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A majority of young Australians feel uncertain about their financial future and are delaying major life goals due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a survey has found, revealing widespread pessimism.
Eighty-four percent of 1,000 millennial and Gen Z Australians said that getting a job and entering the workforce has become harder since Covid-19.
The survey, conducted by ME Bank, asked 1,000 Australians between the ages of 18 and 39 about their financial futures during September. According to Australia’s McCrindle social research firm, millennials or Generation Y are defined as born between 1980 and 1994 (aged 26 to 40) and Generation Z are defined as born between 1995 and 2010 (aged 10 to 25).
The survey found that nearly 70% of millennials and Gen Z feel that retiring by age 65 and owning a “dream” home will be impossible for them to achieve.
Sixty-four percent felt uncertain about their financial future and 69% said they will be delaying major life goals as a result of Covid-19 pandemic and their finances.
A majority said it was unlikely they would retire before 65, find a dream home or a job that wasn’t just paying the bills.
Young women felt especially pessimistic about their future, and said they were disproportionately affected.
Seventy-one percent of women surveyed said it was unlikely they would retire before 65, compared with 59% of men, and 52% said it was unlikely they would ever pay off their student debt, compared with 37% of men.
Overall, only 47% of all those surveyed said they thought they would eventually find a job that wasn’t just paying the bills. Sixty-five percent overall said it was not achievable anymore for young Australians to retire before 65.
The vast majority of those surveyed (82%) said the Australian dream – defined as owning a “dream home” and retiring by age 65 – was harder to do now than in previous generations.
Nearly 70% said this would be impossible to achieve.
Viv Micic, a 20-year-old from Melbourne, said she and her peers felt more pessimistic about their futures, and were struggling to find even entry-level jobs.
“One of my friends has stopped receiving shifts at work – she had been working at McDonald’s,” she told Guardian Australia. “For something open 24/7, she had been hoping for more shifts.”
Micic, an aspiring actor, said she had put that career path on hold during the coronavirus recession. She said she had experience, and had volunteered at community radio stations and film festivals, but was still finding it hard to even get a job in retail.
“I applied for 20 jobs at the Cotton On group and I am really, really passionate about wanting to work at Typo. I love their stuff. But all of them come back as ‘Thank you for applying but no thanks’.
“I started acting classes when I was a kid,” she said. “I have done seven years of acting classes. This year I really wanted to get a casting agent and start looking for casting jobs. But instead as I’ve been stuck at home, I thought the best thing to do is start working on my demo reel at home.
“I definitely feel like, because the arts industry, especially in Melbourne, has been impacted so much by the pandemic, I will have to probably look overseas for acting because they’re probably going to end up, after the pandemic, cutting crew, cutting casts, trying to cut corners to make things possible.”
Micic said there was no chance she would be as financially well off as her parents.
“Especially for someone breaking out into the industry there are going to be even less chances.
“My parents didn’t have a pandemic, shaking up everything,” she said.
A 2019 Grattan Institute report found young Australians were projected to be the first generation since federation to not reach a better standard of living than their parents.
It found wage stagnation and underemployment meant that household wealth for people under 35 had not risen since 2004.
Andrew Bartolo from ME Bank said he had noticed that young people were feeling more and more pessimistic.
“Young people are delaying, for one to three years, reaching their goals,” he said. “I’ve got cousins and nieces and nephews and friends that have really struggled and had their jobs impacted by the pandemic. There is definitely a feeling of uncertainty about their financial future.”
Micic said she and her peers felt they needed to be more qualified and spend more time studying, due to a job market with fewer opportunities.
“The Australian dream is going to become really, really competitive. One of my friends wants to be an agronomist. She wants to be the most qualified agronomist, because she wants to have the best chance to work in the agriculture industry
“If anything, my friends will do a lot more study than they would have. To make sure they are in that top percentage of the most qualified.”
Micic said she hoped she would be able to own her own home eventually, but she wouldn’t “be able to afford something close to the city”.
“My parents have been really good savers, even if I do take their advice into consideration I am still probably going to be living a bit far out.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Young Australians delaying life goals due to pandemic and feel pessimistic about future | Business