In case you hadn’t noticed, the economy and the job market are pretty tough out there. We’re all after the same thing. We want great jobs and we’re willing to do anything it takes to get them. But our eagerness is being exploited by employers who pit our passion and competitiveness against itself. The over-supply of our labour, compared to the limited demand for young workers, has meant that millennial men are now earning less and less.
A recent study by a think tank called The Resolution Foundation has shown that on average the pay packet of a male millennial, by the time he is in his 30s, is significantly lower than the pay packet of a male from the previous generation. By earning less in our 20s this means that we’re on average £12,500 worse off by the time we’re 30 compared to males from Generation X (a.k.a ‘ya dad’). More striking however, is the fact that we are the first generation in recent history who this has happened to.
So how the hell should we take this crushing news? Well, from a selfish point of view these figures may not necessarily apply to you. Young men employed in low paid, part time work are skewing the numbers. Since 1993 the number of young males employed in lower paid shift work has increased fourfold and so if you are employed in, or looking to be employed in, a better paid sector you may well avoid feeling the effects of this pay squeeze. No one goes out with the long-term intention to remain in low paid work though, so unfortunately some of us are quite simply going to be hit by the effects of this, whether we like it or not.
The stereotypical, 1950s dream of earning enough to own a house, a car and being married to your ‘gal’ all before you hit 25, is something which is effectively untenable in this day and age (and who said we want that anyway?). Clearly, we need to put up with the fact that, for now, we are going to be worse off than our parents and I guess the best way forward is to embrace it.
According to Australian millionaire, Tim Gurner, the reason why we don’t all own our own homes is because us youngsters spend our money on avocados and coffee. It’s because of employers, like Australia’s answer to Donald Trump, that we are earning less. Because of our sheer numbers and the lack of opportunities out there, our skills have become worth less and less. The gender pay gap has shortened but unfortunately not for the right reasons, women haven’t been earning more in relation to men. Male pay is tumbling and the best way we have to deal with this is to have faith, accept it and try and move forward. Have faith that hard work will eventually pay off. If you stick at something long enough and follow your dreams you’ll not only love the work you do but also climb up the pay ladder.
Don’t let all of this become emasculating either; you’re certainly no less of a man for earning less. It’s just a fact of life and a sign of the times we live in, no matter what people say and the social expectations that surround men and money. Equally, we should all know how to budget, it’s frustrating but it’s character building and gives us an appreciation for other people, experiences and the things in life that don’t involve money and truly matter. For now, I’ll just stay grounded drinking cut price alcohol, wearing second hand clothes and just saving the pennies for the things I really want. As long as I can get my hands on the big bucks later and have just maybe one of those things from the 50s dream, it’ll all work out fine, I’m sure.