The recession is affecting us all. In some sectors like housing, it is a certain double dip. In others, such as retail, it appears to be a strong and steady climb up. Regardless of where we’re going, Generation Y has been hit, hard.
The Echo Boomers, Gen Y, The Millennium generation, the roughly 80 million people born between 1980 and 2000, and make up approximately 30% of U.S. population. Those aged 20-24 are unemployed at 14.7-percent. High unemployment, layered with easy credit, student loans, no formal education on money management, and the most competitive employment environment in recent history, the recession has given this highly sociable group a handful of challenges.
In a world where the NASA space shuttle program and planned parenthood are having their funding threatened, and thousands of young workers are fighting with resumes and charm to get jobs paying minimum wage, what’s in store for our young workers?
It’s no secret, Generation Y has a debt problem. Gen Y has had the largest number of job losses since the onset of the recession, and unfortunately they maintained their spending habits. On average, 20% of Gen Y have credit card debt above $10,000. Millennials are graduating from college with an average of $23,200 in student debt, according to the Project on Student Debt, that’s a 24% increase from 2004.
Mommy! 12% of Generation Y depend on financial support from their families, including 14% of them who have full-time jobs. More than one in three young workers are currently living at home with their parents, and one in three cannot pay their bills. But many of those not fortunate to receive financial support, have had to lower their expectations. Many recent graduates, who cannot afford to take the time off to take an internship, cannot find entry-level jobs in their fields, and many seek better-paying, undesirable jobs.
Many Generation Yers take numerous odd jobs, seek freelance gigs, sell things on eBay, and do whatever is needed to get by when times are tough. Generally, if one thing doesn’t work, they have many skills, and ideas waiting in the dugout.
They have been raised by parents who, more than ever, want to be friends with their kids rather than be authorities. They have seen numerous examples of things NOT working out. They have watched as their parents worked stressful jobs with long hours in their scramble for money and status, and how their loyalty to their employers paid off: layoffs, unfulfilled pension plans, pitiful severance packages, etc. It has given them a shift of ideals, and possibly made them want to find meaning alternatively. Personal development and a sense of meaning have a place in the conversation. Adapting to the instability, and safeguarding themselves against the confines of the state of the national economy, they have become an incredibly flexible, multi talented (multi-tasking), hard-working group with strong ideals.
This generation doesn’t live for work, they work to live. They’ll make their own way through the rubble of the economy, and as we have already seen, come out stronger and better people for it.
It has been said that this generation is much more like their grandparents, THE GREATEST GENERATION, than their parents. Oh yes, in so many ways!