Millennials don’t hold down jobs. Millennials don’t have any savings for the future. And millennials don’t want to get married. We’re flaky, we’re scared of commitment and the constant swiping and Snapchatting has made us fickle and dramatically shortened our attention spans. We’ve heard these generalisations so many times that we’ve started to accept them. Yet the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017 has found that the shitstorm (they actually used the word turbulent, whatevs) that was 2016 – uncertainty caused by Brexit, terror attacks in Europe, the Donald Trump saga– has thrown up real questions about our future. Now, apparently, we’re “apprehensive” and “seeking stability”.
So what do we want…
Jobs For Life?
Yes it’s true that company loyalty isn’t a major factor when it comes to millennials and their jobs – a cycle of unpaid internships and underpaid entry-level roles will do that to a person. We’re less likely to stay in a job for years and years. Career progression, better salaries, opportunities to dip into a variety of projects or to travel are much more important considerations when it comes to work. We’re an ambitious bunch and don’t have time to waste – if the work’s not fulfilling and the money’s not right, the job goes.
Sure, we still need regular paychecks (to fund beer and ASOS shops) and a working routine (to prevent deep Netflix spirals) but we need the ability to have one eye out for a better option too. We might wake up one day and decide to totally switch tack (I knew of a girl at uni who graduated with a fashion degree and then decided to become a nurse – sounds random but it does happen) or we might pack it all in and move to Australia. It’s a competitive and fluid job market; jobs for life don’t exist anymore, so we just need a job for right now.
The Rainy Day Fund?
With sky-high rent, student loans, a rise in the cost of living and a lag in wage increases, saving is a real challenge, especially in the bottomless money pit that is London. The idea of getting a mortgage and owning a house that you’ll live in for the next 20 years is so out of reach for so many of us that it’s totally ludicrous. Don’t even get started on pensions or retirement funds. Sure we’d love to own property and have a healthy savings account rather than an ISA that’s never exceeded three digits but it’s not realistic in the current climate.
The millennial version of financial stability is being able to go month to month without dipping into an overdraft, not having to choose between a Pret coffee in the morning and cereal for dinner or having a landlord who treats you like an actual human person and not a giant walking pound sign. (I once had a landlord who bought us a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates at Christmas because we were good tenants. Safe to say this has never been repeated. We still reminisce about it wistfully.)
Tying The Knot?
Relationships are tricky enough as it is without flinging the m-word about. Getting to the point where you might find someone that you might possibly think of marrying at some point way, way in the future has become so much harder – you gotta do an awful lot of swiping and endure a lot of weird dates to find just the right life partner. Plus weddings are hella expensive. Think of the kick-ass holiday you could take with all that money.
A house, a car, two kids and a spouse aren’t the markers of success they might have been for previous generations. Yes if you offered us a house, actually even just the deposit money, we’d snatch it and run, but the kind of stability our grandparents and parents worked for is outdated and out of reach. The world has changed and so have our expectations.
So Deloitte is half right; we want stability so we can keep living the life we like, especially as no one’s got a clue what’s going to happen to the country now that Theresa May has officially driven us off the Brexit cliff. And those somewhat annoying stereotypes are half right too; we don’t want to settle just because that’s “the thing to do”. Much like the current cultural fondness for remaking things from the eighties and nineties, we’ve updated the concept of stability and it’s a whole lot more flexible than it used to be.