Home > Uncategorized > Our widely aged workforce

Our widely aged workforce

What have workers heard during the last 20 years?

In the 1990s we told Boomers (currently around 60 years old), working hard enough to destroy healthy hearts and marriages, “So you lost a job at middle age. The world is a different place than when your parents worked. Pick up your bootstraps and get another job. Become confident and empowered.” They did.

To Gen Xers (now in their 40s), graduating during the mid-90s recession we said, “Take whatever you can get. Prepare to change fields several times through your career. You work in a global economy and can’t expect help. Don’t count on pensions or benefits. Accept the paradigm shift.” We did.

To Gen Yers/Millenials (in their 20s today) we say “Established employees retain the highest management jobs and salaries. They want, have the right to, and some need, to keep working. Be entrepreneurial. Train yourself. This isn’t your parents’ workplace. Expect nothing from anyone.” They don’t.

I say that’s a good thing because we don’t worry about them. They’re young and technically savvy. They possess high levels of education and confidence. Some perceive them as “lazy workers” not willing to pay their dues. Do you blame them? The Millenials’ next job will last a maximum of 3-5 years. Previous workers retained hope of eventually getting “full-time permanent” employment with pensions and benefits. Millenials can’t plan to buy cars, condos, or start families within the foreseeable future. Approximately 1/3 of them, diplomas and degrees in hand, move back home seeking food, shelter, and comfort from Mom and Dad.

Until we, as workers, leaders and citizens force employers and government to give young workers a chance, they are better off at home. In between short term positions they aren’t forced to “take any job in their region for which they are qualified after seven weeks of benefits, even if…the job means taking a 30 percent pay cut.” as  planned by the Federal government. They can eat nutritiously instead of surviving on the $227 basic needs dollars provided monthly by social assistance**. If we don’t offer the Millenials hope, we can’t expect them to expand their boundaries. We must give them a reason to move and build their own lives or else we all lose.

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