“Angry young men” lack optimism

A study of youth attitudes has raised concerns about young men in the “squeezed middle” who are deeply pessimistic about their future chances.

Among these young men – from families of skilled or semi-skilled workers – more than two-thirds never expect to own their own home, says the Youth Matters survey, carried out for the O2 telecommunications company, and analysed by Prof Chapman of Durham University.

“These are neither the most deprived, who get quite a lot of attention, nor are they affluent enough to be on a conveyor belt to university,” says Prof Chapman, who has examined the views of 1,500 young people.

“These are a group of young people who are caught between these positions,” he says.

These youngsters are aware of the advantages of their better-off middle class counterparts, he suggests, but have diminishing expectations of gaining them for themselves.

And it is particularly the young men rather than young women who have the bleakest expectations.

“They have skills and ambitions – but they have a fatalistic sense that there are barriers that make it pointless to try in the first place,” says Prof Chapman.

Only 30% of these young men ever expect to own their own home in their lifetime – compared with 39% among their counterparts in poorer families.

Even at this early stage in their working lives, almost a quarter of these young men expect never to have a fulfilling job – a much more negative outlook than their female counterparts.

Almost a third of these young men say they “feel unhappy” when they think about their future – much more than women.

Prof Chapman describes these youngsters as coming from “respectable” families with “strong aspirations” – but now facing increasingly insecure job prospects.

Read the full BBC article

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