State of the Gen Y Worker Study

PayScale and Millennial Branding Release Study on the State of the Gen Y Worker

Report examines the Gen Y worker across cities, companies, careers, college degrees, compensation and job skills 

Seattle and Boston– August 21, 2012 – PayScale, Inc., the world’s leading provider of on-demand compensation data and software, and Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and management consulting company, today announced a comprehensive study on the state of the Gen Y worker (ages 18 to 29).

The study highlights that Gen Y workers — by and large — are not employed in large numbers inside America’s biggest companies.  Their preference is for smaller firms that allow for more flexibility, an opportunity to embrace their entrepreneurial ambitions, and the opportunity to use social networks at work without strict corporate guidelines.  The report findings indicate, though, that big technology companies where innovation is prized, salaries are higher and workplace programs and culture are more flexible are environments where Gen Y workers find significant satisfaction as well.“This report confirms that Gen Y is an entrepreneurial group, highly versed in social media, and prefers freedom and flexibility over big corporate policies,” said Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, Gen Y expert and bestselling author of Me 2.0. “While they are the future corporate leaders and change-makers, they are suffering in this economy by having to work in retail jobs over professional ones. A bachelor’s degree can no longer be traded in for a job.”

Additional highlights from the report include:

1. Over 63% of Gen Y workers have a Bachelor’s Degree, but the most commonly reported jobs for Gen Y don’t necessarily require a college degree. Gen Y workers are more likely to hold the following positions than other U.S. workers: Merchandise Displayer (5.36x more likely); Clothing Sales Representative (4.63x more likely); Cell Phone Sales Representative (4.03x more likely). This is a strong indicator of the underemployment issue in the U.S. today.

2. The best companies for Gen Y are all technology companies. The top five – ranked on Gen Y pay, percentage of Gen Y employees, Gen Y job satisfaction, Gen Y job stress, meaningfulness of job for Gen Y workers, Gen Y schedule flexibility and green score – are (1) Qualcomm, (2) Google, (3) Medtronic, (4) Intel, and (5) Microsoft.

3. Most of Gen Y isn’t working for large companies. The highest concentration of Gen Y workers are at small companies with less than 100 employees (47%), followed by medium companies that have between 100 and no more than 1,500 employees (30%), and the fewest work in large companies with more than 1,500 employees (23%).

4. The most common Gen Y job skills center around online marketing and social media. The five most commonly reported job skills for Gen Y workers, relative to all U.S. workers, in order, are (1) Tableau Software, (2) Blogging, (3) Social Media Optimization, (4) Press Releases, and (5) Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Analysis.

5. Gen Y is embracing science and entrepreneurism. Gen Y is more likely to choose the following college majors, relative to all U.S. workers: (1) Neuroscience (1.95x more likely); (2) Bioengineering (1.86x more likely); (3) Entrepreneurial Studies (1.82x more likely).

6. Seattle is the best large metro area for Gen Y workers. Of the 20 largest metro areas in the U.S., Seattle comes out on top for Gen Y, due to strong wage growth (4.4% increase between Q2 2009 and Q2 2012), high median pay for Gen Y ($44,000) and a strong presence of tech firms, which are top employers for Gen Y.

“Millenials are arming themselves with skills and educational training focused in technology and social media, two areas with great growth potential,” said Katie Bardaro, lead economist for PayScale. “However, the shaky economy has forced many of them into a world of underemployment nonetheless.”

About PayScale

Creator of the largest database of individual compensation profiles in the world, PayScale, Inc. provides an immediate and precise snapshot of current market salaries to employees and employers through its online tools and software. PayScale’s products are powered by innovative search and query algorithms that dynamically acquire, analyze and aggregate compensation information for millions of individuals in real time. Publisher of the quarterly PayScale Index TM, PayScale’s subscription software products for employers include PayScale MarketRate TM  and PayScale Insight TM. Among PayScale’s 2,200 corporate customers are organizations small and large across industries including Zappos, Volunteers of America and Manpower.

About Millennial Branding

Millennial Branding is a Gen Y research and management consulting firm based in Boston, Mass. Millennial Branding helps companies understand the emerging Gen Y employee by providing research, training, and advisory services. As representatives of Gen Y and advisers to management, our goal is to provide research and insights that will make you more profitable, grow your market share, help you understand your Gen Y employees, and turn you into an industry leader. As ambassadors to Gen Y, we want to give our generation a voice, support their careers, and connect them with brands that understand their needs.

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