Earlier this month, the Financial Conduct Authority released a report delving into the impact of Coronavirus redundancies and pay cuts on different generations. Over a quarter of all Generation Xs (27%) are working in COVID impacted sectors, 21% of Gen Xs have been furloughed, 3% lost hours or pay and 2% lost their job; representing 100,000s of people aged between 40 and 55.
When the 2008 crash hit, Generation X would have been reaching the peak of their career and been forced to start again. Now, this cohort finds themselves chased again by the Coronavirus pandemic at the point where they have successfully climbed the job ladder. Generation X has emerged as a 'sandwich' generation; placed between the optimistic Millennials and the well-established Baby Boomers and who are the most affected by cyclical economic shock. Further to this, research from The Future Strategy Club has found that nearly 3 in 10 (29%) business leaders have already streamlined their teams during the pandemic and, in many cases, it has been the UK's top talent that has been impacted the most.
This time, however, Gen X has the chance to capitalise on their own skillset and start their own businesses - an opportunity that was perhaps not as viable after the 2008 recession. Now, with years of experience under their belt, will COVID-19 breed a new generation of entrepreneurs?
Justin Small, the Founder and CEO of The Future Strategy Club, has discussed why he believes Gen Xs could become the next generation of 'Business Boomers'.
“Generation X presents a really interesting segment of the UK workforce, uniquely sandwiched between Millennials and Baby Boomers who in their own right have received a lot of attention. Millennial entrepreneurs, for example, are renowned as the entrepreneurial generation, however in the UK, the average entrepreneur is actually 40+.
I see a growth of 40+ entrepreneurs over the few years or so, whether in a contractor, freelancing or product-focused SME capacity, because the PAYE paycheck may not be the most reliable constant in life planning any longer. Instead, the skills and the experience accrued over decades in professional environments will be invaluable to many businesses trying to adapt to the new normal. The ability of these Gen Xers to monetise these skills will become ever more important.
At The Future Strategy Club, we work with a body of these experienced individuals who now have circa 15 years worth of skills to tap in to, having weathered the 2008 crisis and now COVID-19. Now, with kids and mortgages in tow, stepping back onto an upwards facing career ladder is not on the agenda. For the majority of these entrepreneurial self-starters, they see the COVID-19 period as an opportunity to work for themselves, choose their own working environment and gain true security from their own knowledge and skillset. Freelancing and running their own company enables growth and purpose, leading to the freedom of self-reliance. If COVID-19 has shown us anything, it is that this self-reliance is ultimately the only security we can rely on in the end. I believe COVID-19 will be the catalyst for a massive amount of 40+ talent to change careers, and finally put their business ideas into action."