CANBERRA’S baby boomers are about to shake up the social scene again.
According to demographer Bernard Salt, the biggest shift will be the explosion of our retirement population, predicting that as the boomer generation turns 65, there will be shockwaves throughout the economy. Older, skilled workers will leave the workplace, they will stop paying taxes and they will start accessing the public services that they helped to fund. As Salt says, this is an educated generation that has worked hard and they will be looking to put the taxpayer dollar to good use.
Salt, a renowned trend forecaster and KPMG partner was addressing an ACT Property Council lunch on Canberra’s post-GFC recovery and the big trends likely to have an impact over the next decade.
He says we can expect to see more downshifting as the boomers move away from the family home into apartment-style living. And in Canberra, we are also likely to inherit a cohort with the time and energy to engage in well-researched public debate!
As one generation puts its feet up, another will be looking for a comfortable place to settle down. The Gen Y’s – Salt calls them KIPPERS: ‘Kids in Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings’ – will be hitting their stride as they tumble into their 30s and have to leave the nest.
Moving into a peak earning period and looking to start a family, Salt predicts there will be an increase in demand for high-quality, affordable housing – a challenge in Canberra where the median house price is still more than $500,000.
And in a sobering prediction, Salt predicts changes in employment trends post GFC. With negative job growth in the construction, manufacturing and agriculture industries, we can expect to see an increase in the number of unemployed, unskilled workers. The implications for the community and governments will be significant, particularly if we are to ensure that young people have access to meaningful work opportunities.
Catherine Carter is ACT Executive Director with the Property Council of Australia