonged transitory period in Millennials’ professional lives leads to a reasonable delay of things like getting married and starting a family.
So, the next time someone inevitably tries to say that Millennials are lazy, you know exactly how to shut them down!