Financial crisis will alter Gen Y, says expert

By Rob O’Brien
Generation Y, widely thought of as the young, hip and self-assured product of the Baby Boomers is being hugely affected by the financial crisis, according to leading KPMG demographer Bernard Salt.

For the first time in their lives they are learning the meaning of ‘no’, Salt told GovernmentNews.

Addressing delegates at the Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) national congress in Darwin this week on population changes and the effect they will have on local government, Salt said the cockiness that was once associated with Gen Y was being hammered out of them by financial and job insecurity.

“It’s the global financial crisis that is telling them ‘No, you don’t have that option; No, you can’t progress to that job; and, no you can’t have that amount of money’… All fairly confronting experiences,” he said.

“It’s a learning that will stick with Gen Y beyond the global financial crisis. I think they will go through this transition learning lessons. No one has ever said ‘No’ to Gen Y: not parents, teachers, employers… until now.”

Salt said Gen Yers who had survived job cuts had been severely impacted by it, with businesses noting a change in attitude.

“The relative is that you learn through adversity… the observation made by businesses is that where there have been redundancies, the surviving Gen Y employers are extraordinarily impacted by it… perhaps because they’ve never seen it before.

“Coming out the other side [of the financial crisis] we will view Gen Y differently. But one thing we have to do is allow them to change.”

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