Millennials! Why aren’t your degrees working for you?

What’s happening, millennials?

We hear some of you complaining on social media.

We hear the cries. Why haven’t I landed that coveted job? Why don’t employers appreciate my worth? I am smart.

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I am fully equipped for the world of work. I consider myself highly knowledgeable in my field. I have two degrees. Why is my career path so uncertain? We didn’t expect this!

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We also hear people complaining about millennials complaining. Yes, life is hard, older generations say. Stop whining! This is the real world. You are adults. There is no guarantee you are going to get the perfect job. Why are you so “entitled”? Yu haffi try harder!

There is not much sympathy for millennials sometimes.

A report by the non-profit New America points to a worrying trend for American millennials.

“The Millennial generation is on a much lower trajectory of wealth accumulation than their parents and grandparents. Dramatically so.”

To put it bluntly, American millennials are not doing well. There is a very noticeable “wealth gap” between them and previous generations. Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) are actually more likely to be poor than Generation X (1965 to 1980) and Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964). Is this true in Jamaica, too?

The New America study notes: “The Millennial generation is on a much lower trajectory of wealth accumulation than their parents and grandparents. Dramatically so.” In the U.S., this means millennials are “settling down” and starting families much later. They can’t afford to do all that.

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What’s more, many millennials are left with student loan debt. Yes, they are better educated and well qualified. But they cannot find valuable work. They reject the idea of taking on what they consider unfulfilling jobs, such as working in BPOs. But in the U.S., Jamaica and elsewhere many young people with degrees are driving taxi cabs to make ends meet.

And millennials (Americans, at least) are not building wealth. In fact, they hold less wealth than someone of the same age did in 1989.

Now, the younger Generation Z is starting to enter the workforce. We have an ageing population, which often means that people have a longer working life. Competition for jobs is fierce. The job market is focused on more short term, contract, part-time work.

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Let’s face it. Many Jamaican millennials are not coping too well. Is it that they did not get the right kind of education?

So, what does the future hold? How can governments and the private sector help millennials out of this rut?

Let’s find some solutions.