Hiring Gen Y (Step 1A): Understanding the Facts
by Traci K and BrightMove Staffing Software and Recruiting Software
Doomsday HR statistics over the past 5 to 10 years have shown that the steady retirement of Baby Boomers and the lack of skilled workers coming up through ranks will eventually lead to a massive shortage. Though the economic downturn has slowed this slightly with Baby Boomers hanging on a little longer, the net effect is still going to be the same somewhere down the line. Young Generation Y professionals are going to be required to step up and come into roles that they might not be ready for. In order to make this inevitability a smoother transition on us all, there are few things to consider. Any recruiter worth their weight in gold should be developing their strategies if they haven’t done so already…
First of all, in order to develop and retain Gen Yers, you have to hire them first. In order to hire them, you have to appeal them. In order to appeal to them, you have to understand them (I’m sensing a pattern here…). Generation Y is a unique sort of breed. They have differing views from others in the workforce. The key to successfully recruiting and hiring them is to gain as much information as you can, using it to your advantage and aiming to see things from their point of view. Let’s cover a few basics:
Generation Y Quick Facts
Definition: Roughly categorized as those born between 1980 and 2000, population estimated at 80 million
Nicknames: Generation Y, Gen Y, Millennials, Net Generation, Digital Babies, Generation Next, Echo Boomers
Major Events (to name only a few off the top of my head): Ending of USSR, Columbine, Persian Gulf War, The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Bill Clinton scandal, Chicago Bulls reign, cloning, OJ Simpson trial, Oklahoma City bombing, Y2K, 9/11, Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, SARS, H1N1, Indian Ocean Tsunami, earthquake in Haiti
In more detail, Rosetta Thurman pulls relevant facts (36 to be exact) for a July 2010 post on Generation Y – they are nicely categorized too:
- Generation Y is more ethnically and racially diverse than older generations, with people of color making up about 40% of our population.
- Half of all young people of color are Hispanic.
- About 40% of all young adults ages 18 to 24 were enrolled in either a two- or four-year college in October 2008.
- So far, 1 in 5 Millennials are college graduates. An additional 26% are currently in school and plan to graduate from college, while an additional 30% are not in school but expect to someday earn a college degree.
- Younger whites are about twice as likely as blacks or Hispanics to have finished college (22% vs. 10% for both blacks and Latinos). But blacks are significantly more likely than whites or Hispanics to say they want to earn a college diploma.
- About 37% of 18- to 29-year-olds have been underemployed or out of work during the recession, the highest share among the age group in more than 30 years.
- Nearly 2/3 of all Millennials have full- or part-time jobs.
- 13% of all Millennials are students who do not work for pay.
- Almost 6 in 10 employed Millennials say they already have switched careers at least once.
- About 60% of younger workers say it is not very likely or not likely at all that they will stay with their current employers for the remainder of their working life. (In contrast, 62% of Generation X workers say it’s likely they will never leave their current employer while 84% of Baby Boomers expect to remain with their current employer for the rest of their working life.)
- Only 1/3 of Millennials say their current job is their career.
Debt & Financial Outlook
- 36% of all Millennials depend on financial support from their families, including 14% of all young adults who are working full time.
- More than one in three young workers say they are currently living at home with their parents.
- 31% of young workers are uninsured.
- One-third of young workers cannot pay their bills.
- 7 in 10 young workers do not have enough saved to cover two months of living expenses.
- Roughly half of households headed by someone under 35 carry a credit card balance.
- 41% of younger households have auto loans.
- In 2008, 67% of students graduating from four-year colleges and universities had student loan debt.
- Average debt levels for graduating seniors with student loans rose to $23,200 in 2008.
- Only 58% of Millennials pay their monthly bills on time.
- 60% of workers 20 to 29 years old cashed out their 401(k) retirement plans — typically a big financial no-no because such a move squanders retirement assets and forces the recipient to pay a tax penalty — when they changed or lost jobs.
- On average, Generation Yers each have more than three credit cards, and 20% carry a balance of more than $10,000.
Sources:  Pew Research Center 2010 report, Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next  AFL-CIO 2009 report, “Young Workers: A Lost Decade”  Demos 2010 report, “Risking Our Future Middle Class”  Project on Student Debt, Quick Facts January 2010  USA Today April 2010 article, “Generation Y’s steep financial hurdles: Huge debt, no savings”
Technology & Online Habits
- 93% of teens ages 12-17 go online, as do 93% of young adults ages 18-29.
- 75% of Millennials have created a profile on a social networking site.
- 1 in every 5 Millennials have posted a video of themselves online.
- 41% of Millennials use only a cell phone and have no landline.
- Over half of YouTube’s users are under 20 years old.
- 53% of the total blogging population is 21-35 years old.
Lifestyle, Civic Engagement, Family
- Almost 40% of all Millennials have a tattoo (about half of those with tattoos have two to five tattoos and 18% have six or more). 70% say their tattoos are hidden beneath clothing.
- 1 in 4 Millennials are unaffiliated with any religion.
- In 2008, 66% of Millennials voted for Barack Obama for president, compared with 50% of those 30 and older, the largest disparity between younger and older voters in 40 years.
- Just 2% of Generation Y males are military veterans. (At a comparable stage of their life cycle, 6% of Gen Xer men, 13% of Baby Boomer men and 24% of Silent Generation men were veterans.)
- 61% of Millennials grew up in a two-parent household, a smaller percentage than the three previous generations.
- 21% of Millennials are married (half the percentage of their parents’ generation at the same ages).
- 34% of Millennials are parents.
That’s a lot of information/statistics, but it’s helpful to understand how Generation Y compares to you. In the next post, we’ll go one to Step One B – Understanding the Generalizations and Stereotypes. Working through the comprehension process for Generation Y only serves to better enable you when tailoring your job advertising and progressing through the hiring process.
Traci K. is an HR Professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in recruitment and immigration. When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children.