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3rd Annual Study on the State of Gen Y Gen X and Baby Boomer Workers

PayScale and Millennial Branding Release Third Annual Study on the State of Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer Workers

Study highlights Millennials are having a harder time achieving financial independence than previous generations, are more willing to job hop; Report also finds gender wage gap is shrinking

Seattle, Washington and Boston, Massachusetts, November 19, 2014

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 the third annual comprehensive study comparing career trends amongst Baby Boomer, Gen X and Gen Y/Millennial workers.

The report includes data for the following eight items, broken down by these generations:

Gen Y: 1982-2002 (ages 18-32)
Gen X: 1965-1981 (ages 33-49)
Baby Boomer: 1946-1964 (ages 50-68)

1. The percentage of respondents who live at home, or who have lived at home, since starting their career, broken down by gender, job and degree level.

2. The breakdown of attitudes about how long workers should be expected to stay in their current job before looking for a new one, overall and by job family.

3. Characteristics of an ideal manager, overall and by job family.

4. Characteristics of an ideal job, overall and by job family.
5. Top 24 skills and top 15 majors, as determined by the relative commonness ratio, and median pay for each.

6. Underemployment by degree level.

7. Gender Wage Gap Comparison – Median pay differences by gender and also job level, using controlled pay.

8. Breakdowns of company size and industry.

“Millennials are the first generation that isn’t afraid to fight for equality in the workplace and this study confirms that they are starting to close the gender pay gap that has existed in the American society for decades. In an economy that is still struggling to recover from financial crisis, Millennials are slower to achieve financial independence, even those that have high-level degrees,” says Dan Schawbel, Founder of Millennial Branding and New York Times bestselling author of Promote Yourself. “It also shows that it’s going to take even longer for Millennials to bounce back, but they should remain optimistic. They will be the majority of the workforce by 2015.”

Highlights from the report include:

Millennials are having a much harder time achieving financial independence than previous generations. Twenty-four percent of Millennials who took the PayScale survey said they have had to move back home at some point after entering the workforce due to financial hardship. That’s compared to only 10 percent of Gen Xers and 5 percent of Baby Boomers. The percentage tends to decrease as education increases. However, while only 7 percent of Millennial PhD’s have had to move back home, 16 percent of Millennial MDs end up living with mom and dad after graduation.

Highly educated millennials are facing higher rates of underemployment. Gen Yers who hold a PhD report being underemployed at a rate of 34 percent, compared to 27 percent for Gen Xers and 25 percent for Boomers. And, Millennial MDs are underemployed at a rate of 30 percent, compared to 22 percent of Gen Xers and 21 percent of Boomers. Underemployment can mean they are underpaid for their education/training, not using their education/training in their current job or are working part-time but seeking full-time work.

Millennials are not entering the workforce with the expectation that they will stay with a single employer for long. In fact, 26 percent of Millennials say that workers should only be expected to stay in a job a year or less before looking for a new position. Alternatively, 41 percent of Baby Boomers say workers should stay with an employer at least five years before looking for a new job. Only 13 percent of Millennials agree.

The gender wage gap is shrinking. When corrected for job choice, experience and hours worked, the gender wage gap is smaller for members of Generation Y at all job levels than either Gen Xers or Baby Boomers. However, the gap still widens for Gen Y (as it does for all other generations) as responsibility level increases. Female executives across all generations see a greater disparity in pay than individual contributors.

Millennials want to own their own business. Millennials don’t just have an entrepreneurial spirit, they are more likely than other generations to study majors related to entrepreneurialism.

“While it’s easy to assume Millennials are willing to job hop because they’re less loyal to their employers than previous generations, you have to really look at the current economic climate to understand why that attitude has shifted over time,” said Lydia Frank, Editorial Director, PayScale.

“Millennials are often facing higher rates of underemployment, not to mention higher student loan debts, they’re struggling financially when they first enter the job market, so their first job might not be the one they were hoping for. Languishing in a job that doesn’t utilize your education or isn’t paying you what you’re worth isn’t a savvy career decision either. The job market looks different than it did when Gen X and Boomers were first entering it.”

About PayScale

Creator of the largest database of individual compensation profiles in the world containing 40 million salary profiles, 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 algorithms that dynamically acquire, analyze and aggregate compensation information for millions of individuals in real time. Publisher of the quarterly PayScale Index™, PayScale’s subscription software products for employers include PayScale MarketRate™, PayScale Insight™, and PayScale Insight Expert™. PayScale’s cloud compensation software is used by more than 2,500 customers including Mozilla, Tully’s Coffee, Clemson University, and the United States Postal Service.

Follow PayScale on Twitter: @payscale
Find PayScale on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PayScale

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.

The 2015 Millennial Majority Workforce Study

Hiring Managers Say Millennials Surpass Prior Generations In Several Key Business Skills, New Study Reveals

Millennials are projected to become the largest generation in the U.S. workforce in 20151

The majority of hiring managers now say hard skills trump personality when hiring

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA — October 29, 2014 — Elance-oDesk, the world’s largest online workplace, and Millennial Branding, a Gen Y consulting firm, today announced results of a new study, “The 2015 Millennial Majority Workforce.” Findings reveal that millennials are the generation considered best at key skills businesses require to remain agile and innovative. Millennials’ advantages over prior generations include the ability to adapt, come up with fresh ideas and keep up to date on emerging technology.

The survey was fielded in the United States among 1,039 millennials (21 – 32 years old, with a bachelor’s, Master’s degree or postgraduate degree) and 200 hiring managers (33+ years old and responsible for recruitment or HR strategy within their business). For full results, please visit: http://www.elance-odesk.com/millennial-majority-workforce. Results highlights are also in this infographic.

Millennials are poised to drive the future of business

In 2015, millennials will become the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, and 28% of millennial respondents said that they are already in management positions. A full two-thirds say they expect to be in management by 2024.

Nearly seven out of ten (68%) hiring managers say millennials have skills prior generations do not, and more than eight out of ten (82%) hiring managers feel that millennials are technologically adept. In addition, 60% of hiring managers agree that millennials are quick learners.

The majority (53%) of hiring managers report difficulty finding and retaining millennial talent, more than three times the number who say it is “easy.” The study also found that 58% of millennials expect to stay in their jobs fewer than three years. This contrasts with previous generations, with Gen X (born between 1965 – 1981) leaving a company in 5 years on average and Baby Boomers (born between 1945 – 1964) leaving in 7 years on average2.

In the “millennial majority workforce,” hard skills reign

The most recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover report3 reported 4.8 million job openings in August – the highest level of U.S. job openings since January 20014. This indicates record-high labor demand.

In order to fill their job openings, hiring managers are prioritizing hard skills over personality. 55% say they focus more on hard skills when hiring, versus only 21% who say they focus more on attitude or personality. 45% of hiring managers expect to become even more skills-focused in ten years (versus only 11% who expect to become more personality-focused). This is a shift, given research as recent as 2013 found that soft skills were most important, followed by hard skills5.

As focus on skills increases, companies are adopting new hiring methods. 41% of hiring managers plan to hire more freelancers in the next five years. Top benefits of hiring freelancers that the hiring managers cited include: ability to start work immediately, access to specific skills and scaling as needs change.

“It’s absurd that while we see a record level of job openings, millennials are struggling to find jobs and companies struggle to hire them,” said Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding. “Clearly, something is broken. Technology has forever changed where, when and how we work. Millennials are already more adaptable and focused on flexibility than generations before them. Businesses need to move more in this direction as well.”

Millennials are viewed as more adaptable, creative and solo-oriented than the generation before them

Hiring managers, asked to choose whether millennials or the generation before them were more likely to possess an attribute, painted the following picture:

Among the characteristics that hiring managers see millennials possessing, a number lend themselves to independent career paths. The survey found that freelancing appeals to the vast majority of millennials. 79% of millennials say they would “consider quitting their regular job and working for themselves” in the future. These millennials cited flexibility, the ability to choose what they work on and control of their own destiny as top reasons why they would choose to freelance.

“Hiring managers express the unflattering belief that millennials are more narcissistic than the previous generation. At the same time, they view millennials as more open to change, creative and entrepreneurial, the very qualities that fuel agility and innovation,” said Jaleh Bisharat, SVP of Marketing at Elance-oDesk. “That millennials are different is to be expected — they need to be. They are inventing what it means to be successful in a technology-driven world where workdays are infinite, needs change on a dime and independence and flexibility are at a premium.”

About Elance-oDesk

Elance-oDesk is creating the world’s largest online workplaces. Cumulatively, 3.7 million businesses and 9.3 million freelancers have tapped into www.Elance.com and www.oDesk.com to access talent via the Internet.

As an increasingly connected and independent workforce goes online, talent—like software, shopping and communications before it—is shifting to the cloud. This shift is making it faster and easier for businesses to hire for the skills they need, when they need them, while freeing professionals from set time and place work.

Freelancers are expected to earn more than $900 million in 2014 via Elance and oDesk. Elance-oDesk is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in San Francisco, California, and Oslo, Norway.

About Millennial Branding

Millennial Branding is a Gen Y research and management consulting firm based in New York, NY. Millennial Branding helps companies understand the emerging millennial employee by providing research, training, and advisory services. As representatives of millennials 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 millennial employees, and turn you into an industry leader. As ambassadors to millennials, we want to give our generation a voice, support their careers, and connect them with brands that understand their needs.

About Dan Schawbel

Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages. Dan is a columnist at both TIME and FORBES, and has been featured in over 1,000 media outlets, such as “The Today Show” on NBC and “Power Lunch” on CNBC, and “Fox & Friends” on Fox News. He’s spoken at Google, NBC Universal, McGraw-Hill, Oracle, Harvard Business School, MIT, Time Warner, IBM, and CitiGroup. Dan was named to the Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 List in 2010, the Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 List in 2012, and BusinessWeek cites him as someone entrepreneurs should follow.

About Red Brick Research

Red Brick Research is an internationally renowned youth strategy and insight consultancy headquartered in London, UK. Working with top consumer brands, educators, investors and governments, Red Brick delivers insights and strategic advice, supported by business consulting, research, marketing, communications and brand-development partnerships. The firm’s goal is to connect decision makers to emerging markets and demographics, to seek out and maximize new opportunities and turn global players into global winners.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted by independent research firm Red Brick Research on behalf of Elance-oDesk from September 1 – September 10, 2014, among 1,039 Millennials (21 – 32 years old) and 200 hiring managers (33+ years old). Millennials were graduates with a bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or another postgraduate qualification. hiring managers were company owners or managers with responsibility over recruitment or HR strategy within their business. The estimated sampling error for the Millennials was +/- 3.2% and for the hiring managers was +/- 6.9%. Millennial results were weighted to ensure demographic representation across sample, based on figures from the United States Census Bureau.

For more on the survey, a full results deck is at http://www.elance-odesk.com/millennial-majority-workforce, or contact [email protected].


  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections
  2. Millennial Branding & Payscale.com: Gen Y on the Job
  3. Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary
  4. CNBC: US job openings at highest level since 2001
  5. Millennial Branding & American Express: Gen Y Workplace Expectations Study


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