Why are young adults unemployed? This question has become increasingly pertinent in recent years, as more and more young people struggle to find work or secure stable employment after completing their education. Despite possessing qualifications and skills, many young adults are finding it difficult to enter the workforce and establish themselves in a career.
There are many reasons why young adults are unemployed. Some possible reasons include a lack of job opportunities in their field of interest, a lack of relevant job experience or skills, and competition with more experienced job seekers. Economic downturns or recessions can also lead to high unemployment rates across all age groups, including young adults.
This post will explore the challenges that young adults face when searching for employment, the types of jobs that may be more likely to hire them, and what parents and young adults can do to improve their prospects of finding employment. Additionally, we will look at the future of employment for young adults and the trends that may shape the job market in the coming years.
What Percentage of Youth are Unemployed In the United States,
Youth unemployment rates generally tend to be higher than overall unemployment rates.
For example, in the United States, as of January 2021, the unemployment rate was 6.3%, while the youth unemployment rate (ages 16-24) was 11.9%. More recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the unemployment rate adjusted for seasonal influences at 3.4% in January 2023. The unemployment rate of teenagers remains high at 10.3%
The total number of unemployed people remained at 5.7 million, which means there has been no significant change compared to the previous months.
In this case, the unemployment rate has improved since January 2021, but the youth unemployment rate remains higher than the overall rate. This could be due to a combination of factors, including ongoing economic uncertainty and competition for entry-level jobs. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the job market, and young people may be facing unique challenges related to remote work and changes in the types of available jobs.
So, Why Are Young Adults Unemployed?
Young adults may face a number of employment challenges, many of which they may be able to overcome with a bit of help.
There are several reasons why youth unemployment rates tend to be higher than overall unemployment rates. One reason is that many young people lack the experience and skills employers are looking for, making it more difficult for them to find jobs. Additionally, many young people compete for entry-level jobs with older and more experienced workers, which can put them at a disadvantage in the job market.
Furthermore, economic downturns and recessions tend to affect young people disproportionately. During these times, employers may be more likely to lay off younger, less experienced workers before older, more experienced workers. Young people who are just entering the job market may also have more difficulty finding work during a recession, as companies may be less likely to hire new employees.
Below are just a few examples of the challenges young adults may face in the job market. It’s important to remember that these challenges can vary depending on the individual and the specific job market they are trying to enter.
Lack of job opportunities:
Some industries and sectors may not have as many job openings for young adults, making it difficult for them to find employment. Before training to work in a particular industry, young adults should research the job opportunities it provides thoroughly. They should also be flexible and look for available rather than specific job titles.
Lack of relevant job experience or skills:
Many employers require job candidates to have prior experience or specialized skills, which young adults may not yet have. Young adults can gain experience through internships, volunteer opportunities, and on-the-job training. Convince the employer that you are willing and able to learn new skills quickly to increase your chances of being considered for a position you have no experience in.
Competition with more experienced job seekers:
Young adults are unemployed as they may face competition from more experienced job seekers, who may be seen as more attractive candidates to employers. When a job seeker has the desired experience, employers are confident that they will be able to perform the job that they were hired for, and they will not need resources such as time and money to bring them up to speed.
Lack of motivation:
Lack of motivation can significantly impact youth employment by reducing a young person’s willingness to seek out and apply for job opportunities actively. Without motivation, young people may also struggle to develop the skills and experience needed to be successful in the workforce. Additionally, a lack of motivation can make it difficult for young people to maintain steady employment, leading to gaps in their resume and making it harder for them to find future job opportunities.
Prejudice in hiring:
Young adults may encounter bias during the hiring process based on their age, lack of credentials, and lack of experience.
Prejudice in hiring can negatively impact young adults’ employment opportunities by leading to discrimination based on their age. This can result in employers being less likely to hire young adults or offer them job opportunities commensurate with their qualifications.
Prejudice in hiring can also lead to young adults being paid lower wages or being given fewer benefits than their older counterparts, which can limit their earning potential and their ability to build a stable career. Overall, prejudice in hiring based on age can significantly impact the employment opportunities and career trajectories of young adults.
Lack of mentorship and support:
Young adults may lack the guidance and support they need to navigate the job market and find appropriate employment opportunities. This is where parents can come in to make recommendations based on their experiences and use their networks to help their young adults navigate the job market.
Employers may be tempted to offer lower wages or less favorable working conditions to younger people than they would their older counterparts. Lower wages do not mean the job gets easier. This is a major turn-off for job seekers.
Student loan debt:
Many young adults have student loan debt which can make it harder for them to afford living expenses, thus making it harder for them to accept jobs with lower pay.
The shift towards remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for young adults to break into their desired fields as they miss out on the opportunity to network and learn from more experienced colleagues.
Lack of career guidance and support:
Many young adults may not have access to career guidance and support to help them navigate the job market and identify appropriate employment opportunities.
Limited job mobility:
Young adults may be limited in their job mobility due to factors such as location, lack of transportation or family responsibilities.
Limited job mobility can have a negative impact on a young adult’s employment opportunities by limiting their ability to progress in their career or earn higher wages. Without the ability to move between jobs or companies, young adults may be unable to find new opportunities to learn new skills, gain experience, or advance their careers. This can lead to job stagnation, reduced job satisfaction, and limited earning potential. Limited job mobility can also make it more difficult for young adults to navigate changes in the job market, making them more vulnerable to economic downturns and industry changes.
Lack of networking opportunities:
Networking is an important aspect of job searching, and young adults may lack the connections and opportunities to network with potential employers.
Limited access to internships or apprenticeships:
Internships and apprenticeships can provide young adults with valuable job experience and skills, without these opportunities, young adults may struggle to compete in the job market and may have difficulty finding employment in their desired fields.
Additionally, the lack of access to internships and apprenticeships can limit their ability to network with professionals and gain valuable industry connections that can help them advance their careers. Overall, the lack of access to internships and apprenticeships can significantly impact a young adult’s long-term career prospects.
Limited access to training and education:
Young adults may not have access to the training and education they need to acquire the skills and qualifications required for specific jobs.
Inadequate financial support:
Young adults may not have access to the financial support they need to support themselves while looking for employment or training.
Limited access to affordable childcare:
Young adults with children may face additional challenges in finding employment, particularly if they lack access to affordable childcare.
Limited childcare options can strongly affect a young person’s employment opportunities by making it difficult for them to balance work and family responsibilities. Without adequate childcare, young adults may be unable to work full-time or may be forced to choose between their job and caring for their children. This can limit their earning potential and career advancement and contribute to overall economic inequality.
Young adults may face discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability, which can make it harder for them to find employment.
These challenges can vary depending on the individual and the specific job market they are trying to enter.
How Young Adults Can Improve Their Chances Of Finding Employment
There are several things that young people can do to improve their chances of finding employment:
Building a network of contacts in their field of interest can help young people learn about job openings and make connections that may lead to employment opportunities.
Get relevant experience:
Young people can gain relevant experience through internships, volunteer work, or part-time jobs. This can help them develop the skills and qualifications needed for a full-time job.
Develop specialized skills:
Young people can take classes or get certifications to develop specialized skills that are in demand in their field of interest.
Being open to different types of job opportunities, different locations, and different industries can increase the chances of finding employment.
Use online resources:
Many online resources are available to job seekers, such as job search engines and professional networking sites, that young people can use to find employment opportunities.
Instead of waiting for job openings to appear, young people can actively seek employment opportunities by reaching out to companies or organizations that interest them.
Finding a job can take time, so young people should be persistent in their job search and be willing to apply for multiple jobs before finding the right one.
The job market is constantly changing, and the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the job market and the way of working, young people should be adaptable and try to find opportunities in new and emerging fields.
Develop soft skills:
Young people should focus on developing soft skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, communication, and time management which employers highly value.
Young people should seek guidance from career counselors, mentors, or other professionals who can help them navigate the job market and find appropriate employment opportunities.
It’s important to remember that these strategies may not guarantee employment, but they can certainly increase the chances of finding a suitable job.
What Jobs Are More Likely To Hire Young Adults?
There are several types of jobs that may be more likely to hire young adults, some examples include:
Many companies have entry-level positions that are specifically designed for individuals with little or no work experience. These jobs may include roles such as administrative assistants, customer service representatives, and data entry clerks.
Internships or apprenticeships:
Many companies offer internships or apprenticeships to young adults. These programs allow young adults to gain relevant job experience and skills and may lead to full-time employment after the program is completed.
Part-time or seasonal jobs:
Many companies hire young adults for part-time or seasonal jobs, such as retail sales associates, cashiers, and customer service representatives.
With the rise of technology and the shift towards remote working, many companies hire young adults for online jobs such as virtual customer service representatives, social media managers, and digital marketing.
Small businesses and start-ups are more likely to hire young adults since they may be more flexible and less bureaucratic in their hiring processes.
Non-profit organizations often have more limited budgets than for-profit companies and may be more likely to hire young adults for entry-level positions.
Freelancing or self-employment:
Young adults may also consider freelancing or self-employment as an option. Freelancers or self-employed individuals can take on various projects and clients and may have more control over their work schedule and job duties.
It’s important to note that these are just a few examples, and job opportunities may vary depending on the region and the state of the economy. Additionally, the job market is constantly changing, so young adults should be adaptable and open to new
What Can Parents Do To Help Their Young Adults Find Employment?
There are several things that parents can do to help their young adults find employment:
Encourage young adults to pursue their career goals and provide emotional support during the job search process.
Share your network:
Parents can share their professional network with their young adults, providing valuable connections and potential job leads.
Help with resume and cover letter writing:
Parents can help their young adults create a professional resume and cover letters highlighting their skills and qualifications.
Encourage education and training:
Parents can help their young adults pursue additional education and training to develop the skills and qualifications needed for their desired field.
Help with budgeting and finances:
Parents can help their young adult manage their finances and budget during the job search process and provide financial assistance if needed.
Provide guidance and mentorship:
Parents can guide and mentor their young adults, helping them navigate the job market and find appropriate employment opportunities.
Finding a job can take time, and parents can encourage their young adults to persist in their job search and not give up easily.
Parents should be understanding of their young adult’s job search process and their struggles and help them to be resilient and stay motivated.
Help with networking:
Parents can help their young adults with networking by introducing them to people in their professional networks, helping them to make connections that could lead to job opportunities
Help with online job searching:
Parents can help their young adults with online job searching by showing them the different job search platforms and how to use them effectively.
It’s important to keep in mind that each young adult’s job search process is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another.
Parents should be flexible and open to different strategies that may help their young adults find employment. Also, parents should not be too pushy and avoid comparing the progress of their young adults to those of others. Also, they should their young adults take the lead on their job search and make their own decisions. They should respect their independence and give them room to grow, but be there to support them when needed.
What The Future Looks Like For Young People Seeking Employment
The future of employment for young people is likely to be affected by several factors, including technological advancements, demographic changes, and economic conditions. Some potential trends that may shape the job market for young people include:
Continued growth in the service sector:
Many jobs in the service sector, such as healthcare, education, and retail, are expected to continue growing in the future.
Increasing demand for technical skills:
As technology continues to advance, there will be an increasing demand for workers with technical skills, such as data analysis, programming, and digital marketing.
The shift towards remote work, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, is likely to continue in the future, which could open up new opportunities for young people to work from anywhere.
Automation and Artificial Intelligence:
Automation and Artificial Intelligence will also have an impact on the job market for young people, as it will lead to some jobs becoming obsolete and new jobs emerging.
With the rise of digital platforms and the increasing ease of starting a business, entrepreneurship may become an increasingly attractive option for young people.
The impact of the pandemic:
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the job market, and it’s still hard to predict what will happen in the future, but it will likely have a lasting impact on the job market and how we work.
As more companies are becoming aware of the need for sustainability, there will be more job opportunities for young people in fields such as renewable energy, green building, and sustainable agriculture.
It’s important to remember that these are just a few examples, and the job market is constantly evolving, so young people should be adaptable and open to new opportunities as they arise. Additionally, they should focus on developing skills that will be in demand in the future and be open to new ways of working.
A Few Final Words
Young adults face a number of challenges when searching for employment, such as a lack of job experience, a highly competitive job market, and a mismatch between their qualifications and the job requirements.
The future job market for young adults is expected to be affected by several factors, such as technological advancements, demographic changes, and economic conditions. Examples of trends that may shape the job market for young adults include continued growth in the service sector, increasing demand for technical skills, remote work, automation, and AI, entrepreneurship, and sustainability.
Parents can help their young adults find employment by providing emotional support, sharing their network, helping with resume and cover letter writing, encouraging education and training, providing guidance and mentorship, and helping with networking and online job searching.