Ghosts of Past, Present and Future Haunt Millennial Careers

Poll Shows Fear of Past Recession, Current Financial Stress and Future Automation Weigh on Millennial Minds

LOS ANGELES--()--With visions of the recession still lingering in their heads, Millennials report an economic downturn or recession as their greatest career concern, financial emergencies as a current stress and automation as a longer-term worry according to national survey results released today from Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. Despite these challenges, Millennials maintain a cheery outlook for their career opportunities.

Fears over the impact of an economic downturn on careers were triple those of any other concern (36 percent). Millennials said, “inability to keep skills current with the needs of employers” (13 percent) and “technology that exceeds your skillset or ability” (12 percent) as the next greatest threats to their career.

The majority of millennials find financial independence out of their reach

Many Millennials report they need ongoing financial assistance beyond their means. Nationally, nearly six in ten Millennials (58 percent) feel it would be very or somewhat difficult for them to be completely financially independent without help from their family and friends.

Affording emergencies is also no easy task for Millennials. A large share say they would have difficulty paying for emergencies that cost $250 (30 percent), $500 (49 percent) or $1,000 (68 percent). Millennials who work in a job managing automation are far less likely to say emergency costs ranging from $250 to $5,000 would be very or somewhat difficult for them to afford.

Automation viewed as future competition, especially by those who currently manage automation

Automation, a hotly debated topic in political and economic circles, generates mixed feelings from Millennials. One-third of millennials (35 percent) think automation will take over their future job. However Millennials who currently manage automation in their job are significantly more inclined to believe twenty years from now, automation will take over to the point where machines will do the work they do today, compared to those who do not manage automation (62 percent versus 29 percent, respectively).

Roughly four in ten (39 percent) employed Millennials nationwide either currently work in or have considered a job that manages automation.

Despite concerns about job takeover, managing automation strongly correlates with career confidence. Close to two in three Millennials who have a job managing automation feel “very confident” they can achieve their career goals, compared to 37 percent of those who do not deal with automation.

“These findings suggest that the recession left an indelible impression on young people and will follow them around for the foreseeable future,” said David M. Smith, Ph.D., associate professor of economics of the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. “But in spite of these challenges, Millennials still view their career prospects with positive, even cheerful, optimism.”

Millennials in automation have earned or seek advanced degrees

Millennials with jobs managing automation are much more likely to have advanced degrees. Nearly three in ten millennials who currently have a job managing automation have obtained an MBA, compared to just 5 percent of millennials whose job does not involve managing automation. Millennials who work in a job managing automation are also significantly more likely to have a specialized business degree (47 percent) versus those who do not handle automation (12 percent).

“Everyone has their past, present, and future but education, primarily earning an MBA or specialized degree, is seen as a pathway forward,” said Dr. Smith. “The lump of coal in the stocking might be how millennials face up to near term financial challenges.”

About The Poll

Pepperdine Graziadio Business School conducted this national poll to gain insights into how millennials view the present day and future career prospects. This report presents the findings of a survey conducted among a sample of 1,006 adults between the ages of 18 and 36. This survey was live from August 29 to September 7, 2017. Pepperdine worked with ORC International to conduct the poll. ORC is a collaborative and consultative research partner to hundreds of organizations around the globe. The company possesses a wide variety of resources, tools, and technologies to collect and analyze information for clients. ORC produces transparent, consistent, well documented and error-free methods of conducting and managing research projects.

About Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Anchored in the core values of integrity and innovation, the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School challenges individuals to think boldly and drive meaningful change that positively impacts their organizations and communities. With an entrepreneurial spirit, the Graziadio School advances experiential learning in small classes that deepen connections and stimulate critical thinking. Through our wide continuum of MBA, MS and Executive degree programs offered across six California campuses, Graziadio faculty inspire full-time students and working professionals to realize their greatest potential as values-centered, "best for the world" leaders. Follow Pepperdine Graziadio on Facebook, Twitter at @GraziadioSchool, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


Pepperdine Graziadio Business School
Lisa Perry, 310-568-2314

Release Summary

Poll: Ghosts of past, present and future haunt millennial careers


Pepperdine Graziadio Business School
Lisa Perry, 310-568-2314