Millennials Should Be Earning More Money, Study Finds

Sophie Miura
PHOTO:

Tommy Ton

If you've ever had the feeling that you deserve a raise, we've got good news for you: You're right. A study by the Center for American Progress has found that 30-year-olds today earn about as much, on average, as 30-year-olds in 1984. Yes, that's despite the fact that millennials are 50% more likely to have finished college and the economy is 70% more productive. Basically, we're smarter and more skilled but aren't being compensated. 

If you're educated and savvy, why is it harder than ever to outearn your parents? Researchers say you can thank a perpetually "loose" market "with too many job seekers and too few jobs." The study suggests that going to college or boosting your office productivity might not be the key to getting ahead at work. Indeed, study author Brendan Duke told the Atlantic that college fees are a big part of the problem. "I think people are kind of stuck in a catch-22 where they feel they need to get these skills in order to compete in the 21st century economy, but on the other hand they have to pay more tuition and take on more debt in order to do that," he says. 

The solution? Learn to bargain. "When there are a dozen workers willing to do a job, it becomes that much harder to bargain for a higher wage," researchers admit, but learning to negotiate with skill might be the key to securing a better deal. Changes to the paid leave scheme would also benefit young workers and close the gap, so joining a union to support more robust leave policies could make a difference. Oh, and if you think you deserve a higher salary, you probably do. Go on, ask for a raise!

Find the full study at the Center for American Progress

Want to master the art of negotiation? Shop the book below.

What's your secret to wage negotiation? Share your tips in the comments below. 

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