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‘Generations Apart’

by on January 16, 2013

An interesting programme earlier today on BBC R4, part of a series presented by Fi Glover and looking at members of two different generations: Baby Boomers and those born in the 1990s (sometimes referred to as Gen Y – but the labels and boundaries relating to ‘generations’ are notoriously inconsistent).

Today’s programme (shortly available for listen again via this link) focused on jobs, comparing and contrasting the experiences of members of each generation around the themes of skilled v unskilled work and gender. Issues included the rise of unpaid internships replacing apprenticeships, the idea of working past ‘retirement’ and the wider career options for women.

One of the contributors mentioned the ‘scarring’ effects of unemployment on young people (in the context of the current economic climate in the UK). It’s a concept that has a lot of currency and is often cited as part of the rationale for targeting youth unemployment with Government funding (see yesterday’s post). But I’m not particularly familiar with the academic literature on this topic and it will be a while before any longitudinal studies examine the long term effects of the current job market. In the meantime, however, analysis of an earlier economic downturn suggests that it is not unemployment per se that is ‘scarring’ but worsened expectations about future unemployment following a period out of work (Knabe & Raetzel, 2011).

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