SPANISH adults under the age of 30 or so have accepted that the inevitable economic fallout from the current crisis means that any hopes they have of ever matching their “baby boomer” parent’s wealth and lifestyle are lost for good. Spain grew economically every year between 1980 and 2008, creating a new wave of post-Franco middle classes benefitting from booms in tourism, construction and technology. Since then there have been four years of negative growth and another major slump looks likely. While Spaniards in their thirties may have had time to build a career and some stability, it has been relentless bad news for younger people entering the job market for the first time.
What little work there is tends to be badly paid and insecure with little or no benefits, even basics such as sick pay. Every slump has seen these jobs bearing the brunt while the older generation working established careers in places such as Town Halls and banks have a large element of protection. They can also expect to pay higher taxes to support their parent’s generation with their predicted long life span and relatively generous pensions. When they retire themselves, they can look forward to vastly reduced pensions and, most likely, a rise in the retirement age. Money left will eventually be passed down in all likelihood – but with the current average life span close to 80 years old, many of the current “millennials” will be pensioners themselves by then.