Highly educated, sometimes entitled and incredibly humbled by the current labor market, Generation Y is hungry for work. But do employers understand this enormous and grossly underemployed demographic?
Nearly eighty million strong, Gen Y is loosely defined as those born between 1980 and 1994 (or 2005 depending on who you talk to). Raised in a kid-centric time, many continue to be coddled by helicopter parents not willing to wean their precious lot from the proverbial financial teat. As a result, Gen Y’s expectations of the workforce are vastly different from baby boomers and even the closely-related Generation X.
“When they get to the workplace, they have a sense of entitlement, a need for validation, difficulty in really discerning what to do because their whole lives were managed,” says Christine Hassler, a Gen Y career expert and consultant to American Express on Millennials. “They have challenges with making decisions and have expectations of work-life balance. They want their opinion to matter and [want to work] for a company that is really making a difference.”
Major employers are struggling to understand this often fickle demographic, choosing instead to focus on candidates familiar with the corporate structure. And in this fragile economy, a new employee who can hit the ground running is an asset. ”I’m seeing a lot of corporations saying they know they need to engage Gen Y and hire young employers because it costs less, but they don’t want to take the risk of hiring someone without work experience,” says Hassler.
The Congressional Super Committee hasn’t even started cutting Social Security, but advocates are already expressing concern on a different front: the payroll tax cut extension proposed last night by President Obama as part of his jobs plan. Those payroll taxes fund the Social Security program.
The President asked for a $175 billion one-year extension and expansion of the employee payroll tax holiday now in place, halving the tax rate to 3.1 percent in 2012. He also proposed halving employer payroll taxes to 3.1 percent for the first $5 million of payrolls in 2012. The president also wants a complete payroll tax holiday that would apply when companies grew their payrolls by up to $50 million in a year by hiring new workers or raising the salaries of existing workers.
Jobs, justice and peace. Have three themes ever been so intimately intertwined since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., championed this tri-partite campaign in his 1967 March on Washington?
Unemployment is ravaging the country, especially among urban minorities. Yet Congress has yet to put forward a comprehensive jobs plan to create employment. We’re still fighting two wars and garrisoning troops in Europe and Japan as the jobless rate soars at home. Debt reduction is still a priority over job creation.
We have iPhones, iPods and iPads. Why not an “iBank?”
This wouldn’t be an electronic gizmo that’s obsolete in a year, though. It would be a public-private partnership to bolster America’s infrastructure. It will create jobs, cut the deficit and repair what needs to be fixed all over the country.
An infrastructure bank, or iBank, solves a lot of problems without busting the budget. Instead of providing direct government grants or earmarks for specific projects, loans are made by a government-banking entity.
Paid vacation leave is the most widely available perk for employees, accessible to 91 percent of full-time workers, according to a new study on employee benefits from the Labor Department. But a new infographic on “The Overworked American” by the web magazine Good (click here or on the image at left to get the whole infographic) points out that despite these benefits, 36 percent of workers don’t use all of their allotted vacation days and a similar number take less than a seven-day vacation when they do step away from their office.
The reason is simple: U.S. corporations don’t have to pay U.S. taxes on the money when it’s sitting in offshore banks. They can defer taxes indefinitely.
When he isn’t hitting the books at Northwestern University this summer, Mike Boyle of Chicago dreams of making it in the music industry. And why not? With his ready smile, tousled hair and laid-back demeanor, Boyle comes across as sharp and affable, a hipster with heart. And he grasps the fine points of the business like few 21-year-olds you’ll meet.
Yet this organizational behavior major — who hopes to attend Northwestern’s prestigious Kellogg Graduate School of Management — is taking a calculated risk. Following a summer 2010 internship at Jeff McClusky and Associates, Boyle stayed on, although not stepping up to full-time work. Boyle instead works for the independent radio promoter 16 hours a week, earning the hourly equivalent of a well-paid babysitter. But if you ask him, this internship extension is a sure bet, even it doesn’t morph into a full-time job. “I don’t consider the experience risky whatsoever,” Boyle says.
The message from two influential bond traders is unambiguous: Instead of cutting government spending now, Congress should be spending to create jobs.
Employed people pay taxes, contribute to communities and buy homes, vehicles and appliances. This kind of stimulus is undeniable. Job creation is the ballgame now. Interest rates really can’t go any lower. The Fed did all it can do.
Most older job hunters are comfortable with basic business technology— computers, the Web, email and smart phones. But we still have some Luddites out there – you know who you are – trying to squeak by, hoping to finish their working years without getting fluent in technology.
That’s especially true of social media tools like LinkedIn and Twitter, which can play a big role in helping job hunters find new work in a hard-times economy.
In today’s dismal job market, it’s no wonder college grads are focused on finding a job instead of socking away money for the future. Unfortunately, young people aren’t the only ones befuddled by their post-career plan: 55 percent of Americans say they don’t know how to achieve their retirement goals, an ING survey finds.
But saving early is the key to building up a nest egg. A panel of experts brought together by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management last month offers twentysomethings this advice for getting started on reaching their retirement goals: