Youth Need Jobs – For Everyone’s Sake

Many trends among Millennial can be explained in just two words: fewer jobs. Here are just a few examples:

“Younger alumni are giving at lower rates, and are more difficult to retain as donors — even when compared to those who graduated just a decade earlier.” (Inside Higher Ed)



“Millennials – also known as Gen Y and Echo Boomers – drive less than any generation that came before them. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 has declined 15 to 25 percent over the last 30 years.” (


The NPD Group, a leading market research company, found in its recent National Eating Trends survey that members of the Millennial generation, also known as Generation Y, have significantly decreased their rate of dining out. …Twenty-somethings were once the group that dined out the most frequently but their incidence of dining out has decreased greatly in the past two years.” (What Drives Millennial Food Choices, 08.12.10) 

This list is just the beginning. I could easily cite similar statistics from housing, higher education, travel, home appliances and more. In category after category, the marketing trends are not what was expected, and the reason is largely due to diminished economic circumstances.  The jobs that ordinarily would go to young adults are not materializing, or being occupied by older adults who simply can’t move on as planned.

Growth in many mature markets depends on population growth, but that is really just another way of saying we need ‘new consumers’ and ‘new households’ to grow. Our population may be growing, but households are just getting bigger as twenty-somethings move in together or back home.

A Millennial, Reeshma Saujani writes in the Huffington Post (Advocating for Young Americans), that “The dignity of work transcends class or race or gender — it is a universal American value, and we have an obligation to ensure that our young people have the chance to achieve their full potential.”  She’s right of course, but there is more at stake here, it’s the potential for our economy to get moving again.

Youth unemployment is an issue for everyone. 

According to Millennial expert, Don Tapscott, youth are under deep stress due to lack of jobs. In June he asked “Will Youth Unemployment Demonstrations Come to America?” 

“This spring, more than 1.6 million students graduated from American colleges and universities. Many will simply join the swollen ranks of the unemployed. After taking on enormous debt to finance their studies, many are ending up competing for unpaid internships or working in low-paying jobs for which their education is irrelevant…

According to the International Labor Organization, youth unemployment in most of the world is stuck at about around 20 percent. “Young people [are] nearly three times as likely as adults to be unemployed,” says the ILO. In Spain more than 40 percent of young people are unemployed, in Italy it’s 28 percent and in France the rate is more than 20 percent.

In the UK, many young people are simply giving up. There, about 40 percent of all unemployed are age 16 to 24, which means almost 1 million young adults are jobless. More than half of the 18- to 25-year-olds questioned in a recent survey said they were thinking of emigrating because of poor job prospects.

These shocking figures should be a wake up call for everyone.   Tapscott concludes, “Young people need jobs, and we shouldn’t wait for mass protests before taking serious action.”  

When Congress and the government finally resolve the insanely self-inflicted crisis of the moment, it is my hope that they will stop talking about the economy in global terms and start facing the real issue – lack of  jobs for younger workers or we may see youth radicalization in the West before long .