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The different approaches to technology by two millennials

Share by email Millennials are widely thought to be less loyal to their employers than their older colleagues. But a look at the numbers suggests that many of the traits attributed to Millennials are related to prevailing economic conditions rather than to fundamental differences in their aspirations. The behavior of Millennials has been shaped by two major factors: However, other observed differences in their behavior—differences that set Millennials apart from people of similar age in prior years—largely reflect trends that have impacted all age groups, not just Millennials.

The hallmarks of the American dream, such as cars and homeownership, are more a dream deferred than a dream abandoned for Millennials. View related infographic online Click here Understanding Millennials In the United States, economists, businesses, and policymakers have been studying demographics intensely since World War II. Indeed, following the war, a new unit of measurement arose: The Baby Boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—were the first generation to adopt a widely accepted label.

As we describe below, Millennials are indeed different from prior generations of young people in a number of ways. For example, Millennials are living at home longer, are slower to buy a car, and are much more likely to have student debt. However, other than their high levels of student debt, many of the attributes associated with Millennials are the different approaches to technology by two millennials to the economic conditions prevailing at the time when they came of age like the Great Recession rather than fundamental differences in their aspirations.

Harness The Potential Of Millennials With Your Workforce Technology Strategy

It also can inform strategies for how federal, state, and local governments can overcome some of the perceived difficulties in attracting and retaining Millennials in their workforces.

Who are the Millennials? Numerous, diverse, highly educated, and drowning in student loan debt Numbering over 66 million, the current group of 20- to 34-year-olds—although they make up a smaller proportion of the total population than the Boomers—is the largest ever in the United States figure 1. Because Boomers are now moving into retirement and Gen Xers are fewer in number, Millennials have recently inched past the other generations to corner the largest share of the labor market they make up 32.

The Millennials are also more highly educated than those in earlier generations. Figure 2 shows college enrollment rates among young people in 1977, 1994, and 2009, representing enrollment among Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials, respectively. As the figure shows, the college enrollment rate among Millennials in all age groups is higher than the rate for either older generation. Completion rates are also increasing, with 39. Figure 3 shows that, despite decades of rhetoric highlighting the need for more STEM graduates, only a slightly higher proportion of Millennials than Gen Xers are graduating with majors in biological and biomedical sciences and computer and information sciences.

Millennials proportionately trail Boomers in all STEM majors except for computer and information sciences. Instead, many Millennials are choosing to major in business 21. During the 1995—96 school year, the approximate midpoint of when the Gen Xers were in college, 25. For the most recent school year, 2012—13, the proportion further expanded to 49.

For more detail on student loan debt levels, view our interactive version of figure 4. Not only are more students taking out student loans, but the size of the loans themselves has been growing rapidly.

It is possible that increases in student debt resulted from constraints on parental finances due to the recession. Before the recent explosion of student debt, young people with student loan debt were actually more likely to the different approaches to technology by two millennials on other types of debt.

To lenders, student loan debt has traditionally signaled that an individual had a college degree that increased earning potential. This is why, until recently, 25-year-olds with student loan debt were also more likely to have auto and home debt than those without student loan debt.

That trend has changed in recent years. Now, 25-year-olds with student loan debt are less likely than their student loan debt-free peers to have a mortgage or auto loan. As shown in figure 5, overall default rates on student loans after three years is just over 11 percent, although the ranges by school type vary considerably.

Economic forces constrain Millennials from finding good jobs and forming households Poor job prospects, as well as high levels of student debt, mean that a sizable portion of the Millennial generation has started out with distinct disadvantages. The Great Recession the different approaches to technology by two millennials younger workers particularly hard.

At its worst in October 2009, when overall unemployment hit 10. Although unemployment rates among Millennials have improved since then, they remain high today at 9.

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The unemployment rate for the 35-and-older group was 3. The combination of high unemployment, high student loan debt, and the bursting of the housing bubble caused homeownership rates to fall even more sharply since 2007 for those under 35 years of age than among the population as a whole figure 6.

For example, the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds living with their parents went up to 54. States with large military bases also have higher concentrations of Millennials. Many Millennials wish to relocate, and the time after graduating from college has traditionally been a common time for Americans to move.

Since 2007, Millennials have continued to move less than prior generations did at similar ages. In contrast, migration among senior citizens has almost recovered to pre-recession levels. For example, incomes of households headed by Millennials fell after 2007, and as a result, the cohort has hesitated to take on large amounts of debt.

However, these trends are not limited to Millennial-led households. Once they form households, Millennials display economic behavior similar to other cohorts.

  • Government workforces are greying, and the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Millennials make up only 24;
  • If Millennials are not motivated by the promise of a stable job and a good pension in 30 years, the thinking goes, how can government agencies attract and motivate these critical young workers?

We examine these economic trends in more detail below. Incomes for households headed by Millennials have gone down, but they are not alone We can see how Millennial incomes were affected by the 2007 crash by analyzing the triennial Survey of Consumer Finances SCF. Comparing real income from SCF for households age 35 and under reveals that these households experienced the sharpest decline in median income between 2007 and 2013 16 percentbut they did only slightly worse than households headed by 45- to 54-year-olds figure 8.

When we focus in on the last three years, we find an interesting pattern.

  • Finally, organizations considering relocation or expansion projects would be wise to put Millennial housing costs high on their list of factors to prioritize;
  • LRAPs have been shown to have improved recruitment and retention for hard-to-fill occupations such as public assistance lawyers 26 and teachers in rural districts—though with varying degrees of success;
  • Although unemployment rates among Millennials have improved since then, they remain high today at 9;
  • Numerous, diverse, highly educated, and drowning in student loan debt Numbering over 66 million, the current group of 20- to 34-year-olds—although they make up a smaller proportion of the total population than the Boomers—is the largest ever in the United States figure 1;
  • Supporting this speculation is that, among those 20- to 34-year-olds who are not heads of households—a proxy for marginal labor market status—we do see a trend toward less pride in their employer figure 15;
  • Robust telework programs give employees the flexibility to avoid commuting headaches altogether.

Income inequality for the under-35 cohort fell during 2010—2013, in contrast to the pattern among all US households. Households in the under-35 cohort have been taking on less debt since 2007.

Indeed, the Great Recession, with its detrimental impact on wealth and income, brought down both the ability and the inclination to take on debt among households headed the different approaches to technology by two millennials Millennials. Between 2007 and 2013, the share of households in the under-35 cohort holding any form of debt fell by 6. During the same period, the median value of household debt also fell by the greatest amount among the under-35 cohort 23 percent.

Notably, with the economy in recovery since 2010, debt levels have stabilized for some cohorts including the under-35 cohort and risen for others. In addition to mortgages, vehicle loans fell after 2007 among households headed by Millennials.

The proportion of households in the under-35 cohort holding vehicle debt fell by 12. Since 2010, however, this proportion has increased somewhat among the under-35 cohort, similar to the trend among some other cohorts. Credit card debt has also decreased since 2007 among those under 35—but it would be wrong to say that this decline is a purely post-2007 trend. The share of households in the under-35 cohort holding credit card debt has been declining steadily since 1995. Not interested in cars? Data on household finances from SCF add some nuance to these findings, showing that, while the percentage of those under 35 who own vehicles is indeed smaller than the comparable percentage among older cohorts, car ownership among the under-35 cohort is by no means dead.

For example, although the share of households with a vehicle as an asset among the under-35 cohort fell by six percentage points between 2007 and 2010, this percentage has recovered since then figure 10.

For further information on vehicle ownership among different generations, view our interactive version of figure 10. Millennial equity ownership is holding steady over time In the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession, equities lost much of their popularity.

Nevertheless, the share of households in the under-35 cohort that held stocks as an asset has remained fairly stable since 2007 figure 11.

  • Figure 2 shows college enrollment rates among young people in 1977, 1994, and 2009, representing enrollment among Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials, respectively;
  • In 2013, this same age group was made up of Millennials;
  • For a full discussion of our research on Millennials in federal, state, and local governments, we invite you to read a forthcoming companion piece to this report that looks more closely at the behavior of Millennials in public service.

This contrasts somewhat with the pattern for other age groups, among whom equity ownership has been more volatile. Also, between 2007 and 2010, the value of stock holdings both direct and indirect as a percentage of total financial assets declined for all households. But falling equity prices had as much to do with this as did changes in household stock holdings.

Moreover, since 2010, the value of stocks as a percentage of total financial assets has recovered among all households, including those headed by Millennials figure 12. Millennials in the workforce Job-hopping among Millennials: By choice or by necessity? Most of the evidence for perceived higher Millennial turnover rates appears to be a misinterpretation of age effects. As was the case with Boomers and Gen Xers, young people today tend to switch jobs more often than older workers, particularly before they settle down and have kids.

  1. Instead, we see almost exactly the same slope for all three years, simply shifted upward when the economy was booming 2005 and downward as it contracted 2010.
  2. Millennial equity ownership is holding steady over time In the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession, equities lost much of their popularity. Notably, with the economy in recovery since 2010, debt levels have stabilized for some cohorts including the under-35 cohort and risen for others.
  3. LRAPs have been shown to have improved recruitment and retention for hard-to-fill occupations such as public assistance lawyers 26 and teachers in rural districts—though with varying degrees of success.
  4. When the economy is shrinking, the opposite is true, and workers of all ages tend to hang on to the job they have.

Many labor market economists believe that there are two primary determinants of how often employees switch jobs: When the economy is growing, more jobs are available, and more workers of all ages are willing to take a chance and jump to another job.

When the economy is shrinking, the opposite is true, and workers of all ages tend to hang on to the job they have. Figure 13 shows age-specific turnover rates for all US private-sector workers at three time points: Particularly instructive is the portion of the x-axis showing turnover rates for workers aged 19 to 34.

In 2005, this age cohort was made up of Generation Xers. In 2013, this same age group was made up of Millennials. If Millennials truly had fundamentally different views on job-hopping, we would expect to see different turnover rates and different slopes for the lines representing these age cohorts. Instead, we see almost exactly the same slope for all three years, simply shifted upward when the economy was booming 2005 and downward as it contracted 2010.

For more information on turnover rates, view our interactive version of figure 13.

Many are still relying on seasonal or temporary work while struggling to pay off mounting student loans. Supporting this speculation is that, among those 20- to 34-year-olds who are not heads of households—a proxy for marginal labor market status—we do see a trend toward less pride in their employer figure 15.

In 2014, for the first time, non-household heads aged 20—34 indicated less pride in their employer than heads of household of the same age at a statistically meaningful level 90 percent confidence level. It is too early to tell whether this difference will persist. To dig deeper into trends in organizational pride, view our interactive version of figure 15. Creating a nuanced human capital strategy for Millennial workers Instead of believing the myth that Millennials are fundamentally harder to recruit, engage, and retain than other generations, organizations can leverage a more sophisticated understanding of Millennials to improve performance on key workforce indicators.

To do so, organizations should try to clearly understand which Millennial traits represent true generational differences and which ones are mutable and result from external factors. Key to improving the relationship between an organization and its Millennial workers is to treat them, not as a homogeneous block, but as a set of differentiated segments defined by their life milestones. An important area to consider for new and expanded Millennial workforce programs is the problem of education and student debt.

Employers can consider expanding and diversifying their incentives by addressing student debt and highlighting these programs in recruitment and compensation programs. Many organizations already offer some kind of tuition assistance for employees pursuing higher education degrees although in many cases, tuition assistance is a one-size-fits-all program. LRAPs have been shown to have improved recruitment and retention for hard-to-fill occupations such as public assistance lawyers 26 and teachers in rural districts—though with varying degrees of success.

Rising home prices in the cities most attractive to Millennials have made first-time homeownership out of reach for many, forcing many to put off household formation.