Unemployed grads: A bright, lost generation

Bright, eager—and unwanted. While unemployment is ravaging just about every part of the global workforce, the most enduring harm is being done to young people who can’t grab onto the first rung of the career ladder.

Affected are a range of young people, from high school dropouts, to college grads, to newly minted lawyers and MBAs across the developed world from Britain to Japan. One indication: In the U.S., the unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds has climbed to more than 18%, from 13% a year ago.

For people just starting their careers, the damage may be deep and long-lasting, potentially creating a kind of “lost generation.” Studies suggest that an extended period of youthful joblessness can significantly depress lifetime income as people get stuck in jobs that are beneath their capabilities, or come to be seen by employers as damaged goods.

Equally important, employers are likely to suffer from the scarring of a generation. The freshness and vitality young people bring to the workplace is missing. Tomorrow’s would-be star employees are on the sidelines, deprived of experience and losing motivation. In Japan, which has been down this road since the early 1990s, workers who started their careers a decade or more ago and are now in their 30s account for 6 in 10 reported cases of depression, stress, and work-related mental disabilities, according to the Japan Productivity Center for Socio-Economic Development.

Read the full story in Business Week


  1. woody188

    I predicted a lost generation just like Japan has had for over a decade over 6 months ago. Then I was called a naysayer and doom and gloom spreader. I’ve always considered myself a realist and even an optimist. That should really scare some of you if you consider my “dire” predictions of dollar and economic collapse are optimistic!

  2. issodhos

    If these grads have actually managed to acquire an education from one of these ‘institutes of higher learning’, they already have the means to apply their “freshness an vitality” to areas other than that which they may have previously set their caps.

    And, businesses will certainly not find the supply of grads of “freshness and vitality” lacking for the positions they have available. And, of course, for the employer, there is always next year’s crop of “freshness and vitality”. And if things are so bad that there are no more crops, then the employer is probably no longer going to be in business, anyway, so again, she is not going to be suffering from the “scarring of a generation”. “Lost Generation”? Quite a bit of hyperbole, wot?:-)