No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Generation Y hits the wall


The young had never had it so good – and didn't we know it, with the media full of stories of Generation Y's excess. But then came the downturn, and the have-it-all generation is feeling it's impact more than most. Gemma Middleton feels that general perception about the young is calling their employability into question.

Hard work pays off, a phrase that the majority of society has had drummed into them from a young age, as quite rightly, it is a good motto to live by. Yet, if you believe everything you read it is something Generation Y leaves in their bedroom, along with their manners, ambition and determination.

Obviously, some of Generation Y are the embodiment of the media’s stereotype, much to my disgust, yet the majority are trying to get somewhere in life but are currently hitting a large brick wall; the recession.

The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has just released a report that found on average 48 graduates are chasing one job; there are 25% fewer jobs than last year, which is a lot less than the initial prediction of 5%. No wonder the graduate job market seems over-crowded!

This in reality is not surprising; consumer confidence has been at rock bottom, what with the banking catastrophe and their unwillingness to lend, the Government’s expenses debacle along with the demise of large, renowned companies from the high street, has left us all weary. It doesn’t help that every negative and soul-destroying detail is exaggerated by the media all of which is helping to put the fear of god into everyone, including graduates.

Every now and then I go on a hunt to find something positive in the news; this is no mean feat at the moment as the past 18 months has seen negative story after negative story so, when I read the headline, The Worst of the Recession is Over on the BBC website, I was more than relieved to see a little media sunshine. The story focused on a report by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) business group, which surveyed 5,600 companies and found an increase had been made in confidence levels between April and June 2009.

When delving deeper into the article it wasn’t exactly brimming with positivity as the fundamental message was that the increase in confidence was extremely fragile, as many industries had still experienced greater losses than predicted, which explains why fewer organisations are looking to employ graduates. Obviously, not great news but the positive stance seemed to make it more bearable, somehow.

Unemployment is affecting the nation as a whole. Fact. Katja Hall, Director of HR Policy for the CBI, said: "Although I think firms are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel we still expect unemployment to continue to rise for most of the coming year. Youth unemployment is shooting ahead faster than any other group."

Like it or not, Generation Y is the future.  I think we, as society, should concentrate on the benefits that Generation Y brings to our country instead of the negatives. The media has helped create a ‘bogey-man’ perception of Generation Y’s actions and supposed beliefs and morals. Some of the stories are so bad it has actually led some generations into believing it. For example, my 80-year-old Grandmother asked me, in a very public place I might add, if I watched porn! I actually thought I had misheard her, but no, my ears were not deceiving me. When I asked why on earth she would come out with that in the middle of a park she said, well the newspapers paint you all as sex-mad, drug taking lazy slobs; Granny Midd assured me she does not see me like that, rather she was just wondering how accurate it was.

Once I got over the emotional scarring it got me thinking about whether older peoples’ views of my generation, including graduates, are permanently damaged and whether we as a generation are being given a fair shot in the workplace. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying hire graduates and young people over other people, not at all; jobs should be decided on skills not quotas but I do believe the media helped to shoot us in the foot.

Whilst I want to know what is going on with the world, looking for the positives instead of concentrating on the negatives would be a refreshing change and, I feel, a much needed boost in these times, after all, we need confidence to continue to grow.

Gemma Middleton is a marketing coordinator at Righttrack Consultancy.

No Image Available

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!