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Social Networks Shape Employment

Popularity 6Viewed 8683 times 2015-10-13 02:48 |System category:Economy| Millennials, job, employment, recession, immigrants

How Social Networks Shape Employment For Millennials

There's no official definition of what a “Millennial” is but most estimates put it as someone born between 1980 and 2000. There are currently 48.7 million adults between 18-30, about 22% of the total adult population. That’s about twice the size of the senior population (66+ years). With many graduating just before the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, Millennials had to make important decisions about their educational and career paths as they entered a labor market during a time of great economic uncertainty. Their early adult lives have been shaped by the experience of establishing their careers at a time when economic opportunities were scarce.

With the first cohort of Millennials only in their early thirties, most members of this generation are at the beginning of their careers and many Millennials are unemployed. According to a Pew Research, 37% of 18 to 29-year-olds don’t have jobs, the highest share in three decades. Those who can afford to attend college are going to less-expensive state schools or community colleges and many are moving back home after graduation. More than a third depend on family members for regular financial assistance.

With a disproportionately large share of immigrants, the Millennial generation’s workforce is highly likely to grow even further in the near future. Immigrants coming to the U.S. are in their young working years since relatively speaking, with few arriving in the U.S. in their early childhood years. In the past five years, over half of newly arrived immigrant workers have been Millennials. The share of Millennials who are foreign born is increasing so a network that helps them integrate more seamlessly would be beneficial to the economy as a whole.

Millennials report that family and relationships are more important than previous generations. Technology that allows people to stay in touch with friends and family will be especially useful when they need help with anything: job referrals, advice, mentoring, or introductions to the right people who can help them. In fact, many have attributed the tremendous success of Indian immigrants such as Microsoft's Satya Nadella to their strong personal networks.

However, for Millennials, being connected to professional networks is more than having a resume on LinkedIn. Three quarters of Millennials have an accounts on a social networking sites, compared with only half of Generation Xers and less than a third of the Baby Boomers. People are posting and sharing job openings on Facebook and Twitter, not just on Monster and Indeed. Trustly, a new mobile app geared toward Millennial job seekers, is blurring the line between professional job seeking and social media engagement.

Another change we see is that Millennials are better educated than prior generations (older Millennials and Gen-Xers are better educated than their parents and grandparents). A higher proportion of 18- to 24-year-olds are going to college now than at any time in the past. As a result of being better educated and more familiar with technology, Millennials are more connected to each other than in previous generations and a quarter of Millennials believe that their relationship to technology is what makes their generation unique. Millennials are coming of age in a world in which the frontiers of technology appears unlimited, and as a result, have become so dependent on it that they're demanding mobile apps for everything--from ordering food (Seamless), to hailing cabs (Uber), and even applying for jobs (Trustly).

Among 18 to 34 year-olds, college enrollment stood at 19% in 2010, up from 15% in 1995. Graduate school enrollment for the same age group has increased at an even faster rate, jumping from 2.8% in 1995 to 3.8% in 2010 – a 35% increase. With so many Millennials enrolling in college, there has been an unprecedented expansion of higher education to lower-income and underrepresented minority students. Since these students can lack successful role models in their local community, they can connect to mentors through social networks for advice and guidance.

Millennials report that having a career and having a family is important, but at this stage, they may be focusing on establishing a career. The number of Millennial women breadwinners has steadily increased since 1967 because of both a decrease in labor participation by men and also a greater share of unpartnered mothers. Younger, more educated women also delay having families until after they've established their careers and by then, they can earn as much (or sometimes more) than their partners.

Since most Millennials grew up in a household where both parents worked, and their children are even more likely to live in such a household, Millennials are used to balancing family and work obligations. Unfortunately, only 45 percent of Millennials have access to paid leave (compared to about 66 percent of older workers). Therefore, access to flexible work arrangements or paid parental leave are especially important nowadays when job seekers evaluate employers and for this reason, having an insider who will honestly and privately communicate “company culture” is paramount.

As younger workers enter the labor market and face low wage growth, limited opportunities, and a weaker economy, the traditional methods of seeking employment are becoming increasingly irrelevant. To solve their unique challenges, Millennials are turning to social media and specifically networking sites to leverage relationships by integrating their personal lives into their professional identities.

I work at Cross Circles, which develops the Trustly app.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (7 comments)

Reply Report voice_cd 2015-10-13 11:09
Thanks for sharing your story here. We have highlighted your blog.
Reply Report Howman 2015-10-13 12:45
Great insights!
Reply Report snowipine 2015-10-14 10:47
have a flexible work schedule and. the post fits to one's favorite, that is a wonderful job.
Reply Report NinjaEconomics 2015-10-15 00:40
You're very lucky indeed :)
Reply Report seanboyce88 2015-10-17 23:06
Interesting article, this part though:

"Another change we see is that Millennials are better educated than prior generations (older Millennials and Gen-Xers are better educated than their parents and grandparents). A higher proportion of 18- to 24-year-olds are going to college now than at any time in the past"

More people go to college, but I feel that it isn't as in depth as it used to be, education is turning into another commodity to be sold, and I feel the quality has dropped as a result. The masters class at my old uni used to have 30-40 students per class, now it has 200. I think that may create a drop in quality.

Nice article.
Reply Report enlighting 2015-11-9 12:26
Good article. I got some insights in writing an article related to Economics :) Thanks!
Reply Report mauriciomunhoz 2017-3-6 11:12
a good approach

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Social Policy (Columbia University) | Quantitative Analysis (Harvard University) | Economic Theory (College de France) | Follow me on Twitter @NinjaEconomics


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