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August 14, 2017

Compared to older generations, salary outlook dismal for young people entering the workforce

If a gridlocked housing market and student loans weren't enough to worry millennials, recent studies show that the trajectory of their careers and salaries are defined pretty early on, starting with their very first jobs.

Of course, it’s not unusual that a person’s career depends on their early decisions, but the need to make the “right” choice is more dire now than ever before. 

A recent report from Quartz shows that, compared to past generations, millennials are not only locked in a more dismal pay grade – with a much lower rate for raises throughout their lifetime – but that any chance for success if they wish to switch careers, or get out of a crappy first job, could set them up for long-term challenges both financially and professionally.

In a recent academic paper, it was suggested that a person’s financial future is now pretty much defined by the time they’re 25. This is a far cry from the generations working throughout the 1950s to the 1980s, when there was less inequality among 20-somethings and workers earned more than future generations would. Nonetheless, during this period, pay raises became less and less.

“For recent graduates, the early signs aren’t good,” Quartz reports. “Inequality is worse and young graduates are paid even less than their parents were at their age.”

Quartz shows that, compared to jobs taken by workers without a college degree ages 23 to 29, there are fewer jobs available in administration and manufacturing, which once offered relatively good salaries for non-college graduates.

To send an extra shiver down your spine, even more jobs for entry-level workers could disappear as technology further advances to take over roles in administration and transportation. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Times reported that 38 percent of U.S. jobs could be taken over by "robots" in the next 15 years.

Check out the full Quartz report, with charts, here