Ep. 562 – HMRP Monday Edition: Intergenerational Views on the Job Market

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This is one of a two-part series on how generations are viewing the job market and what you can do to ensure you are well prepared for whatever comes. 

Background

The US job market has enjoyed one the of the longest periods of prosperity despite many economic challenges. However, anxiety about job security is on the rise according to research done by Joblist.com: 

“The job market remained relatively stable in Q2 despite growing concerns about the broader health of the economy. Job growth continues to be strong, and the unemployment rate is holding steady at 3.6% – its lowest rate since January 2020. Yet, as consumers and businesses grapple with inflation, rising interest rates, continued supply chain and COVID-19 disruptions, many worry that a recession is around the corner. Although the job market has proven largely resilient up until this point, the future outlook appears increasingly uncertain.”

This was published on July 11th, 2022. 

Fastforward 2 weeks. And, on July 28th, 2022 the US Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the economy contracted for the send straight quarter hitting a widely accepted rule of thumb for a recession.

Given these uncertain times, we did our own research to understand how generations are viewing the job market and how we can survive it. We’ll cover three main points: 

  1. How concerned are generations about being laid off in the next 12-months? 
  2. What game plans do generations have if they are laid off?
  3. What advice would members of different generations give to survive a layoff?

This podcast will focus on point 1. We’ll address points 2 and 3 in next week’s episode. 

Job Market Outlook

Our survey was conducted using HubUX and included Video Questions instead of text-based open ends. These video open ends along with using Research Defender’s screening API, ensured we were talking to real humans. 

Gen Z and Millennials are significantly more concerned that they’ll be laid off in the next 12-months than Gen X and Boomers (those of us over 41 years old).

We asked 300 people, “How concerned are you about being laid off in the next 12-months?”. Gen Z and Millennials stated they are two times more concerned than older generations. 

Q7. How concerned are you that you may be laid off in the next 12-months?  by Q1. What is your age?

Gen ZMillennialGen XBoomer
I am not concerned at all43% 33% 55% 81% 
I am somewhat concerned30% 40% 32% 8% 
I am very concerned26% 27% 14% 11% 

Key Takeaways: 

We then asked our participants a few video questions about their view on the economy and here is what they said. Please note that I choose the videos that had the broadest representation of what was said. If you’d like access to this data, please email at jamin@hubux.com or DM me on LinkedIn. I’m happy to share it with you.  

Let’s start with a Gen Zer and Millennial.

Ok, now lets hear from Gen X and a Boomer. 

Let’s break it down for Gen Z & Millennials. There are two primary concerns that repeatedly surfaced:

  1. They are very concerned that employers will have economic headwinds because of increased interest rates and gas prices which will cause companies to lay people off.
  2. These economic headwinds will result in job opportunities drying up. This is especially concerning for those who are about to graduate and enter the workforce as they are carrying a large amount of debt.

Now, let’s focus on the older generational cohorts: Gen X & Boomers

  1. Since Covid, more people are working for themselves or just retiring. This is creating a hiring void for employers which is increasing job opportunities.
  2. Companies are busier than ever coming out of Covid which will continue to drive their need to hire.
  3. Public sector jobs like teaching will continue to be in-demand despite any economic headwinds. 

Our sample included 85 employers. These are individuals who are either operators or responsible for staffing in their firm. 

If you are an employer, I’m sure the recent quote from Fed Chair Jerome Powell will resonate with you, “You have two job vacancies essentially for every person actively seeking a job, and that has led to a real imbalance in wage negotiating.” The imbalance of jobs to available employees has led to the most competitive job market I’ve seen in my 25-year career. 

However, the ever-increasing employee expectations are simply not sustainable for companies that need to achieve a profit. 

Even one of the best performing companies, Netflix, is struggling to be compliant with their DE&I mandates from their LGBTQ employees. 

In January of 2022, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group excluded Netflix from their Corporate Equality Index. “The Human Rights Campaign suspended the streaming giant’s CEI score for 2022 in connection with the company’s handling of Dave Chappelle’s 2021 special ‘The Closer.’”

Prior to being remove from the Corporate Equality Index, Netflix scored a perfect 100. 

If you have not heard, The Closer was a 2021 stand-up comedy special performed by Dave Chappelle for Netflix. It included, according to Wikipedia, “jokes about the discrimination against the African American community relative to the discrimination against the LGBTQ community. The special received a mixed reception from critics while some LGBTQ groups called for the special’s removal from the service and some Netflix employees criticized and protested Chappelle’s jokes about the transgender community. Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos repeatedly defended the special as freedom of artistic expression.”

If you have followed Netflix’s hiring ads and public statements, they had literally done everything perfectly in support of the LGBTQ community up to this point. However, some of their employees & leaders in the LGBTQ community took a very different stance than Netflix on this one point which had a huge market impact on employee retention and, you can argue, company performance.  

This employee-first market pressure is requiring companies to spend as much or more time and treasure on employee experience as they do on customer experience. Examples are a 4-day work week, less real-time availability of key staff, and overall less accountability.  

However, if there is a job correction, our data shows that employers believe a slowdown in the job market will have some positive outcomes primarily centered around their ability to meet the demands of employees:  

  • Employees will have less ability to demand benefits, working conditions, etc. 
  • Salaries will stabilize 
  • Less or no “sign-on bonuses” 
  • Less employee turnover as employees prioritize stability over potential benefits 

Lets hear from one of our employer participants… 

As of July 2022, many companies have announced job cuts including Tesla, JPMorgan Chase, Redfin, Coinbase and Netflix. In fact, Netflix just announced a second round of layoffs to include ~300 people. 

Outcome

Today, every brand is catering to you, trying to get your attention, and trying to make you feel important. This applies equally if you are a potential consumer or a potential employee. 

For those that have never experienced a competitive job market, the thought of a more balanced power base between employees and employers is a scary proposition. 

However, older generations have a positive outlook on both the economy and the job market. I believe this is because they’ve lived through hard times. And the current picture of “hard times” is still better than most of the last 30 years. 

How about you? What do you think?

In the next installment we will address: 

  1. What gameplans do generations have if they are laid off?
  2. What advice would members of different generations give to survive a layoff?

If you would like to learn more about this research or about how you can use HubUX to shorten timelines and save money, you can find me on any social platform or email me directly at jamin@hubux.com. 

Happy Researching! 😊