GENERATION & EMPOLOYMENT

Millennials: most educated, overworked but underpaid

The available employment opportunities are few and will at the very most give them a middle-class lifestyle.

In Summary
  • They are tech-savvy
  • Boomers are peddler of a cycle of gatekeeping and unnecessary traditions in career spaces.
Young peopleat a fun function. A GeoPoll survey shows they prefer investing in agriculture to ICT, entertainment, online businesses and logistics as a side business./FILE
Young peopleat a fun function. A GeoPoll survey shows they prefer investing in agriculture to ICT, entertainment, online businesses and logistics as a side business./FILE

If you ask an officious bystander which age group makes up the Millennials as a generation, chances are the answer you will get is inaccurate.

See, the average layperson thinks that Millennials are people born in the wake of the new millennium, the year 2000. To get a background of generations, let's go back and start with the Boomers I generation which comprises people born from the year 1946 to 1954.

The subsequent generations are Boomers II, 1955 to 1964, Generation X from 1965 to 1980, Millennial from 1981 to 1996, and Generation Z from 1997 to 2012.

Now I am not a renegade nor am I a lobbyist for salary increment, on the contrary. Truth is the plight of the Millennials when it comes to salaries and remuneration is not special to one organisation corporate or otherwise, but cuts across different careers, companies, and countries.

The most educated generation is likely or is already less affluent than preceding generations.

It is true that Millennials earn less than other preceding generations.

Boomers view Millennials through an obtuse lens that reflects only their bias and stereotypes. They hold the view that Millennials are sluggish, always on the look for shortcuts, have no proper work ethics, are self-absorbed, and live beyond their means.

The paradox is that in fact, Millennials are more aggressive, more exposed, and skilled but overlooked by the very Boomers who castigate them.

Boomers are peddlers of a cycle of gatekeeping and unnecessary traditions in career spaces.

It is normal for employers to take in interns or attaches without pay, reason, they give attaches a learning platform and “invaluable” experience.

They take comfort in knowing that attachment is a requirement for graduation and the interns have to complete the same. Whatever happened to fair pay for fair days’ work?

What’s rich is boomers actually claiming that Millennials do not care about traditions and are susceptible to change. This goes a long way in justifying the underpayment and overworking of Millennials in most office setups.

 Most Boomer bosses are not conversant with software that is integral in corporate operations.

Bank managers are not updated with R software which is used for statistical computing and graphics. So who performs their tasks? The self-absorbed, susceptible to change Millennials.

Most Millennials hold a bachelor's degree and many are going for a masters' degree already. Most of my age mates' have boomer parents and from the top of my head not so many bachelor's degrees amongst them.

Also, Millennials were born during a strategic period. The World Wide Web was initiated in 1983 and popularised to the public in early 1991/1992.

A case can be made for Millennials as being the most all-rounded generation. So I choose to be a devil’s advocate and answer the big question in the affirmative.

The challenges they face range from exorbitant college tuition, hefty student loans, a slow economy, and unemployment.

The available employment opportunities are few and will at the very most give them a middle-class lifestyle. It is untrue to hold the view that Millennials have no saving culture. The correct position is that they cannot save for retirement with the bills and less pay.

Millennials have lower entry-level salaries compared to other generations and what's sad is that they might never up-scale to management level positions.

 Next time someone puts it to you that Millennials are not settling down, getting married, or buying houses, tell them that they are what we now refer to in popular culture as victim blamer.

Most boomers view us Millennials as being cry-babies, entitled, and narcissistic. Well, that could be the case, but it does not take away the fact that we are the generation that does not get a proper return for our input.

Newton’s third law of motion portends that for every action there is an equal opposite reaction. We should try this at the workplace where input attracts corresponding output (remuneration and career advancement) that is commensurate.

It is imperative, therefore, that employers create a conducive organisational culture to foster meritocracy.

Surely what Millennials might lack in experience, they more than makeup for in talent, industriousness, versatility, and qualifications. This is a conversation that should be robust in the corporate world.

Multi-national companies like PWC, KPMG, IBM, and Microsoft who recruit Millennials rigorously through trainee programmes should ensure that they have a clear path for career growth.

Millennials are the generation employers love to hate. Yes, I said.