Workforce & Finances

Many of today’s young adults entered the workforce during one of the greatest economic downturns in the history of the country, the Great Recession. At the same time, longer-term trends of stagnant wages, globalization, and technological advancements are changing the workforce. Deficits in employment and earnings, and unprecedented levels of student loan debt, have made it challenging for young adults to accumulate assets and wealth, buy homes, and build short-term savings.

Our research shows that today’s young adults face a much harsher economic landscape than our parents’ generation did: young adults have amassed half the net wealth that Baby Boomers had at the same age, and today’s young workers earn 20 percent less in income. Disturbingly, young African Americans have lost ground on many financial indicators, with median net wealth declining nearly a third from 1989. Young African American and Latinx populations earn 57 cents and 64 cents respectively for every dollar earned by young whites.

But today’s young adults are also uniquely suited  to address the economic challenges of the future, if given a chance. This generation shaped a technological revolution, are digital natives, embrace diversity as a strength, and are committed to meaningful and collaborative work. Perhaps most importantly, today’s young adults are the most educated generation the country has ever seen. These are all qualities that 21st century businesses and organizations need more of to innovate and grow.

Check out our workforce & finance materials below.

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