No Country for Young Women: A Generation Sailing?

Monday 3 October 2016

NancyGraduating university, with a degree in hand and a job waiting for you in a career that will set you on the path to living freely and enjoy the fruits of adult life.

That is until you wake up from under the student blanket and are faced with debts and bills. You start applying to graduate schemes and internships in the hope of securing a great graduate job, only to hear that ‘unfortunately, you have not been successful’, or ‘you do not meet the requirements and criteria’, while on the other hand you are worried about not being able to pay the months’ rent. It’s no wonder young people think it’s more likely humans will land on the moon than they will be debt-free by the time they turn 40!

Along with that, the cost of living is increasing and your salary doesn’t match it, if you are even paid a salary. Many find themselves on zero hour contracts working from week to week with insecure hours and wages. With this worry hanging over you there is usually no alternative but to return home, so it’s not surprising that Young Women’s Trust’s survey findings showed that almost a quarter of all young people have had to move back home with their families because they couldn't afford to live away from them.Infographic 8 4x

After graduating with a Masters in Social science from the University of Oxford in 2015, I was unsuccessful in securing a job in my chosen field and found myself moving from place to place living with friends and families doing zero hour contract jobs and doubting my capabilities and worth.

It’s frustrating when you believe that you have taken the ‘norm’ path but still you end up at the bottom of the heap, struggling to penetrate through all the millions of others on the same boat. You start asking yourself questions like: where are all these qualifications going to get me? What do they mean? What are they worth? What am I worth? When will it be my turn? I have all this debt for what?

With the struggle of keeping your life afloat without a job, the thought of moving abroad in the hope of finding the job you need is an option more than half of the 4000 young people who responded to Young Women’s Trust’s annual survey have contemplated. We could soon see the ‘sailing away’ of an entire generation.