Millennials and the “Silver Tsunami”

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According to Oregon Business Magazine, millennials are working in health care, retail and customer service. Kim Moore, a Research Editor at Oregon Business Magazine reported that many industry sectors – manufacturing, utilities – are facing a “silver tsunami”: an abundance of aging workers.

While Oregon Employment Department data has shown an increase over the past decade in workers between the ages of 22 and 34 in the sectors like customer service and retail – they are not seeing any growth in construction, finance, real estate and information services.

Millennials don’t seem to always follow the trend of going where the jobs are. For example, construction is currently the fastest growing sector in Oregon but it tops the list of the industries where the millennials are NOT working.

Working in staffing we see that there are a lot of opportunities for millennials with the right skills to find work in construction but we just aren’t seeing any growth there.

Nick Beleiciks, economist for the Oregon Employment Department suggests it’s probably because they came of age at the wrong time. “The construction industry was cutting jobs and then not growing at all from 2007 through 2013, a period when many millennials were starting their careers,” he says. “There wasn’t a lot of job opportunities for new workers in construction at the time, so young people went into other industries that were hiring.”

The Construction industry rebounded throughout 2014 but there’s still a deficit of millennial workers. New data from the state employment department shows a slight increase in millennial hiring in the manufacturing sector, which has hired more young workers than construction in the past few years.

You would think that millennials would be dominating the tech world but the data is not supporting the stereotype that comes with that generation. “Although tech is engrained in the daily lives and jobs of most millennials, they aren’t really over-represented in what is typically considered high-tech industries,” Beleiciks says. “The 35-to-54-year-old actually group holds the largest portion of jobs in the tech sector.”

We also know the stereotype that they are looking to work somewhere that will “make a difference,” and they are constantly looking for approval and instant gratification. With the Oregon unemployment rate at historic lows, millennials have more choices than ever but that should put more attention on the “silver tsunami.”

We encourage all ages, including millennials to learn new skills. We see this issue a lot in the staffing industry. There are incredibly skilled people out there wishing they could retire if only they could bring on more people that have the necessary skills, but they are incredibly hard to find. There are so many great and fulfilling jobs in construction and manufacturing and we are looking to do our part in helping to fill the age gap but the construction and manufacturing industries are going to have to step up its game to compete for millennial talent.

All Star Labor & Staffing has a talented group of recruiters that anticipate these kinds of trends in staffing. We will work hand in hand with you to mine a skilled, eager to learn group of millennials to help keep your business running strong.