According to a recent Eurofound report, almost half of Europe’s young adults – 36.7 million people – live with their parents.
And it’s not just those finishing their education who can’t afford to live independently, but those in their 30s too.
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The data underlines the predicament of ‘Generation Y’ – better educated than its predecessors, but doomed nevertheless to a gloomier future than its parents’ generation: the anomaly of more and more adults stuck living in their childhood bedrooms or, worse, sofa surfing.
The pollster, Ipsos Mori, reveals similar results in the UK: “Our generational analysis of attitudes in the UK has shown how much pressure the youngest generation feel under…This echoes the Eurofound research – it’s not just those straight out of school or university who are finding it more difficult to get going with independent lives, it’s people well into their 20s and 30s.”
We often read in the UK press about young people who can’t afford to move out of the parental home – so-called ‘Boomerang Kids’ – because there simply aren’t the jobs to pay for rents or mortgages. Reasons given range from immigration to the economy, to the loss of Britain’s manufacturing base to the lack of vocational qualifications. And yes, each plays a part, but probably the last one’s most overlooked by the red-tops in favour of the latest immigration/benefits/expenses scandal.
Too many young people get educated in subjects not related to the job market. Britain needs a workforce with work-related qualifications. School-leavers lose out, too, because they lack the basics: they don’t know how to dress neatly, turn up on time or adopt an appropriate form of speech at job interviews (“Yeah, like dunno!”). Why do eastern Europeans, among others, so often have the necessary skills and discipline? Resilience is crucial: many give up before they even start. The British education system and government agencies are geared around knowledge, with skills in second place and attitude not even on the map.
So, not only are more young people unable to get jobs but to move out of the family home. More and more ageing parents are running themselves ragged bringing up kids who’ll, in turn, inflict their inability to look after themselves on their own partners. Boomerang Kids indeed.
OK, had enough of this, next immigration/benefits/expenses scandal please!
Nora Johnson’s thrillers ‘Retribution’and ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/ eBook (€0.89; £0.77) and iBookstore. Profits to Cudeca.