Monday, December 20, 2010

Boom, bust and echo

There is a really nice chart in Worthwhile Canadian Initiative (WCI) about youth unemployment over time (in Canada). I was too young to actually be influenced much by the recession in the 1980's but the recession of the early 1990's (about 6% higher than it is today) dramatically influenced my career trajectory. As a young person, I never imagined that I would end up in the United States.

However, poverty has a way of changing opinions and I headed south for employment reasons. I am struck by how different the tenor of the times was: the articles that were linked to in the WCI post suggest that the issue is greed among those in the older generations. But, back in the day, we were much more likely to hear that young people were unmotivated or spoiled.

I think that we are actually seeing signs of the economic power of young people today that the narrative has shifted so far from what it used to be. But, as a card carrying member of Generation X, I can definitely attest that careers were pushed back and we started a lot later than everyone else simply because jobs were so hard to find.


  1. As a card carrying member of Generation Y, I think you're right. Demographics is everything. We wouldn't be talking about "cougars" on TV if the baby boomers weren't all getting older, and Penelope Trunk wouldn't be able to have a career arguing for the need to accommodate Gen Y in the workplace if this generation didn't have a fundamental size advantage.

  2. The Penelope Trunk example is a really good one. At some point people started worrying baout how to attract younger talent (which is a sea-change from the massive glut that I remember).

    It's not that things might not work out okay but the path can be pretty rocky . . .