It has often been suggested that different generations (people born in different periods) have different experiences of the labour market. This research indicates that such is not the case. In general, the youngest and oldest workers have always had a poorer experience of employment than those in midlife (especially men), and this has continued to be the case. However, there was no evidence that older people staying in work longer are ‘crowding out’ young people from the labour market.
Nevertheless, significant changes have taken place over time. The relative position of young people in the labour market has deteriorated, especially for those who have not benefited from the expansion of higher education. By contrast, the position of older people with qualifications and secure jobs has improved. Older workers are now less likely to be in low-status jobs than in 1993. Absolute wage inequality has been rising since the 1970s and wage mobility between generations has declined: the income of those born in 1970 is much more closely linked to their parents’ income than for those born in 1958. The pattern across lifetimes has also changed. For those born before 1955, wage inequality has declined with age, while for those born after 1955, inequality has remained stable to the age of 35, but then it rises steadily.
Do different generations really have different experiences of the labour market? What are your experiences? Share them in the comments section below!
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