One Type of Job-Seeker Is Having More Success Than They Might Think

Of the many contentions between Gen Z, Millennials and ‘Boomers,’ none are as powerful as those revolving around employment.

A TikToker (@catamorning) who is about to graduate college and has been finding the job search difficult, posted a video exploring the differences between salaries and costs-of-living — between job seekers and hiring managers — in an effort to explain why it’s so hard for college grads to get a job.

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Inspired by a conversation with her mom who said that many hiring managers say recent college grads expect too much, Cat highlighted some numerical disparities. 

She said that, adjusted for inflation, the average salary for recent college graduates was $55,000 in 2022, compared to a 1980 number of $102,000. She added that the average single-family house in 2022 cost about $500,000, a number that was at $223,000 in 1980.

“I think boomers have such a hard time conceptualizing this because they never had to fight for jobs,” Cat said. “They were at the upswing of technology, big business. It’s not their fault, they just don’t know.”

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The TikToker added that both people who go to college and those who don’t deserve to make enough to live comfortably.

Matt Darling, a senior employment analyst at the Niskanen Center, responded to the video, saying that Cat’s numbers are a bit off.

“She is wrong,” Darling tweeted, citing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Unemployment rates for young workers are at a 70-year low.”

Darling added that her inflation-adjusted numbers are also wrong — the $102,000 1980 salary based on an average wage of $33,000 had already been adjusted. The average salary in 1980 was $12,500.

“It’s always a bit hard,” Darling said of finding a job. “You need to apply to lots of jobs to get a hit. But it’s not ‘harder than normal,’ at least.”

Housing prices being way too high today was the one area Darling and Cat agreed on. 

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