April 8, 2014

Millennial Unemployment: Why Parents are not the Issue

Upset teen and mother outside of houseCNCB recently published a story entitled, “Why millennials can’t find jobs,” where the author discusses the viewpoints of Dan Schawbel, Millennial Branding founder.

According to the story, Schawbel believes that, “millennials rely too much on their parents for career support instead of seeking other mentors.” The story explains:

According to his findings, 37 percent of young job seekers cite their parent as their mentor, 28 percent name their professor, 21 percent say their family or friend, and 17 percent say a current or former employer. A mere 1 percent cites someone they’ve found in an online networking group. (The total exceeds 100 percent because respondents were allowed to select more than one category.)

The story also highlights the survey by Adecco staffing agency, which revealed that 8 percent of the 22- to 26-year-old college graduate respondents reported that a parent had accompanied them on at least one job interview. The story explains that another 3 percent said a parent actively joined the interview.

I find this notion of millennials being unable to find jobs because of their “helicopter parents” very interesting. Particularly because, as a millennial, I don’t know anyone from this age group who falls into this category.

Even as I think of my five closest friends, all millennials and a mixture of males and females, I realize that each one has a job, college degree (with the exception of one who is a physical therapist) and, in terms of decision making, is completely independent of their parents.

So, this makes me wonder if the true reason millennials cannot find jobs is because they’re being coddled by their parents. Of course, my experiences from my personal connections are only a small portion of the entire millennial group—but then again, so is that “8 percent” that Adecco discovered takes mommy and daddy into interviews. I mean, 8 percent isn’t even remotely close to one-fourth of the millennial population; so, how does this tiny number justify such a large assumption that millennials cannot find jobs because we’re too busy being “babied”?

And if this dependence on mom and dad was the real issue for youth unemployment, wouldn’t it transcend borders? Back in September, The Wall Street Journal asked the question, “Should You Bring Mom and Dad to the Office?” The story explained:

It may be on the rise, but parental involvement in the U.S. doesn’t begin to match countries in Asia and South America, according to a 2013 study from the global accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

The study, which surveyed 44,000 people from more than 20 countries, found that just 6% of recent college graduates surveyed in the U.S. wanted their parents to receive a copy of their offer letters. That’s well below the global average of 13% and much less than some other countries, where it was as high as 30%. The study also found that just 2% of young employees in the U.S. want their parents to receive a copy of their performance review, compared with the global average of 8%.

Statistics show that compared to the United States’ 14.4 percent youth unemployment rate, East Asia and South Asia have the lowest rates at 9.5 percent and 9.3 percent. A specific example is Japan’s youth unemployment rate at 5.9 percent.

Overall America’s millennials don’t desire nearly as much parental interaction on the job search as millennials in other countries, yet millennials from other countries have more jobs than we do.

And to consider another aspect of this issue, America’s quarterly revealed that the youth unemployment rate in Latin America is 15 percent. Is this because of too much reliance on their parents? The article explains:

A variety of factors exacerbate the vulnerability of youth in labor markets. Barriers to employment for young people include:

  • Structural issues such as low overall economic growth;
  •  Low private-sector investment;
  • Insufficient entrepreneurship; and
  • Inadequate trade dynamism.

Demand for young workers is also affected by regulations and employment protection rules that reduce hiring incentives.

There are also barriers to labor market entry specific to young people, such as the lack of previous job experience, which limits access to first jobs and thus work experience. The dilemma increases during economic downturns because youth are often the last hired and the first fired. Firms dismiss young workers first because they have fewer skills, less training and less talent than adult workers who have been with the company more years and in whom the company has already made an important investment in training.

The youth make up 40 percent of the world’s unemployed; as studies are reporting, this certainly looks like a generation at risk. Yet, to help reduce these numbers and help millennials not only in America but around the globe, I think it’s high time we focus on discovering the true underlying causes of why millennials cannot find jobs—and I feel pretty certain that they don’t stem from who those in this group call mom and dad.

Read more in Unemployment

Marks’ stories have also been published in a variety of newspaper, magazine and online formats including The Arizona Republic, The Daily Herald, Arizona Foothills Magazine and various classroom magazines of Scholastic Inc. Service is her passion, writing is her platform and uplifting and inspiring the community is her purpose. Marks received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University.
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