Millenial Challenges | Staffing Central Oregon

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There is a large group of Americans who are in an historically unusual situation. Multiple millions of them are still living with their parents, to where it has surged to record levels. And those who have achieved housing independence are buying far fewer homes than is typical for their stage of life. In addition, large numbers have consciously postponed having children. This group now actually composes the largest share of the workforce. Unfortunately they also represent an even larger share of the unemployed in America. The Greater Central Oregon area is directly affected by this demographic and staffing situation.

Who are these people? They are known as the Millennials, and they consist of those who were born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. Fortunately, many of them are doing well. But a large percentage have been struggling in ways that directly alter their economic decisions and behavior–and also strongly impact the broader economy. Millennials make up more than 40 percent of the nation’s jobless, while accounting for approximately 25 percent of the population.

Just one example of these struggles is a student who graduated with degrees in both English and education, and yet she had to apply to more than 200 positions over a year and a half period. She only heard back from four of these possibilities, and grew discouraged. She frequented job sites, passed out resumes. Eventually she considered just postponing a career and instead going back to graduate school. And at the last minute she finally landed a teaching job!

A major concern and even a danger for Millennials is that a difficult beginning can hurt careers for quite some time, said Mark Schmit, executive director of the Society for Human Resource Management. A new graduate who can not procure a quality job that fits her or his skills can find that career and income prospects become impeded. “We have a bit of a lost generation,” he said. “It becomes very hard, the longer that you are not in your field, to get back with it.”

A big problem is that numerous younger employees have spent years in low-skill jobs. In addition, quite a few Millennials have been underemployed. They are either working fewer hours than they need or desire, or employed in work for which they are overqualified. So even though more jobs are opening now, they lack sufficient experience of a more specific nature. And this makes enterprises more reluctant to hire them. Exacerbating the problem is that numerous companies have also slashed training budgets. As Schmit said, “You end up with open jobs and with lots of people in the group unemployed.”

One bright spot for Millennials is the fact that older Baby boomers are aging out of the workforce at an accelerating rate. “In the high-value jobs, especially,” emphasized Schmit. “Take the oil industry—50 percent of the engineers are retiring within 10 years.”

So there is at least some room for growing hope and optimism, and it is not just the oil industry where demand will grow. What is important for Millennials to remember is that there are particular skills that are already in a state of fairly high demand, both regionally and nationally. Younger people with software, technology, financial, and certain scientific skills are often doing better in the job market overall. So keep this in mind as you contemplate going to school, or going back to school!

Mid Oregon Personnel helps make this situation better by placing our applicants with highly-relevant jobs that often lead to satisfying careers. We leverage our strong, long-standing relationships with some of Central Oregon’s top employees to meet their staffing needs and YOUR career aspirations–millennial or not!


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