The Common Characteristics of Millenial Professionals

Senior Reporter, The Playbook,

Are you planning to post a job opening online? Avoid the terms “guru,’ “wizard” or “ninja.”

Those words are among the terms jobseekers dislike the most, according to a survey by invoicing software firm Skynova. “Competitive” and “challenge” round out the list of the words most likely to turn off jobseekers.

The survey comes as the era of “The Great Resignation” continues unabated. The number of Americans quitting their jobs in November rose to 3% — matching the all-time record first hit in September 2021. That means 4.5 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s why invoicing software firm Skynova surveyed more than 1,000 workers on what they like about job postings. The firm also ran a test to see which alternate versions of one job posting did better. Skynova also analyzed 180 recent job postings from a diverse range of job types.

“Crafting an attractive and ideal job posting is critical for businesses right now. Listing salary ranges, instead of fixed salaries, and other negotiation tactics that businesses use to stay competitive may be harder in the current climate,” said Joe Mercurio, a project manager working on behalf of Skynova. “The ongoing issues with the labor shortage and the Great Resignation have given jobseekers the ability to be more selective with the positions they’re applying for.”

Workers ranked listing a salary as the most important item in a job description, followed by benefits and responsibilities. For job postings with a fixed salary, about 72% of those surveyed would respond. When a salary range is listed, only 57% were likely to respond.

“While it’s not entirely clear, job postings with a salary range may come off as a negotiation tactic that jobseekers are unwilling to entertain. Additionally, jobseekers may be compelled to apply for jobs without a salary listed at all in the hope that it may be a competitive figure,” Mercurio said.

Meanwhile the top terms that give jobseekers a positive impression of the job include the words “growth,” “challenge,” “creative,” “motivated” and “flexible.” About 52% of jobseekers feel job postings ask too much from candidates, according to Skynova.

And while two-thirds of job postings mentioned whether or not remote work was offered, only 8% listed it as an actual option.

“As more businesses offer remote options to their employees, it’s important for businesses seeking new hires to consider remote positions to remain competitive,” Mercurio said.

The focus on remote work as a way to gain an edge on other companies in the hunt for talent comes as the number of high-paying remote jobs continues to skyrocket, according to research by jobs site Ladders. Ladders tracked remote-work data from North America’s largest 50,000 employers for jobs that pay more than $80,000 per year. Prior to the pandemic, only about 4% of those jobs were remote, but that jumped to 9% by the end of 2020. By the end of 2021, the figure doubled again to 18%.

Ladders previously predicted that more than a quarter of high paying jobs will be remote by the end of 2022. The surge in remote work occurs as companies look ahead to 2022 to make tangible decisions and strategic choices about the their future workplace. Many are choosing a hybrid route that will require employees to be in the office a set number of days a week. Some, such as accounting giant PwC, are opting for permanent remote work.

Regardless of what they choose, it’s not as simple as taking an existing company culture and grafting it onto a hybrid or permanent remote strategy, said Rebecca Ryan, an economist and founder of Next Generation Consulting Inc. Click here for more about how companies should plan for remote work in 2022.

Meanwhile, software developer, registered nurse, psychiatrist and digital marketing specialist topped a separate list of the best jobs for remote work in 2022. Developers make an average of $114,704 per year and nurses $79,533, according to a study by telecommunications company Ziply Fiber that analyzed average salaries and projected annual job opening for remote and in-person positions, as well as salary data from job board Indeed and U.S. News. Click here for the full list.

The Common Characteristics of Millenial Professionals

Millennials, or members of Generation Y (also known as Gen Y) were born between 1982 and 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census Bureau estimates that there are 83.1 million millennials in the U.S., and the Pew Research Center found that millennials surpassed baby boomers (boomers) to become the largest living generation in the United States in 2016.

Millennials are separated from the older generation before them (Generation X) and the generation that followed them (Generation Z).
Millennial Characteristics

As expected by their birth years, the Millennial generation makes up the fastest growing segment of the workforce. As companies compete for available talent, employers simply cannot ignore the needs, desires, and attitudes of this vast generation. As with each generation that preceded it, Millennials have come to be defined by a set of characteristics formed mainly by the world and culture they grew up in. Here are a few of their common characteristics.

Millennials are Tech-Savvy

Generation Y grew up with technology, and they rely on it to perform their jobs better. Armed with smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets, this generation is plugged in 24/7. They like to communicate through email, text messaging, and whatever new social media platform (i.e., Twitter, Instagram) friends and colleagues are using. This is a generation that can’t even imagine a world without the internet or cell phones.

Millennials Are Family-Centric

The fast-track lifestyle has lost much of its appeal for millennials. The members of this generation are willing to trade high pay for fewer billable hours, flexible schedules, and a better work/life balance. Although older generations may view this attitude as narcissistic or see it as a lack of commitment, discipline, and drive, Millennials have a different idea of workplace expectations. Millennials usually prioritize family over work, and even those who aren’t married with children feel the need to be a part of a family and spend time with nieces, nephews, and siblings.

Millennials Are Achievement-Oriented

Nurtured and pampered by parents who didn’t want to make the mistakes of the previous generation, millennials are confident, ambitious, and achievement-oriented. They also have high expectations of their employers, tend to seek new challenges at work, and aren’t afraid to question authority. Generation Y wants meaningful work and a solid learning curve.

Millennials are Team-Oriented

While growing up, most Millennial boys and girls participated in team sports, playgroups, and other group activities, whether it was soccer or ballet. They value teamwork and seek the input and affirmation of others. Millennials are the true no-person-left-behind generation, loyal and committed. They want to be included and involved.

Generation Y Craves Attention

They appreciate being kept in the loop and often need frequent praise and reassurance. Millennials may benefit greatly from mentors who can help guide and develop their talents. This is where the boomers come in handy because (though mostly retired), they have something to offer and see mentoring millennials is one way they can continue to contribute to the workforce.

Generation Y Is Prone to Job-Hopping

A potential downside of Generation Y workers is that they’re always looking for something new and better. It’s not uncommon for a millennial to stay with a firm for only two or three years before moving on to a position they think is better. The resumes you receive from millennial job seekers will undoubtedly demonstrate this peppered job history.

Don’t discount members of this generation just because they’ve worked for several firms—these young employees bring with them a variety of experiences. Unlike previous generations, they do not take a job and then hold onto it for as long as humanly possible. Instead, they go out and create a new app or fund a trendy start-up.

The Bottom Line About Millennials

Generation Y possesses many characteristics that are unique in comparison to past generations. They tend to be excited about their jobs, and they will work hard and efficiently. They might approach their superiors as equals more so than previous generations, but companies can take steps to draw a line between supervisor and friend. When that line is drawn, millennials will not only work tirelessly for you, but they will show you the respect due to a supervisor with many years experience.

NAAEI Apartment Jobs Snapshot October 2021

As originally reported by the NAA in

In October’s edition of NAAEI’s Apartment Jobs Snapshot, over 13,300 apartment jobs were available, accounting for 36.3 percent of the broader real estate sector. Raleigh, Virginia Beach, Seattle, Columbus, OH and Denver had the highest share of apartment job openings. This month’s edition highlights property managers/community managers, with market salaries in the 90th percentile reaching $55,924. The demand for experienced property managers was highest in Durham, Charleston, Portland, OR, Kansas City and Seattle. In addition to requiring typical property management skills, employers are seeking talent with budgeting, Yardi Software, customer service and staff management.

jobs snapshot october 2021 graphs and figures

jobs snapshot october 2021 figures and graphs



NAAEI Apartment Jobs Snapshot Q3 2021

As originally reported by the NAA in

Robust leasing activity during Q3 2021 yielded strong demand for skilled professionals. In this edition of NAAEI’s Apartment Jobs Snapshot, job openings in the multifamily sector comprised nearly 38.0% of positions available in the real estate sector, surpassing the 5-year average of 35.6%. Property management professionals were the most sought after during the quarter. Maintenance positions saw a decline in demand compared to the same time last year. Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington, D.C and Phoenix were the leading markets for highest concentration of apartment job openings. Demand for student housing talent was strongest in Austin, Columbus, Gainesville, Houston and Tallahassee.



Virtual: The New Career Reality

By Scott Sowers

Needing to attract, train and retain the professionals who keep the multifamily housing industry in business is as important as ever in this rapidly changing world. As the unemployment rate slowly slides back toward normal, virtual training has become part of the new world order, interning has taken a hit and questions loom about what the future of work will look like. The career development cycle usually begins with a person switching jobs and companies, an already anxiety-filled process that is now even more fraught with peril.

Virtual Leap of Faith

“We recognize that candidates interested in changing jobs during a pandemic are taking a leap of faith when they consider joining a new organization,” says David Alagno, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, at AvalonBay Communities, headquartered in Arlington, Va. “In a pre-COVID world, candidates build their trust in an organization by meeting with current associates and getting a feel for the culture of the place they are considering working. In a COVID environment, that cannot happen.”  

Although roles and procedures have changed, the industry still requires human hands on the controls. Erika Daniel, Director at RETS Associates, a recruitment firm for the real estate industry based in Newport Beach, Calif., has not seen any drop-off in the need for frontline help. “Positions in property management and asset management are still full speed ahead because you need those positions filled no matter what is happening with the economy,” she says.  

The pandemic has thrown millions of lives into upheaval, which in some cases can become good news for hiring managers. “We have noticed the quality of job applicants has improved with the recent market changes,” says Angela Gibbons, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, at Bell Partners, based in Greensboro, N.C. “We are able to place candidates much more quickly in positions at our site and corporate offices.”

Even though activity has slowed, there has been no hiring freeze at Bell Partners or AvalonBay. Says AvalonBay’s Alagno, “We have over 140,000 residents living in our buildings who are depending on us to deliver the experiences they envisioned when they signed their leases. To support this, we continue to hire to sustain our ongoing operations. In addition, we have been adding staff to help advance our progress [in] several strategic objectives.” 

Train ’Em Up

As anybody would expect, the onboarding and training of fresh recruits has gone virtual, a change that was already happening before the pandemic struck. “COVID really served more as an accelerator to some of the work we had already started in delivering learning in a remote manner,” says Alagno. Before COVID, he says, AvalonBay had been experimenting with what the company calls “connected classrooms,” where instructor-led training is delivered remotely to multiple sites. “The conditions created by COVID challenged us to accelerate these plans to effectively deliver training to the organization,” Alagno adds.

Even though the tedium of never-ending Zoom calls can try anybody’s patience, Bell Partners is starting to see encouraging results from the new ways of interacting. “We encourage networking within the organization with the use of technology and staying connected through doing team events,” says Gibbons. “This has been very successful to the point [that] our teams have made the comment that they feel even more connected now than before.”

Internships at Risk

Many full-time employees began their working lives as interns, a segment of the working world that took a big hit from the pandemic. In April, the National Association of Colleges and Associations reported that 16 percent of employers had revoked internship offers, 40 percent had shortened internships and 20 percent had reduced the number of internships.

“We canceled most of our internships for this year, with the exception of our investment and portfolio management group,” says Gibbons. “These groups did a great job [of] including and developing the interns remotely.”

AvalonBay already had a whole crop of interns onboard when the pandemic hit. Wherever possible, interns remained on staff and assumed the safety protocols that were put in place. Remote interns were also added where feasible. AvalonBay did its best to ease the financial blow on those they were unable to bring on board and looks forward to resuming intern recruitment.

“Unfortunately, there were some parts of the company that were unable to host interns in either manner because of their increased workload,” says Alagno. “We took our commitment to these students very seriously, and to help ease their financial burden, we chose to compensate them for four weeks of their time. When we resume normal operations, from an internship perspective, our intention is to bring those students back to the company.”

Situation Report

From the recruiting point of view, the challenge of finding the right person for a particular job is, as always, a mixed bag of opportunity and competition. However, candidates seem more willing to discuss a job change now than they did before the pandemic struck, says Daniel. “The crisis has shaken their sense of job security, and they want to explore their options.” 

Daniel also has some advice for the firms doing the hiring. “They must move quickly when hiring because the candidates we are talking to are having conversations with multiple companies,” she says. “If employers lag in the interviewing process, they can easily lose a candidate.” 

A company looking to hire a high-skill position might get some help from the pandemic fallout. “Employers who need to hire are benefiting from top talent being out of work,” says Kent Elliott, Principal at RETS. At the same time, many companies are fighting to retain the employees in the trenches. “In some cases, senior-level employees are losing their jobs while mid-level or lower-level employees are being kept on,” he says. 

The Future of Work

What will the new world of work look like? Elliott imagines a future that will offer a hybrid assortment of work plans. “Old-school companies will mandate that all employees come back to the office and not allow anyone to work from home,” he says. “Other companies will allow employees to work from home a couple of days a week, while still others will be open to team members working from home five days a week and only coming into the office occasionally.”

Elliott says that firms with an old-school philosophy will lose many employees and potential employees because these people will refuse to return to the old ways of doing things. “So many people had a taste of working from home that they don’t even want to consider working in an office all the time,” he says.

Adaptability will remain a key to success. “Companies need to develop a hybrid program that works for both the employer and the candidate—one that includes the synergies of working face-to-face as needed—in order to attract the most-qualified candidates,” says Elliott.

Tech Factor: There’s No Going Back

Everybody agrees that technology is now playing the role of genie in a world defined by the pandemic and it’s not going back inside the bottle. Alagno believes that a company’s quality of technology is becoming an even larger determining factor in its success.

Having a strong technology infrastructure, adds Alagno, will increasingly be a difference maker for companies in recruiting as more and more work is accomplished remotely, enabled through technology. “In many ways, the pandemic has accelerated change in the ways we do business and has identified the associates and the companies who are the most adaptable,” he says. “This is an area where AvalonBay is investing for the long term, and we believe it will pay large dividends.”

Gibbons agrees, citing Bell Partners’ increased focus on technological advancement to stay competitive from a personnel standpoint. “The company accelerated its focus on innovative technology,” she says. “We have implemented a number of new technologies at the sites, which has been a huge success.”

Back in March, just at the pandemic was taking off, Zillow had already reported a 191 percent increase in the use of virtual tours. Finding new employees who are comfortable working with what has become the dominant selling tool is becoming a major theme.

Gibbons says, “As we consider future talent at Bell, we will need to incorporate into our job profile ‘tech savvy,’ as we will not be moving away from what we have put in place with our future residents. Residents will have broader choices through technology that has been implemented, such as video tours.”

Like food and water, housing will remain essential no matter how it is configured. “It fluctuates over time as the needs and preferences of people evolve—urban vs. suburban, high rise vs. garden, homes vs apartments,” says Alagno. “However, one thing that is consistent is that housing is and will always be an essential need. 

“Being part of an industry that provides this important service makes what we do so meaningful. This has become even more clear during the pandemic. What we do is required, and what we do matters.”

Scott Sowers is a freelance writer.

The Great Resignation Is Accelerating

I first noticed that something weird was happening this past spring.

In April, the number of workers who quit their job in a single month broke an all-time U.S. record. Economists called it the “Great Resignation.” But America’s quittin’ spirit was just getting started. In July, even more people left their job. In August, quitters set yet another record. That Great Resignation? It just keeps getting greater.

“Quits,” as the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls them, are rising in almost every industry. For those in leisure and hospitality, especially, the workplace must feel like one giant revolving door. Nearly 7 percent of employees in the “accommodations and food services” sector left their job in August. That means one in 14 hotel clerks, restaurant servers, and barbacks said sayonara in a single month. Thanks to several pandemic-relief checks, a rent moratorium, and student-loan forgiveness, everybody, particularly if they are young and have a low income, has more freedom to quit jobs they hate and hop to something else.

Derek Thompson: What quitters understand about the job market

As I wrote in the spring, quitting is a concept typically associated with losers and loafers. But this level of quitting is really an expression of optimism that says, We can do better. You may have heard the story that in the golden age of American labor, 20th-century workers stayed in one job for 40 years and retired with a gold watch. But that’s a total myth. The truth is people in the 1960s and ’70s quit their jobs more often than they have in the past 20 years, and the economy was better off for it. Since the 1980s, Americans have quit less, and many have clung to crappy jobs for fear that the safety net wouldn’t support them while they looked for a new one. But Americans seem to be done with sticking it out. And they’re being rewarded for their lack of patience: Wages for low-income workers are rising at their fastest rate since the Great Recession. The Great Resignation is, literally, great.

For workers, that is. For the far smaller number of employers and bosses—who in pre-pandemic times were much more comfortable—this economy must feel like leaping from the frying pan of economic chaos, only to land in the fires of Manager Hell. Job openings are sky-high. Many positions are going unfilled for months. Meanwhile, supply chains are breaking down because of a hydra of bottlenecks. Running a company requires people and parts. With people quitting and parts missing, it must kinda suck to be a boss right now. (Oh, well!)

The Great Resignation is not the only Great R-word overhauling the labor force.

Leisure and hospitality workers might be saying “to hell with this” on account of Americans deciding to behave like a pack of escaped zoo animals. Call it the Great Rudeness. Airlines in the United States reported that, by June 2021, the number of unruly passengers had already broken records—doubling the previous all-time pace of orneriness. The Atlantic writer Amanda Mull has chronicled America’s epidemic of bad behavior, from Trader Joe’s tirades to a poor Cape Cod restaurant that had to close briefly in the hope that its clientele would calm down after a few days in the time-out box. Cabin-fevered and filled with rage, American customers have poured into the late-pandemic economy with abandon, like the unfurling of so many angry pinched hoses. I don’t blame thousands of servers and clerks for deciding that suffering nonstop rudeness should never be a job requirement.

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Finally, there is a Great Reshuffling of people and businesses around the country. For decades, many measures of U.S. entrepreneurship declined. But business formation has surged since the beginning of the pandemic, and the largest category by far is e-commerce. This has coincided with an uptick in moves, especially to the suburbs of large metropolitan areas. Several major companies, such as Twitter, have announced permanent work-from-home policies, while others, such as Tesla, have moved their headquarters. Several years ago, I wrote that America had lost its “mojo,” because its citizens were less likely to switch jobs, move to another state, or create new companies than they were 30 (or 100) years ago. Well, so much for all that. America’s mojo is back, baby (yeah), and it may lead to a better-job revolution that outlasts the temporary measures, such as unemployment super-benefits and rent protection, that have nourished it.

As a general rule, crises leave an unpredictable mark on history. It didn’t seem obvious that the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 would lead to a revolution in architecture, and yet, it without a doubt contributed directly to the invention of the skyscraper in Chicago. You might be equally surprised that one of the most important scientific legacies of World War II had nothing to do with bombs, weapons, or manufacturing; the conflict also accelerated the development of penicillin and flu vaccines. If you asked me to predict the most salutary long-term effects of the pandemic last year, I might have muttered something about urban redesign and office filtration. But we may instead look back to the pandemic as a crucial inflection point in something more fundamental: Americans’ attitudes toward work. Since early last year, many workers have had to reconsider the boundaries between boss and worker, family time and work time, home and office.

One way to capture the meaning of any set of events is to consider what it would mean if they all happened in reverse. Imagine if quits fell to nearly zero. Business formation declined. In lieu of an urban exodus, everybody moved to a dense downtown. It would be, in other words, a movement of extraordinary consolidation and centralization: everybody working in urban areas for old companies that they never leave.

Look at what we have instead: a great pushing-outward. Migration to the suburbs accelerated. More people are quitting their job to start something new. Before the pandemic, the office served for many as the last physical community left, especially as church attendance and association membership declined. But now even our office relationships are being dispersed. The Great Resignation is speeding up, and it’s created a centrifugal moment in American economic history.

Derek Thompson is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, technology, and the media. He is the author of Hit Makers and the host of the podcast Crazy/Genius.

Apartment Jobs Snapshot August 2021

In August’s edition of NAAEI’s Apartment Jobs Snapshot, nearly 13,000 positions were available in the multifamily sector.

Markets with the highest concentration of job postings included Virginia Beach, San Antonio, Portland, Nashville and Seattle. This month’s spotlight highlights Leasing Consultants. The demand for these positions was twice the national average in Houston, Austin, Virginia Beach, Dallas and Nashville. The top specialized skills employers are looking for included leasing, property management, customer service, sales and Yardi Software.

Tradespeople Report High Levels of Compensation, Job Satisfaction

A career in the trades could provide satisfaction as well as a higher paycheck for those looking to switch jobs. A new report by Angi found that a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and “The Great Resignation” has created a unique opportunity for the trades to thrive. 

According to the “2021 The Skilled Trades in America” report, careers in the trades have high job satisfaction due to high levels of entrepreneurship, generous pay, and a sense of meaning connected to the work. Of the 2,400 skilled tradespeople surveyed, 83% are somewhat or extremely satisfied in their choice of work. This, coupled with a worsening labor shortage, could create an enticing opportunity for those looking to switch jobs.

According to Mischa Fisher, Chief Economist at Angi, 2021 is a particularly dynamic year for the trades. “The adage that ‘opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work’ has never been truer than it is in 2021,” she said.

Higher demand for work is leading to higher pay — plumbers, electricians, and general contractors earn 22%, 29%, and 53% more than the general population, respectively. Compensation, along with meaning and value in the work, are major drivers of job satisfaction. 

As with other industries, the trades are experiencing a labor shortage. More than two-thirds (68%) of companies are struggling to hire skilled workers. Survey respondents identified several insights that could help companies counteract this shortage.

  • 62% think there is a lack of respect for blue collar work
  • 59% believe providing a clear pathway for women would make the trades more welcoming
  • 54% say that Americans over-prioritize university at the expense of trade school

In addition, although the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community makes up about 18% of the U.S. population, they only account for 9% of plumbers, 8% of construction supervisors/general contractors, and 10% of electricians.

An adaptive approach to recruiting could be key to tapping into the labor movement. The number of trade companies using online job postings rose to 37% from 28% last year. This represents a missed opportunity since over 80% of Americans use online job searches to find employment.

Companies in the trades also need to better communicate the benefits of these jobs. “If home trades recognize the connection between what their trades offer and what workers are seeking during the Great Resignation, we could begin to see a narrative change around trade labor and start to reverse the labor shortages that have impacted the trades for years,” the report states.

NAAEI Apartment Jobs Snapshot July 2021

Record-breaking apartment rent growth and occupancy powered demand for multifamily talent in July. Nearly 38 percent of positions available in the real estate industry were in the apartment sector. Portland, Ore.; Nashville, Tenn.; Denver; Raleigh, N.C.; and Virginia Beach, Va.; led the nation with the highest concentration of job postings. This month’s edition of NAAEI’s Apartment Jobs Snapshot spotlights maintenance technician job openings.

Demand for maintenance technicians was approximately twice the U.S average in Columbus, Ohio; Portland, Ore.; Seattle, Nashville, Tenn.; and Virginia Beach, Va. The top specialized skills employers are seeking included plumbing, repair, HVAC, carpentry skills and painting.

It’s Time to Rethink Candidates’ Criminal Records


There is a major labor shortage, especially in the hourly wage worker market — to the point that it’s crippling businesses since they are unable to operate fully. Solving this crisis will require both society and employers to rethink how they view hiring individuals with criminal records, and in particular, those who have been previously convicted of felonies, as well as those who have been formerly incarcerated. 

Nearly 1 in 3 Americans has a criminal record, which is a staggering number of people. This has major implications when it comes to employment, since it often prevents opportunity, which becomes a vicious cycle, increasing the likelihood of someone reoffending. As a nation and the employers within it, it’s time to start rethinking hiring workers with past criminal records

[Editor’s note: Join “From Cell Block to C-Suite: The Ins and Outs of Hiring Formerly Incarcerated Individuals,” an interactive ERE webinar on Thurs., Aug, 5, to help you elevate your hiring practices to leverage an often overlooked talent pool.]

Labor Shortage

As mentioned, there’s a dire labor shortage these days. Indeed, you may have seen a lack of staff at local restaurants or during a recent hotel stay or even inside your own organization. As the pandemic subsides, companies are struggling to hire workers, especially in the hourly wage worker market. 

The truth is that employers cannot afford to be as choosy as they once were, which is a good thing since there are approximately 1.9 million formerly incarcerated workers in the labor force who are all too often treated as unemployable. 

But why? It’s time to both offer opportunity to this workforce and solve the talent shortage.

The government has clearly shown its support for changing this view — 26 states have legislation that bars employers from asking for criminal record checks. Again, allowing this workforce to have opportunities is good for them and helps with hiring during today’s tough times. 

Allowing Reform

Imagine making a mistake at a young age (say, between 17 to 30 years old) and then having that mistake, for which you already served your sentence and have lawfully earned your right to freedom, follow you with a constant stigma. Imagine that drastically inhibiting your ability to earn an honest income and provide for yourself and your family. 

What do you think the likelihood is that you would potentially reoffend? Five out of 6 people who were released from prison in 2005 were rearrested at some point over the course of the next nine years.  

What’s more, a study released in March 2018 found that 45% of people released from prison had not reported earning income for the entire calendar year after their release. Common sense suggests that work opportunities are the best way to offer routine and reform to those who have made mistakes at some point in their lives.  

On the other hand, constantly preventing people from moving forward with their lives maintains a cycle of hurt and puts people at risk for reoffending. It’s toxic, and if companies would change their policies and open up opportunities for all, the outcome would likely be a considerable decrease in people reoffending. 

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Lost Taxes and Productivity

There’s data showing that the average cost to house, clothe, and feed someone in prison is the same as the average annual salary of a formerly incarcerated worker. By not offering employment opportunities to people who have been formerly incarcerated, we are essentially forcing them to reoffend since there are no other options. Everyone loses out, and all of society pays for it, quite literally. 

With the 1.9 million formerly incarcerated workers out of the labor market, due to their inability to find gainful employment, the U.S. economy loses $87 billion in gross domestic product.

Here’s another interesting fact: The GDP loss we experience from not hiring that 1.9-million-person workforce is the same as Sri Lanka’s entire economy! This workforce of formerly incarcerated individuals would rank in the top 65 largest economies all on its own. 

Really think about and digest that for a second. Why are we allowing — even forcing — that loss to exist? This does not even mention the taxes that are lost, which could be used for schools, infrastructure, and other high-value inputs to the macro U.S. economy. 

Time to Rethink

If we can take away any positives from all of the turmoil caused this past year by Covid-19, wouldn’t rethinking the way we treat people who have paid their debt to society be a good place to start? Especially when by just offering them career opportunities, we create a better, more productive economy for all of us? 

Let’s hope that the coverage and discussions this topic has generated continues gaining momentum and we actually begin to see some material changes over the coming months and years. Otherwise, continuing to support systems that were created and designed to force those in vulnerable positions to reoffend will only continue to result in that outcome. An outcome that quite literally punishes us all. 

Register for the webinar “From Cell Block to C-Suite: The Ins and Outs of Hiring Formerly Incarcerated Individuals” on Thurs., Aug, 5, for more information.]