X and Y – a generation gap in opinion about the depth of the recession

8 Dec 2008

It’s a bit of a generation game when it comes to appreciating the implications of the global recession, with Generation X workers who were born in the Sixties and Seventies fearing the worst, while Generation Y workers who were born since the Eighties are feeling no fear.

According to a survey by IrishJobs.ie, almost half (45pc) of Generation Y workers (born 1982-2000) believe that in spite of the economic downturn they will be able to find a new job in less than three months.

Almost the same number of these twentysomethings blame media scaremongering for reducing consumer confidence.

However, older workers – Generation X (born 1965-1981) – take a much bleaker view of the new tough times, with nearly a quarter saying it could take up to a year to get a new job. Generation X, now in their thirties and forties and well established, also believe the media is ‘telling it as it is’.

Both groups were asked for their views on the economic downturn and how they feel it will affect them.

The survey found that 50pc of Generation X workers feel more equipped to cope with the recession, compared to their younger counterparts.

Interestingly, some 43pc of Generation X and 35pc of Generation Y workers are planning a career change next year, despite the economic downturn.

The survey found that 33pc of Generation X workers cite ‘keeping up mortgage repayments’ as their main priority during the recession period, while 79pc of Generation Y workers are concerned about job security.

It also found 65pc of Generation X workers do not expect a salary increase or bonus in the near future. However, Generation Y respondents were more hopeful, with over half expecting to be remunerated in some way.

Interestingly, 10pc of respondents feel they are recession-proof.  Reasons cited include the belief they live comfortably within their means, have plans for the future, feel safe in their job and have no borrowings or outstanding debts.

“It’s interesting that, despite the gloomy market predictions, 32pc of workers still plan to change roles in 2009,” said Orla Moran, general manager, IrishJobs.ie.

“This means there will be an abundance of talent on the market, and companies can attract top-quality candidates for their key roles.

“For the first time in recent years, there will be a good supply of quality sales, finance, engineering and IT jobseekers in the market,” Moran said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years