03 November 2008
For whatever reason I put a decent amount of reading/researching into the macro trends of Generation Y. Of late I have been thinking how this down economy will really test the will of my generation as the first several waves of this Gen Y is hitting the real world in the coming years, in this horrid economic climate.
Gen Y has had a interesting upbringing chronicled in the video below
But with all this heightened sense of angst, ambition, and in many cases apathy, its anyone's guess on how young adults will react as a whole at a time with hiring, consumer confidence, and credit availability at all time lows. Recently, WSJ ran a piece entitled "The Trophy Kids Go to Work" which was followed by US news response entitled "Gen Y Millenials Meet Hard Times". Both pieces were good, but found little common ground as to what this economy will mean for Gen Y although this article seemed to take a positive outlook. All that being said, the bottom line is that 2008, 2009, and likely 2010 will be slow hiring years. Gen Y is going to have to be scrappy, persistent, realistic, and flat out frugle. Opportunities will be out there, but they'll have to look harder and farther to find them. I already suspect the % of people going straight to a grad school program out of undergrad is on the rise, and I think that trend will only pick up pace. Although I feel an affinity with Gen Y (especially those 21-26) I do spent a lot of time with the younger Gen X'ers (27-31). There are subtle differences outlined below...
Older Gen Y Younger Gen X
First election Bush vs. Gore Clinton vs Dole
MTV = Reality TV Crap = music, beavis and butthead, etc
Cool technology Facebook AIM
College applications Online In the mail
Had to have Jordans...or Nike Air Reebok Pumps.
Edgy Cartoon South Park/ Family Guy Simpsons
Caddy teen drama The Hills, Laguna Beach/ The OC Saved By the Bell, Beverley Hills 90210
Michael Jackson White, female, petafile remember Thriller
Sure there is some spillover on bothsides, but hey that took me 10 mintues to make on the spot. Not too bad.
With Gen X'ers already out in the real world, I would guess that many with savings and job security are getting very tempted by low interest rates and housing prices. Those having second thoughts might reconsider going to school. The Washington Post has a good article on the rush to go back for MBA's.
All that being said, its a turbulent time for those in their 20's regardless of what generation bucket you put them in. Different challenges face those at different age levels, but I feel confident in saying that enduring this tough time will only make both segments a lot grittier when the next wave of challenges come ( marriage, family, debt, global warming, etc). I only hope this thing doesn't linger as I think a lot of people are not ready to dig in and stomach this thing longer then 2+ years.