(USA TODAY) -- Chances are if you're a working Millennial, you're working in retail, says a study released Tuesday by Generation Y research firm Millennial Branding in conjunction with PayScale, a company that collects compensation data.
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The most common jobs held by Gen Y are merchandise displayer and sales representative, which they are about five times more likely to hold vs. all workers, shows a PayScale analysis of about 500,000 profiles submitted to the company in the past year by Millennials ages 19-30.
Those jobs are also among the lowest paid.
Retail sales associate is listed as the fifth-worst-paid job, at an average of $19,300 a year, only better than cashier, barista, hotel clerk and dietary aide, the findings show.
For an age group struggling with a poor job outlook and hefty student loans, many settle for retail while they look for jobs in their preferred field, says Dan Schawbel, managing partner at Millennial Branding.
"A lot of them will end up in these retail jobs while applying for professional jobs and hoping there'll be openings," he says.
Many Millennials in retail have college degrees. Almost half of merchandise displayers -- better known as floor clerks -- and 83% of clothing sales associates indicated having a bachelor's degree, the PayScale data show.
Mandi Walker, 24, graduated from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo., in May with a degree in graphic design and business but has had almost no luck finding a job in those fields.
Instead, she's continued to work as a sales associate at Kohl's, which she's done for the past eight years during summers and breaks from school. She'll soon start a new job as a supervisor at Midwest retail chain ShopKo at $10.50 an hour, vs. about $9 an hour at Kohl's.
The best paid jobs with companies ranked high among Gen Y are all in science and technology, the survey shows. Google, Intel and Microsoft are all among the top five best companies for Gen Y, ranked based on average pay for Millennials working there, job satisfaction and flexible schedules, among other things.
At the same time, it's most common for Gen Y to work for small companies of 100 employees or less, the study shows.
"Tech companies play to Gen Y's entrepreneurship and wanting to work in a company that's constantly moving," Schawbel says.
He says larger companies are starting to embrace a more entrepreneurial spirit in an effort to attract younger talent.
(Hadley Malcolm, USA TODAY)