When you hear the stats about Generation Y, it can be easy to misjudge the current population of 18 to 31 year olds as a group of self-entitled slackers, a stereotype that has become baggage to this group of young people. The fact that only 60% of Millennials have a job, with only half of those jobs being full time, is quite unimpressive and makes negative conclusions about Millennials and their work ethic come naturally. It doesn’t help that a higher share of this group is still living at home than those their age since four decades ago, either.
However, if you look at the facts, you can see that Generation Y isn’t evading the workplace, they just have been granted less opportunities to enter it. After all, 250 résumés per every open corporate position isn’t exactly promising when you’re trying to land a job.
In spite of the troubles they face in these less-than-favorable economic conditions, Millennials continue to be one of the most giving generations to date and are actually a generation full of characteristics worth emulating.
While Millennials deal with the pressure of finding jobs, they are also devoting their time to causes enough to drive a 23% increase in volunteering in 16 to 24 year olds between 1989 and 2005, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service (many members of Generation Y were this age in 2005). The Peace Corps, Teach for America, and other volunteer programs are all gaining popularity among this group.
Not only do Millennials simply engage in the act of volunteering, they are in love with the causes they support and enjoy learning from their volunteering experiences and from the people they meet along the way. Just in 2007-2008, Generation Y spent a whopping billion hours volunteering! Millennials put both time and money towards the causes they support, and truly want to make an impact.
The negative stigma surrounding Generation Y is full of misconceptions. A solid résumé and a good work ethic isn’t always enough to earn you a job when the job market is tight, and this is exactly the problem Millennials face. This generation certainly isn’t lazy, but the resulting unemployment among them only fuels the idea that they are entitled, which is a disincentive for managers to hire them.
Millennials face a challenge when it comes to their future, but as they do they are still willing to give their time and money to causes that need it. Generation Y may not be so bad after all.
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