This chart shows that Millennials are on track to be the most educated generation so far. This next chart compares the percentage of the population with a bachelor’s or higher degree with those who stopped after high school. It also shows that median income has barely moved for five decades.
Another source published in 2009 from the Center for Effective Organizations offers an economist’s view on the millennial workforce. It’s a fascinating read. On the topic of college education, Alec Levenson finds that 16% of people age 25-29 in 1970 had a college degree. In 2008, that number was 31%. That’s about double in 38 years.
(Tangent: Tracking education rates in the census did not even start until 1840 and even then it was considered “not satisfactory” according to D. C. Gilman.)
So what does this mean? Well, nothing. Education is always improving. We’re obtaining degrees at a higher rate than our parents and their parents. This CNN Money article presents us with this chart which shows that Millennials are also employed at a fewer rate than our parents.
However, a Google search for “why are millennials working less” turns up numerous articles that talk about how millennials are “actually workaholics” and we “work harder than our parents” and that we are “transforming hard work” so really, who knows? This question cannot be properly answered for a long time and I won’t even begin to discuss the stereotypes and the conflicting data.
So we are working less/more, at a lesser/higher quality, than our parents. In a different world where technological access is to the point that anybody can easily start a business (hello, I just started this blog), is a college degree still really that important?
That chart shows the unemployment rate for job seekers between the ages of 25 and 34. The Dot Com Boom as well as the Great Recession hit educated workers at a smaller rate than it hit those with less education. Many economists say that we are due for a recession and now that the millennial workforce is in full swing, we will see how the unemployment rate moves during the next major downturn.