Millennials, the Light to the End of the Labor Shortage

1:55 PM, Nov 26, 2018


Anna Kohls

Could Millennials be the answer to the worker shortage? This is a question many employers have.

When you compare working Millennials to Baby Boomers, you’ll find that the younger population is about to outnumber those who have been part of the workforce for more than 30 years.

So where’s the gap in the labor shortage? Generation X - people born between the years 1965 to 1980. In 2017, consumer data provider Statista reported that nearly 65 million GenXrs made up America’s workforce.

As of July 1, 2016, there were more than 71 million working Millennials and nearly 74 million Baby Boomers. Millennials are born between the years 1981 to 1996 and Baby Boomers are born between 1946 to 1964 .

Millennials are expected to surpass Baby Boomers in population by 2019 as their numbers increase to 73 million and Boomers decline to 72 million , according to a 2018 report by Pew Research.

Based on the numbers there just aren't enough people from the Generation X population to fill the specialized jobs Baby Boomers will be retiring from. For example, financial services, education, medical and technology .

Millennials Could be the Answer to Bridging the Labor Shortage Gap

Since the last batch of Millennials graduated from high school, they are now making their way into the workforce.

The big question is, are they planning on working in the professions that need more workers?

Sorena Vargas is currently attending Florida Gulf Coast University and majoring in Public Relations; however, she’s interested in starting her career in graphic design. “I started my internship this past summer to make sure I have the experience for when I graduate,” Sorena explained.

“When I was in high school, a lot of people said they wanted to be a doctor or nurse, and now that we’re actually in college I see more creative-geared jobs,” Sorena shared. “I feel like there are a lot more jobs that are creatively-based for people to experience instead of just a clear-cut ‘this is what you have to do to be a nursing major’ kind of job.”

Janeth Catrejon, the social media coordinator at Southwest Florida Career Source, said Millennials might not want to have the jobs Baby Boomers are leaving behind. “There’s a lot more creative, impactful jobs that they are after. And understanding the generation needs and differences is really going to help us then truly fill those gaps” she said.

People working in the creative field in 2014 earned higher wages than the overall median, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics .

Although people with jobs in the creative field are likely to be paid more, Janeth said SWFL has more opportunities in careers that fall into the trade category. “What we see nationally is the greatest need for jobs in the construction field,” said Janeth, explaining that more than 50 percent of jobs advertised are within the field of construction.

Jacob Shoemaker, 34, is a department manager at a local roofing company. Jacob is a Millennial who has worked in construction most of his life. “I’m a firm believer in trades. I can build a house from demolition, and I can remodel an entire house,” said Jacob.

For Jacob, investing in a college education was not part of his life goals. “I’m not a huge fan of college because the income to debt ratio, what most people go to college for, to what they make and what their payments’s a bad balance in life,” he said.

In 2017, Florida added more than 43,000 construction jobs and the state had the highest gains in the industry.

In addition to construction, Janeth of CareerSource shared that because SWFL is considered a tourist destination, there is a plethora of employment vacancies in the hospitality and tourism industries.

Despite all of the employment possibilities for any generation, most Baby Boomers will be stepping aside in the next decade. Their jobs will need to be filled. Only time will tell if Millennials are really the answer to filling the labor gap.