What is right about the younger generation

Corona crisis hits the younger generation particularly hard

From a health perspective, Corona has primarily affected older people, who have a significantly higher risk of death than younger people. From an economic point of view, however, it is the young who suffer the most from loss of jobs and income. This has already been shown on the basis of the labor market data of the last few months and is now confirmed by a study by the University of Vienna. A particularly large number of millennials work in industries such as gastronomy, retail and culture, which have been or are still affected by restrictions.

Brigitte Schels, Professor of Social Structure Research, used surveys to determine the effects of Corona and compared the group of 25 to 29 year olds with that of 30 to 34 year olds and people aged 35 to 50 years. In the latter, 20 percent of their income deteriorated between February and June. 39 percent said the situation was roughly similar to that before the Covid-19 outbreak.

Little stability

Among the 30 to 34 year olds, 16 percent spoke of financial losses and 35 percent of stable income. In the group of the youngest, according to the survey, 28 percent are confronted with declines in earnings, only 27 percent see stable development between February and mid-June. These statements coincide with information from the various age groups on the rise in unemployment and short-time work. The proportion of respondents who have more money in their accounts is around 15 percent across all age groups.

In her study, Schels concludes that the situation of younger people in the labor market and in income has fluctuated much more sharply than in the two comparison groups since the beginning of the pandemic.

Precarious jobs

The results are not entirely surprising, as there are several studies with comparable results. The researcher Bernhard Binder-Hammer from the Academy of Sciences recently explained the connection as follows: "Younger people often work in precarious jobs that can easily be terminated or simply not renewed. But even with permanent positions, younger employees usually have to leave first."

He also points out that after a crisis, companies hire fewer people or pay them less, while fewer cuts are made to existing staff. This also affects the younger generation, who often suffer from these losses for a long time.

Losses so far

Corona is also bursting into a phase in which younger people are already confronted with income disadvantages. The economic research institute, for example, found that households with main breadwinners up to 45 years of age with children suffered severe real income losses between 2010 and 2015. The livelihood of those over 65 rose by ten percent over the same period.

Now this development is likely to intensify. While the pensions are likely to be crisis-proof, the jobs of the boys are particularly at risk.

Optimism remains

Nevertheless, the younger generation does not seem to be easily discouraged, as the study by sociologist Schels shows. According to this, 48 ​​percent of 25 to 29-year-olds expect an income improvement in the medium term, only 15 percent expect a deterioration.

On the other hand, the 30 to 35 year olds are more insecure, which is also due to the fact that financial security is a high priority in this group. The researcher notes that recent successes on the labor market and further career prospects are "perceived to a particular extent as threatened by the crisis" at this age. (Andreas Schnauder, July 6, 2020)