The emigration generation

A recent report suggests that a fifth of young people do not expect to be living in the UK after age 40 ( Whilst the figure might appear to be pretty staggering, when we take a step back and look at some of the shifts we are seeing in the global world order, that statistic is much more understandable. For example, figures from the ONS show that India is now the second most popular destination for those emigrating from Britain. The majority of those leaving Britain for India were born there and are returning home. And new centres of economic power are evident everywhere, none more so than China. In fact, the Chinese have become the single biggest source of global tourism income after spending £67bn while travelling abroad in 2012. This total is 40% higher than the year before, and puts them well above the next two highest-spending countries, Germany and the United States.

According to our Future of Britain study 36% of 16-24s think their opportunities are worse than someone born in India, and 33% think they are worse than someone born in China. On top of this, 39% of 16-24s think their opportunities are worse than someone born 20 years before them. This go-getting, entrepreneurial generation, picking up the pieces after the mistakes of generations before them, are willing and able to do something about their situation, however.

Some 43% think that young people will be squeezed out of the jobs market by older workers, and as a consequence nearly half (47%) think being self-employed will be more attractive than working for big companies. It really feels that we are at a juncture in the evolution of Britain PLC. Overall, 60% of respondents in our survey said that Britain should focus on its relationship with China and other emerging world powers, and over half (55%) are concerned that Britain’s status in the world will decline.

This isn’t a doom and gloom story, but more one of evolution. Just recently the British automotive powerhouse Rolls Royce reported underlying revenues as up 27% to £7.3 billion and underlying pre-tax profits up 34% to £840 million for the six months to June 2013. This is just one in a clutch of British success stories as the new economy redefines and rediscovers itself. Whether there will be any Britons left here to power it remains to be seen.


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