Millennial workers have had it rough in recent years, coming of age during the Great Recession and experiencing higher levels of unemployment and underemployment than older generations.
A new study finds that Millennials, who will dominate the U.S. labor market for the next 50 years, may face another problem: They're less prepared for today's job market than many of their international peers, putting them (and the country) at a distinct disadvantage in an increasingly global economy.
A recent report by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) examined data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIACC), which showed that American millennials are badly lagging behind in numeracy, literacy and problem-solving skills. Experts can only speculate on the reason for the skills gap, but the report warns that the consequences of such relatively low scores could be serious for American competiveness and could have an impact on the U.S. both socially and politically.
The study shows that even our top-performing millennials are not measuring up to their counterparts overseas. Further, the gap between America's highest- and lowest-performing workers is among the largest. The study suggests that such a disparity can lead to dire consequences, including "mistrust in government, decreased civic engagement, increased rates of incarceration, poor health, obesity, addiction and more."
"We did not do well across the board in all three of the skills that we looked into, particularly in numeracy," said Madeline Goodman, director of research at the ETS and one of the study's co-authors, adding that the report presents troubling implications for the future of American competiveness.
Nearly two-thirds of millennials scored below the minimum standard in math. "If these individuals are going to be trained for jobs that have remuneration … then they need to have basic skill level" she said.