The house hunt versus the job hunt

Laura Piplica - April 10, 2018

With RBA official interest rates remaining at 1.5% for a record 19 consecutive months, I imagine there is also a record number of relieved Australians: relieved because they can continue treading water on their mortgage for another month.

With Sydney now ranked as the tenth most expensive city to live in, and salaries in real terms going backward, the rhetoric is that Australia is no longer the ‘lucky country’ for millennials. Many young Australians believe that owning their own home is increasingly out of their reach. If you are an Australian born after 1982, studies show that you are less optimistic about the future than your counterparts in developing economies including the Philippines, Indonesia and India. Millennials often feel overwhelmed and unable to influence greater social, environmental and economic challenges.

This got me thinking… If this is how millennials are viewing the hunt for a house, are they as overwhelmed in the workforce?

Turns out the housing market and the job market have a lot in common. In both situations, you need to be willing to do the research to score the big win; you need to make decisions considerately and still be able to grab opportunities as they are presented. (Equally, you sometimes need to reach out and take the lead.)

As a Gen Y in the housing and job markets, a forever home and a job-for-life is unreasonable. We want it all yesterday, but we millennials need to balance our quick-win YOLO raison d’être with the patience that we can’t change the world until we understand it. Your career, like your living situation, is a journey. Depending on what feels right for you, you may decide on taking up one or all of these residences throughout your career.

    1. The shoebox

It will not be your forever home, but it is what you make of it. As a Gen Y, sceptical of the motivations of large, multinational businesses that support charities or otherwise contribute to social initiatives, it is here in a smaller company that you could feel a greater sense of control. You can choose the colour of the walls and the furniture, and can influence the social equality, the environmental effect and perhaps even the overall direction of the company. The shoebox is a case of broadening your skillset and grabbing the opportunity to make a big impact. As a Gen Y myself, I want to see my peers holding proportional credible tenures in their work experience, getting internal promotions, or successfully delivering a project before out-growing the shoebox.

    2. The investment property

This is the job you use to grow your professional equity. It’s here that you dip your toes into new situations and mingle alongside veteran investors. The investment property may be the gig you take up on the side to upskill, or it may be the contract that pays the bills.

    3. The lifestyle postcode

What are you really considering in your next move? Is it about the career-defining project, or are you attracted to fluffier aspects? Culture is an important part of your company and you should feel that your employer can provide you with a sense of empowerment. There is nothing quite like the job satisfaction when you reach the level of combining your technical skills with the work-life balance and corporate social responsibility that you’ve always dreamed of. This is probably the company where you want to stay for five years or more – almost unheard of for a millennial.

By 2020, millennials will account for 35% of the workforce, with much of the generation at the age to be in leadership positions. Now is the best time to harness and channel the human capital of the millennial across the economy.

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