Working to live, not living to work
Habits and behaviors of millennials with regard to the labor market and the social impact of companies
We know that young people today are joining the labor market later than in the 1980s, the time when the baby boomer generation in Spain was starting out. This situation is causing considerable concern given that it has a series of consequences that affect the whole of society. Some of these consequences include becoming independent at a later date since young people cannot afford to leave the family home as well as falling birth rates.
This last point has been taking center stage in the last few years. In 2014, for the first time in Spain, there were more deaths than births. Furthermore, this low birth rate is one aspect, together with an aging population and low wages that puts the future of the pensions system in danger.
Exactly why is this happening? Often young people are joining the job market later because of its precarious nature and because of its general deterioration. However, we should also be considering other factors such as the fact that young people are expressly choosing to do so.
The other day I attended a talk on the future of pensions in Spain and one of the phenomena contributing to young people choosing to start working later was the expectation of having a longer lifespan. “Since I am going to live longer, I plan to embark on my professional career later”.
This was a very interesting perspective to me and I believe it underpins many of the changes happening in today’s world.
Work as a more secondary means of socializing
But there is also another concept we should be considering: work as a means of socializing. While two decades ago work and family were probably the most important social elements in one’s life and the basis for everyone in society’s self-fulfillment, today things have changed.
20 years ago it was normal for young people’s ambitions to revolve around developing their professional career and therefore they sacrificed many other aspects of life, such as recreational pursuits.
Ultimately, in the past you were more likely to live to work than to work to live. Things are not like that now.
Leisure pursuits and social media
A recent arrival that further contributed to this delay in joining the job market for young people has been the appearance of social media. These social networks encourage young people to spend time and money on leisure pursuits, travel and on enjoying themselves.
Inevitably, when work takes on a more minor role and leisure pursuits start to become the most important way of feeling fulfilled and being happy, it is completely normal that our purchasing power will go down.
Generally speaking, previous generations were more likely to have people with higher purchasing power but who lacked any interesting experiences such as visiting other countries, learning about other cultures or having extended vacations. However, in today’s generations, purchasing power is much lower but we are having far more enriching experiences.
I do not know which type of society is more sustainable or indeed happier. It seems to me that today’s society might well be happier, although I think that we millennials are demonstrating, little by little, that we need to find self-fulfillment.
Companies with a social impact
In my opinion, the great hope that can unite the professional careers of millennials and their goal of self-fulfillment is the development of companies with a social impact. Today’s world, and above all the younger generation, is far more aware of social issues and equality, For this reason, it could perhaps become a great way for young people to get involved in projects and companies that generate wealth and that work for the benefit of society.
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