Americans younger and older facing difficult job prospects are often portrayed at odds, trapped in a win-lose dynamic of generational conflict. There can be no question that both groups are struggling — unemployment is at record heights for younger Americans, while older adults who are laid off have the longest periods of unemployment. Often this situation is described in ways that pit older workers against younger ones, arguing that if older workers would just move out of the way it would make it easier for younger workers to get their foot in the door.
However, a new survey by Participant Media and Encore.org finds that a presumed "zero-sum" relationship between generations that has become a recent fixture of media commentary doesn't reflect the views of adults over 50, and belies the deep sense of interdependence between younger and older generations1. Adults over 50 overwhelmingly describe a strong desire to help make the world better for those younger than themselves.
1 A new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts' Economic Mobility Project also refutes the misconception, showing that over the longer term younger workers actually gain jobs as older workers increase their labor force participation.
WORRIES ABOUT THE DIRECTION OF THE COUNTRY TRUMP CONCERNS ABOUT HEALTH OR PERSONAL FINANCES
MOST FEEL A RESPONSIBILITY TO HELP THOSE LESS FORTUNATE THAN THEMSELVES
SPECIFICALLY, THEY FEEL AN OBLIGATION TO YOUNGER GENERATIONS
Two-thirds of respondents had made a personal contribution to the well-being of younger generations in the past six months, with a third (34%) having made a charitable contribution to an organization serving children or youth and 16% having volunteered their time there. Three in ten said the time or money involved was significant but was not a hard decision for them.
DESPITE THEIR OWN FINANCIAL CONCERNS, THEY UNDERSTAND THE CHALLENGES YOUNGER WORKERS ARE FACING AND WANT TO HELP.
This research was completed by Penn Schoen Berland with support from Encore.org and Participant Media.
About Encore.Org (www.encore.org)
Encore.org (formerly Civic Ventures) is a nonprofit organization building a movement to make it easier for millions of people to pursue “encore careers” – second acts for the greater good.
About Participant Media (www.participantmedia.com)
Participant Media is an entertainment company that focuses on documentary and non-documentary feature films, television, publishing and digital content about the real issues that shape our lives. For each of its projects, Participant creates social action and advocacy programs to transform the impact of the media experience into individual and community action. Participant’s online Social Action Network is TakePart (takepart.com). Founded by Chairman Jeff Skoll in 2004, Jim Berk serves as CEO. Participant's films include The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War, An Inconvenient Truth, Good Night, and Good Luck, The Visitor, Food, Inc., The Cove, The Crazies, Countdown to Zero, Waiting for "Superman,” Fair Game, PAGE ONE: Inside The New York Times, The Help, Contagion, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lincoln and Promised Land.
About Penn Schoen Berland (www.psbresearch.com)
Penn Schoen Berland, a unit of the WPP Group (NASDAQ: WPPGY), is a global research-based consultancy with over 30 years of experience that specializes in messaging and communications strategy for blue-chip political, corporate, nonprofit and entertainment clients.