American Youth Believe They Have It Harder Than Past Generations When It Comes To Finding A Job

However, Today's Youth are Committed to Advancing Their Careers and Planning for the Future

Apr 30, 2014, 09:00 ET from Adecco Group North America

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 70 percent of Americans ages 18-24 believe that they have it harder than any generation before them when it comes to finding a job, according to the Way to Work Survey from Adecco Staffing US. Yet, 65 percent of those who are employed spent less than six months finding their current job. In fact, 18 percent spent six months to under a year and only 12 percent spent a year or more. As for those American youth who are currently unemployed and looking for work, one-fifth (19 percent) say they've been job hunting for less than a year and 12 percent say they've been looking for six months to a year.

It's clear though that this segment of the workforce is motivated. Of those surveyed, 30 percent plan to either go back to school or advance their career within their current job or company (29 percent). Other plans for the future include switching careers or trying something completely new (20 percent), working for themselves (19 percent), job-hopping to advance their career or title (16 percent), or living and working abroad (13 percent).

"When it comes to job prospects, today's youth tend to feel they have it harder than generations before them --and perhaps they're right-- especially given the economic events of the past few years," said Joyce Russell, President, Adecco Staffing U.S. "However, it's refreshing to see that they are not undeterred and that they are strongly committed to their future and setting themselves up to be successful members of the workforce."

Other findings include:

American youth work to live, not live to work. The majority (54 percent) of those 18-24 who are currently employed say they 'work to live' compared to only 32 percent who 'live to work.' In addition, 14 percent say they like what they but do not like the company they work for. Men are much more likely to say they 'live to work' (36 percent men compared to 28 percent women); women are much more likely to say they 'work to live' (60 percent women compared to 49 percent men).

Career growth and personal top the list of priorities.  When asked what their biggest priority in life is right now, 34 percent respondents cited advancing in their career, while 16 percent noted paying down debt. Other priorities included saving for a major purchase (10 percent), having fun (10 percent), getting married (6 percent), starting a family (4 percent), and saving for retirement (2 percent).

Mom and dad did a great job, but missed one or two lessons along the way. Though 63 percent of respondents say their parents raised them for professional success, there are some career lessons they wished their parents would've passed along. American youth are most likely to wish their parents had taught them the importance of making connections and networking (31 percent) followed by how to make a good impression (25 percent). Other lessons included how to negotiate (23 percent), having a strong work ethic (23 percent), the importance of getting as much work experience as possible (22 percent), the benefits of going to college (18 percent), and not taking a job you hate/are not passionate about (17 percent).

The survey also shows that today's youth are focused on fulfilling their dreams when it comes to success and their careers. In fact, the majority (55 percent) of American youth define the 'New American Dream' as having a career you love within your field of interest – even more so than having a well-paid job (22 percent), owning your own company (10 percent), retiring at age 45 (4 percent), or running a company that you do not own (2 percent).

"Very often this generation gets the reputation of not wanting to put in the hard work it takes to get their careers going," Russell said. "Yet these young adults are extremely motivated and aren't relying on anyone but themselves to reach their goals. Certainly they may have a different approach for getting there, but ultimately the end goal is the same – personal success and fulfillment within their careers."

Adecco conducted a survey of 750 adults 18 – 24 years old in the United States. This telephone survey was fielded by Braun Research from April 5- 8, 2014. The margin of error for this study is +/- 3.57 percent.

About Adecco Staffing US
Adecco Staffing US is the nation's leading provider of recruitment and workforce solutions. It is the pre-eminent workforce management partner for Fortune 500 companies and career advisement expert for American workers, serving all of the key industries and professions that drive the US economy forward. Adecco has more than 450 career centers and, on any given day, connects 70,000 talented workers to the best job opportunities across the country, making them one of America's largest employers. Visit for more information.

About Adecco Group North America:
Every day we provide our clients with the talent they need, and help solve the business challenges they face today – and will encounter tomorrow. Our clients rely on us for a wide range of workforce solutions including:

  • Contingent staffing and direct hire recruitment for large enterprise organizations across all skill sets
  • Workforce solutions and consulting including Managed Services Programs (MSP) & Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)
  • Career transition and leadership consulting
  • Specialty staffing, project solutions and consulting services

Additional information is available through our websites at and

SOURCE Adecco Group North America