But just try telling that to anyone between the age of 21 and 35 in the western world. Today we reveal the true economic plight of Generation Y and how a combination of debt, joblessness, globalisation, demographics and rising house prices is depressing the incomes and prospects of millions of young people across the developed world, resulting in unprecedented inequality between generations.
But why? No one expected people to live as long as they are, and in such great numbers. Pensions that were promised in the past, and seemed ordinary at the time, are now onerously over-generous, and that is hurting young adults today.
What boomers can do
Pensioner demands are not just beating down the financial prospects of new employees. Retirees are also winning more from governments than they did a generation ago.
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And once again, young people are the ones paying the price. Laurence Kotlikoff baby boomer , a professor of economics at Boston University, is astounded at what has happened, especially in America. The former head of the US Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke , said that although he believed the issue was paramount, he firmly believed it was not the job of central banks to address it.
Generation Y: a guide to a much-maligned demographic
There is of course the flip side to these startling shifts in demography. In most countries in the set studied by the Guardian, young adults are now a smaller part of the workforce than was the case 30 years ago. Theoretically, this should have resulted in a rise in millennial wages, says James Pomeroy Generation Y , an HSBC economist who published a report on demography last year. Fewer workers means more bargaining power with employers, he said.
Baby Boomers Worried They Haven't Saved Enough for Retirement
However, this has all been turned on its head by globalisation. In the past 30 years, liberalisation has allowed companies to outsource aggressively. Everything from telephone helplines to legal services to computer programmers are now being provided by outsourcing companies in countries such as India or China.
The aforementioned study by Bluestone and Melnik reported that during the same time period workers aged are expected to increase their labor participation rate from Many factors support these projections of increased labor participation by older workers. Therefore, many Baby Boomers have been forced, out of necessity, to delay retirement and continue working.
A more positive factor is increased longevity and vitality. Quite simply, on average, Baby Boomers are healthier and have a greater life expectancy than previous generations.
Retirement, social security: Baby boomers, Generation X to go broke
Also, because more of the economy has shifted to professional and client services, there will be more opportunities for older workers to contribute. Finally, many Baby Boomers want to remain active and continue to work rather than retire. The experience, knowledge, decision-making skills, and professional networks that Baby Boomer executives bring to the table can be invaluable to companies. Although many Baby Boomers want to continue working, it does not mean that they want to continue in their current positions. Most executives, even C-level, will take a call from a recruiter concerning a new opportunity.
Companies that are willing to provide more flexibility with schedule or location should be well-positioned to attract the top senior executive talent. Management should not, however, become preoccupied with attracting top senior executive talent and forget about younger talent. Although large numbers of Baby Boomers have expressed a need and a desire to work longer than their predecessors, inevitably, at some point, the reins must be turned over to the leaders in Generation X and Generation Y.
Many companies do not have a succession plan in place to prepare for and facilitate an efficient and orderly transfer of power. A key part of any plan must be attracting and retaining the top talent in Generations X and Y. As we have noted in prior issues of the SRA Update, many top performers have been waiting for economic times to improve and are poised to make a move.
Those Baby Boomers looking for a better quality of life may seek roles that involve more mentoring or consulting, and a common complaint among the top talent in Generation X and Generation Y is that companies do not have effective training or mentoring programs.