Junior Job Seekers: Are We Playing Fast and Loose with the Term “Entry-Level”?

In today’s job market, there’s an abundance of young graduates eager to get a foot in the door. Though there are more options now than ever, there are also certain career paths which appear to be more desirable as a whole – for example, millennials are more creative than any previous generation, and come 2025 we will make up 75% of the workforce. Unfortunately, due to this large number of hungry young workers desperate to begin their creative careers, this eagerness seems to be somewhat regularly taken advantage of through overly-demanding entry-level positions.

Unreasonable Requirements

In the present day, we’re seeing an endless array of job postings with titles such as “Entry-Level Copywriter” or “Junior Graphic Designer”. This wouldn’t be an issue if most of these positions weren’t also asking for;

  • At least 2/3+ years of relevant experience (up to 5 in some cases, as even 3 isn’t always enough)
  • Bachelor’s Degrees on top of said experience
  • Multiple references from relevant positions
  • An already established and often varied skillset, i.e. some who is skilled and learned in both marketing and photography/videography

Not only does this mean fresh graduates are having an absolute nightmare when it comes to beginning their careers, but more experienced and established workers are being forced to accept “entry-level” and “junior” job titles for pay which is far below their industry’s standard – even with as much as 5+ years of experience. It’s been very clear for quite some time that young, creative professionals are being taken advantage of for their burning desire to begin their professions, and it’s time to bring this to an end.

Take a Step Back

Let’s make it clear that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with entry-level or junior positions. On the contrary, they can be a perfect chance for those wanting to break into their desired industry. But the definition of an entry-level job is a position for one to enter their desired industry with, not for someone with multiple years of experience to continue into. The clue is in the title.

Instead of being trainable and teachable, fresh employees are now often expected to have multiple skill sets and a wide range of experience straight off the bat, which is simply impossible. Instead of demanding that young, entry-level employees be perfectly honed professionals from the moment they begin their first jobs, it’s time to take a step back and remember that helping to shape an employee is not only far more realistic and achievable, but also more rewarding for both the employee and their employer. Being offered the opportunity to begin your career with proper training and guidance can be a godsend in the current workforce when it should be a norm, and the little effort it takes to train an entry-level employee will not go unappreciated. Instead, it will make the employee more likely to stick with your company for the long run.

Workers Know Their Worth

One reason that an abundance of employers are able to make such demands for creative roles seems to be the competition surrounding them. When hundreds of job-seekers are applying for a single position, the company doing the hiring is bound to find someone who meets their expectations, right? But this isn’t where the true issue lies.

If employers want to hire someone with multiple years of professional experience, they should be prepared to pay them a salary suited to an established professional. And likewise, if employers want to hire an employee with “junior” or “entry-level” in the job title and pay a basic starting wage, demanding multiple years of experience needs to be off the cards. And, finally, if any employer wants an employee to carry out the level of work related to a position, they need to advertise the position correctly.

Simply put, you get what you pay for. Workers know their worth, but if the employer doesn’t, they’ll have staff leaving as soon as a better opportunity comes up, whether they’re fresh and eager or skilled and experienced.