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Don't Call Millennials Lazy Because We Have To Live With Our Parents

What choice do we have when the housing market strongly favours those with multiple negatively geared investment properties?

21/03/2017 6:30 AM AEDT | Updated 21/03/2017 6:34 AM AEDT

Video by Tom Compagnoni

As a young Australian who has faced the consequences of stereotyping all his life, whether it's my race or sexuality, I find the oversimplification of the image of a young Australian to be unfounded and insulting. Comments that target 'lazy' and 'entitled' millennials annoy me the most.

In fact, the best qualities of millennials are often distorted and frowned upon. Our willingness to share information and knowledge with our peers, whether it's our favourite band, an exciting new restaurant or an amazing holiday adventure, is viewed by older generations as millennials self-obsessing and oversharing. This is despite the fact that a large majority of my social media is filled with photos of Gen-X's babies. FYI, we really don't care little Johnny finally learned to shit in a potty.

What choice do we have when the housing market strongly favours those with multiple negatively geared investment properties?

Millennials are often viewed as gung-ho, naïve and challenging because we are willing and courageous enough to confront the status quo, question religion and ideologies, and protest against certain views. Two of the most common views among those who criticise millennials are that we bludge off our parents and cannot find jobs. For me, and those of my generation, housing affordability and job security continue to be the two biggest problems facing our future.

We are constantly reminded that more young Australians are now having to stay longer at home with their parents, but what choice do we have when the housing market strongly favours those with multiple negatively geared investment properties? Trust me when I say this, having a one-night stand is awkward enough without the fear of your parents walking in on you.

There are millennials who work their arses off for a 20 percent house deposit who know that they are unlikely to ever live in their own home. Many millennials have simply given up the hope of ever owning their own home until (if they're lucky) they inherit one from their deceased parents.

Opponents often counter this argument with the fact that interest rates used to be much higher, and that millennials should simply move further away from major cities. This argument hardly seems fair when the average house price in Sydney is $1 million and the percentage of price increase continues in double digits while wage growth is at its lowest.

The argument of 'move further out' is not only impractical, it is unlikely to work. My colleague was only able to afford her 'dream home' when she decided to make the move to the outer south-east suburbs of Melbourne. It takes her three hours to commute to work and back home each day, which excludes a 20-minute drive to a 'near-by' train station. As the age of retirement increases, it is likely that she has another 35–40 years of having to waste 15 hours a week on public transport. Believe me when I say this, finding a "high-paying job" to buy a property closer to the city is not as easy as it sounds.

Millennials like me understand that we are much better off than the generation before when it comes to education; more people are now undertaking a master's degree or completing a PhD. However, one only has to look at the unemployment figures to find out where the problems lie for my generation.

With a large increase of university graduates and not enough graduate entry positions, overqualified millennials are faced with the prospect of unemployment or accepting any job available to them. Comments around this generally note that millennials are too picky and egotistical to stack shelves at the local grocery store or pick fruit from an orchard.

The view that millennials are lazy and incompetent is an oversimplification of the actual issues that impact my generation.

An organisation I work for recently received more than 100 applications for a part-time administrative role. Of the prospective candidates, many are young Australians who have slaved three years of their lives on a PhD for less than $25,000 annually.

Wouldn't Australia and society as a whole benefit when our best and brightest are able to work in a field where they can make a significant difference? What if the solution to global food insecurity is in the mind of a person who is currently stacking shelves at Coles because Australia is unable to promote research and development jobs?

What if that person leaves Australia because of greater job prospects overseas? Jobs being moved offshore, a lack of initiatives by the government and private sectors, the creation of more part-time than full-time positions, and the move to make all roles more 'generalised', are all contributing to a lack of job security for millennials.

The view that millennials are lazy and incompetent is an oversimplification of the actual issues that impact my generation. Job insecurity and a lack of affordable housing will continue to worsen, and government and private sectors need to do more to combat these issues.

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