The Millennial Job Dilemma:
Why Does Everyone Want Experience?

The Millennial Job Dilemma: Why Does Everyone Want Experience? -

Many job-seeking Millennials find themselves asking the same set of questions: Why Does Everyone Want Experience? How am I supposed to get experience if no one gives me a chance? Often Millennials find themselves with an education that gives them the knowledge necessary for a position, yet the lack of experience hinders them from obtaining relevant jobs.

How are Millennials supposed to get experience when the threshold for being competitive requires experience?

The truth is, the level of willingness for an employer to hire someone who lacks experience heavily depends on workforce supply and demand.

We will explain why this fact places Millennials at a disadvantage for many types of positions, and then we will discuss where Millennials have an advantage in the workforce.

Workforce Supply and Demand: Effects on Job Requirements

Similar to how supply and demand determine market price in a laissez faire economic system, workforce supply and demand effects the willingness of employers to accept low-experienced new-hires.

When compared to demand, higher workforce supply for any given position has the tendency to drive down the offered wage, while increasing the threshold of being competitive for the position.

For example, if a company is hiring for a business analyst position and 10 individuals have experience doing the exact same job elsewhere, then only those 10 analysts will be seriously considered for employment – the high supply of experienced individuals has raised the threshold of competitiveness. This particular company may have received 200 résumés with 150 individuals having the necessary knowledge to perform the job successfully. However, the 140 qualified applicants without job-level experience will generally not be considered when 10 people have job-level experience.

When companies require experience for an entry-level position, Millennials understandably ask: How am I supposed to get experience if no one gives me a chance?

Granted, no employer is going to consider someone for a top management position who lacks some form of management experience; however, whether or not the position requires applicants to have done the exact same position elsewhere, or whether they will accept someone from a lower-level management position, depends on worker supply and demand.

Why Millennials Are at a Disadvantage for Many Job Positions

In order to understand why Millennials are at a disadvantage for many job positions, we have to understand the age distribution of the US population. Everyone talks about the aging Baby Boomer generation, but what does this actually look like?

Here is a graph that shows the estimated 2015 US age distribution based on 2010 US Census data. In this graph below, Millennials are approximately ages 20 to 34 (green). Generation X are ages 35 to 50 (blue) and the Baby Boomers are 51 to 69 (purple). Notice a trend?

US Population Age Distribution (2015) - InvestGrowRepeat.comUS Population Age Distribution (2015)

As you can see in the graph above, there is a large portion of the US workforce that is over the age of 40 (the “working-age” median). In fact, about 56% of the working US population is over the age of 40. These workers obviously have a time advantage, in terms of experience, but the point is to notice the sheer volume of workers with this time advantage compared to Millennials (green).

Of the 44% of workers under the age of 40, most of them are under the age of 30.

If a company is hiring for an entry-level management position, the chances of someone older than the age of 40 with similar experience applying for the position is high. Why?

Because the Generation X (ages 35 to 50 in blue) have had to deal with their own workforce supply and demand issues. For a long time, the Generation X have been at an experience disadvantage compared to the larger Baby Boomer generation.

Going back to supply and demand for a moment: In the job market as a whole, the overall supply of low-paying jobs is high (high worker demand) while the overall supply of high-paying jobs is low (low worker demand). Not everyone can have a high-paying job because the supply of high-paying jobs is much lower than the supply of low-paying jobs.

For Generation X, the competition for high-paying positions has been extremely high compared to the low supply for these positions. Therefore, as their Baby Boomer competition has moved on to higher-paid positions (and retired), many of the Generation X have finally become highly-qualified competition for even entry-level positions that are higher paying.

Essentially, Millennials are experiencing the after-effects of over a generation long high-supply labor market.

Millennials are now asking the same question that many of the Generation X once asked: How am I supposed to get experience if no one gives me a chance?

However, the labor market will not be over-saturated with experienced workers like this for much longer. Within the next 10 to 15 years, we will see a rapid drop in the experienced labor supply due to the Age Cliff. In 2030, the estimated age distribution of working adults will look like the following:

US Population Age Distribution (2030) - InvestGrowRepeat.comUS Population Age Distribution (2030)

In 10 to 15 years, the majority of working adults will be under the age of 40, with young Millennials and the older members of Generation Z (orange) making up the largest age-group (ages 30 to 40).

To an extent, this Age Cliff will be good news to well-prepared Millennials for career advancement.

However, that’s 10 to 15 years from now. What about career advancement now? How can Millennials obtain higher paid jobs today?

Next, we will discuss what types of positions allow for Millennials to have an advantage over the Generation X and Baby Boomers in today’s labor market.

Types of Positions Where Millennials Have an Advantage

In today’s labor market, rapid change is good news for Millennials.

Millennials have their greatest advantage in job fields that have rapid advancements in technology and knowledge. For example, the medical field has both of these characteristics, where both rapidly changing technology and the need for advanced knowledge are in high demand.

Millennials graduating from advanced-knowledge degrees, such as nursing, have an advantage over older generations for obtaining high-paying entry-level jobs because the nursing field is rapidly accelerating into a more advanced medical profession.

According to Forbes and YI, other jobs where Millennials excel include: Physicians and Physician Assistants, Actuaries, Statisticians, Biomedical Engineers, Computer and Information Research Scientists, Nuclear Engineers, etc.1,2

All of these positions involve advanced knowledge that has been rapidly changing due to new discoveries, innovations, and technology. It is not a coincidence that most of these jobs where Millennials excel are STEM jobs (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

If Millennials want to excel in today’s labor market, then it is important to become competitive in the areas where demand is high and rapidly growing. For many Millennials, this means that establishing a successful career will involve pursuing STEM-based jobs. Those who do will be well-positioned now, and in the future, when the age cliff allows more experienced Millennials to enjoy high-paying job positions.

However, another frequently ignored way in which Millennials are succeeding is in entrepreneurship. Whether it be creating an app or building an online business, many Millennials are changing the way they approach the workforce, carving out their own path to success.

Related: 5 Steps for Online Passive Income

Related: How to Win in Forex

1 The 25 Most Promising Jobs for Millennials

2 Best Jobs for Millennials

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