Warning: A bit of a rant is contained below…
The depressing news coming out of the Office of National Stats was not surprising today. Yet again we were faced with headlines about how unemployment in Britain is on the rise, and in particular how youth unemployment is nearing the 1 million mark.
This is a symbolic figure. It would mean nearly a quarter of all 16-24-year-olds were not in work and could form a “lost generation” according to commentators. But why has this been allowed to happen? There’s only one place to point the blame for me and that’s the older generations.
Britain’s has become a bloated shadow of its former self, and look at most 50-odd year olds and you’ll see why. They match the description. The government, media, state, wherever you look it’s bloated and constructed to best suit the interests of those at the top - while limiting the opportunities for creative, innovative and frankly, desparate to work young people.
Politicians talk of innovation, technology and hi-tech as the way to grow the economy out of the dire state we’re facing - yet the very people who can deliver on that manifesto of competitive change to stop Britain becoming a bystander in the world economy face more barriers to entry than ever before.
And it’s not just the barriers to getting a job which are high, it’s the general costs of trying to live which are high - running a car, getting public transport, renting, buying a house. Nearly all are rising like mad, making those who own/run them even richer and most of them penalising young people in the process. Make no mistake about it, generation 16-30 is subsidising the poor planning, lack of innovation and general incompetence of those who went before us.
This isn’t a party political issue, there’s not much any party could do - it’s that for the last 15-20 years people have enjoyed a glut of consumption and growth. But that’s never coming back at this rate.
If the government want to really solve this economic crisis they should be lowering the retirement age, not raising it. Get rid of people who should have shuffled out of their office cubicle a long time ago and let someone who has fresh ideas, energy and a bit of spark into the organisation/company/hospital. I’m afraid our older generations will just have to realise you can only have one luxury cruise when you retire, not two. Why? It’s your punishment for royally fucking up. It might just give employers a chance to re-think what skills they actually need, not just have someone doing what they’ve always done (note: that doesn’t always mean it’s the right thing).
We claim we have brilliant universities and schools, and we’re schooling our young people better than ever to try. Yet, when they leave school/college/uni they are left saying “why did I bother?”. This will no doubt push some of them to even better innovative brilliance as they find a way to beat the system and disrupt, but most will feel cheated and betrayed. That just breeds anger and a negative culture.
At 25, I feel as though I’ve had a lucky escape. Us who graduated and entered the job market in 2007/2008 caught the last of the good times, and when the belts tightened we’ve been culled in our masses. I have friends who have been made redundant 2/3 times before they are 24. Last in, first out and all that.
So, if you’re older, reading this, no matter what experience you think you’ve got - plan your retirement, get out, and let another generation have a go at clearing up the mess you’ve left.