Overpopulation and Increased Lifespan
This current day situation is taking an increasing toll on people graduating from colleges in the West. There are enough statistics to show that the recent graduates are bearing the brunt of the current economic slowdown. Unemployment is much higher for the younger age groups and wages are much lower. Many are working in the unorganized economy while others are working for unpaid internships (which is illegal). While numerous stories are there in the mainstream media which refer to the plight of the unemployed and underemployed youngsters, the structural causes of this misery has not yet been analyzed. While the current economic crisis is creating more pressure, what is being left unsaid is that overpopulation, outsourcing and increased lifespan have made this situation more permanent than temporary.
Workers are working for more years as retirement age is increasing in almost every country and people have to work longer in order to earn more for their increased lifespan. Both Europe and USA are suffering from this crisis, as young people despite good degrees and academics are unable to find decent paying jobs. This is cascading into the social sphere as well as young people are unable to marry, buy houses or have kids.
From an earlier GWI article:
Structural Unemployment has become a big problem in developed countries where middle class jobs are being permanently destroyed. The advent of modern communications and technology has made a lot of the old jobs redundant. Modern Technology is destroying entire supply chains, companies and jobs in a painful bout of creative destruction. Many of the workers cannot be retrained and the longer they are out of the work force, the harder it is for them to get back in.
One of the main grievances of the Anti-Wall Street Movement comes from this front. Governments are trying hard to support these people but many feel that they are not doing enough. Even the Technology Industry in the USA which is seeing a renewed boom with a slew of IPOs from social media companies like LinkedIn, Facebook, Groupon and others is facing this problem. Old technology companies like HP, Cisco, Sony are firing tens of thousands of workers as they try to compete in the fast changing domain. It is hard to see where these workers trained in legacy software/ hardware can find new jobs.
Technology companies like Nokia and RIMM pushed against the wall while Apple too have been on a firing spree as they try to reduce costs to shrinking revenue and margins. Along-with structural unemployment factors, global labor cost arbitrage is shifting thousands of jobs (see IBM) to developing countries like India and China where engineers and scientists can be hired at a fraction of the cost. Not only low end jobs but also highly skilled jobs in R&D are being shifted wholesale to these countries. In the current environment, capital has a massive upper-hand over labor, leading to social tensions around the world.
Athina Prassa in Athens mastered English in four years studying at a private university. It is a skill that may not help her much as she hunts for work while hard-right thugs roam her blighted neighborhood.
Lucy Nicholls in London graduated from fashion school brimming with optimism. It took just a week for real life to step in: She fell victim to a scam that left her broke and desperate for work.
Rafael Gonzalez del Castillo in Madrid has pulled countless all-nighters to win a degree in his passion, architecture, just as Spain’s building bust has littered the country with abandoned buildings.
Moira Koffi in Paris left her widowed mom in Normandy for “bohemian life” at the Sorbonne. Now the communications grad is heading into the real world.