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Millennials Forced To Move Back Home After Starting Career

Higher rate than Gen X and baby boomers when they started in the workforce, study says.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy
Written by Dan Fastenberg, AOL Jobs

Everyone knows Mark Zuckerberg is no normal millennial. Indeed, he recently purchased four homes neighboring his personal house for the sole purpose of controlling who can move in next to him. Such a purchase would be a power play for anyone, and in any economy, but it turns out to be a particularly remarkable move for Zuckerberg's generation. 

new survey from Millennial Branding, a Generation Y research firm, and PayScale, finds that 28 percent of those born after 1982 have had to move home after launching their career as a result of financial hardship. The rate is roughly three times higher than it was for Generation X (born between 1965-1981) and six times higher than Baby Boomers (1946-1964) when those cohorts entered the workforce. (The study was based on PayScale's salary database and the results were culled from roughly one million workers.)

Not just a blip
What's to make of this cultural shift? This is not just a blip for millennials, Dan Schawbel, the founder of Millennial Branding and author of Promote Yourself, told AOL Jobs in an interview. "Millennials are delaying adulthood and this is how it's going to be from now on. All the data suggests a permanently different economy," he said, also pointing out that millennials don't hit a median wage of $42,000 until they're 30. "This is the first American generation that won't have the same quality of life as the previous generation."

Other interesting nuggets from the study:
  • Millennials are most likely of the three cohorts to work at small firms, defined as less than 100 workers. (56 percent vs. 48 for Gen-X and 50 percent for Boomers.)
  • Millennials report the lowest levels of job satisfaction, even though they also report the lowest levels of job stress.
  • The pay gap between the genders is smallest for Gen Y as compared to the other two cohorts.

The report is the latest in a raft of recent studies that depict America's youngest workers further behind where they should be on the road to becoming self-sufficient adults. Perhaps the most glaring of these reports was a recent study released by the Opportunity Nation coalition which found that 15 percent of those between the ages of 16 and 24, or six million people, are neither in school nor working, as the Associated Press reported.

Geography a factor
The problem of "idle youth" is concentrated in certain geographic regions throughout the country. In the states of Mississippi and West Virginia, for instance, one in 5 young people find themselves in the "idle" category. "Destiny is too often determined by their ZIP code," Charlie Mangiardi, who works with Year Up, a not-for-profit that trains young adults, told the AP. Indeed, in areas with higher rates of idle youth there was also a noticeably larger likelihood of poor Internet access, lower college graduation rates and income inequality.

Other reports, however, suggest millennials' professional conduct is as much to blame for their professional problems as external factors. As AOL Jobs reported last winter, a separate study conducted by Millennial Branding found that less than half of Generation Y, or 40 percent, have completed an internship in college. But it's not because they think internships are unimportant; 85 percent of Gen-Y said internships are vital to launching a career.

Amid such an environment, it perhaps should come as no surprise that 54 percent of collegegraduates under 25 are unemployed or doing a job that doesn't require a college degree like being a waiterretail clerk or a receptionist.

Millennials, however, remain optimistic, and continue to look to their work as a means of fulfillment, not just as a job for the express purpose of paying the bills. According to a separate study, this one by Monster-GfK Survey, 62 percent of Americans between the ages of 18-30 look to their work as a "career" and not just as a "job." The figure for Baby-Boomers stood at 48 percent. 

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