Taiwan’s generational differences
A female Taiwanese author compared the interests of three generations of Taiwanese. She calls those 20-25 years old the “youth generation”, those 36-59 years old the “middle generation”, and those over 60 years old the “silver generation”.
The “youth generation” and the “middle generation” are concerned about (1) salary, (2) work environment, (3) self improvement, (4) self interests, and (5) holidays and free time available to oneself. The “silver generation” is concerned mainly with the first four aspects.
The “youth generation” is more adventuresome than the “middle generation” and the “silver generation”. If given a choice of working at a desk job as an engineer or being a caretaker of a remote island for a year, 36% of the “youth generation” would choose the desk job and 44% would choose to serve as caretaker of a remote island, but 53% of the “silver generation” would choose the desk job and only 13% would choose to be a caretaker of a remote island.
Taiwan has a severe shortage of long term senior care service workers. Only 22% of the “youth generation” are willing to take on the job as a long term senior care service worker with a paid monthly salary of NT$32,000, 28% of the “middle generation” would be willing to take on that job, and 47% of the “silver generation” would be willing to take on that job. One commentator says that Taiwanese youths are not willing to “wipe dirty butts and change dirty senior diapers”. This is reflected by the finding that 74% of the “youth generation”, 66% of the “middle generation” and 43% of the “silver generation” are unwilling to take on the job of a senior care service worker or home nurse taking care of seniors with physical dysfunctions.
While 79% of the “youth generation” believe that one’s goal in life is to save money to buy a home, 81% of the “middle generation” and 85% of the “silver generation” believe so, 54% of the “youth generation” believe marriage should be a goal in life while 57% of the “middle generation” and 75% of the “silver generation” think so, and 55% of the “youth generation” believe having children should be a goal in life while 65% of the “middle generation” and 79% of the “silver generation” think so.
“Hsiao chue hsing”
“Hsiao chue hsing” means “small comforts, small pleasures” of life. Observation of the ambitions and the ambitiousness of Taiwanese youths over the past decade shows that Taiwanese youths are not very ambitious. They prefer to pursue small pleasures and small comforts in life, and pursue personal contentment rather than big idealistic ambitions. Surveys indicate that 70% of the “youth generation” do so while 64% of the “middle generation” and 60% of the “silver generation” do so.
A 2016 Taiwanese manpower utilization survey reported that among the 20-34 year old Taiwanese, 45% earn less than NT$30,000 a month with 40% of them earning an average monthly salary of NT$25,000. In Taipei, the minimum average monthly expenditure is NT$27,000 while the monthly average expenditure in Taiwan is NT$20,000, at par with the average monthly expense of NT$20,000 of residents of New Taipei City, Taichung and Kaohsiung.
Among the “youth generation”, 74% blame the bigger economic situation for their low salaries and wages while 67% of the “middle generation” and 71% of the “silver generation” do so.
Some Taiwanese entrepreneurs warn that the effect of the “magnetic attraction” of capital away from Taiwan will soon “weaken Taiwan” and “impoverish Taiwan” over the next five years, and Taiwan’s capital market will experience a drain on capital led by the quick 36-day approval of the application by FII, a subsidiary of Hon Hai (Foxconn) Taiwan, for listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange offering A stocks. It is said that this constitutes a “magnetic attraction” that will suck away Taiwanese capital and talented workers, eventually turning Taiwan’s Hon Hai into a mere holding company rather than a manufacturer. Hon Hai currently holds 85% if FII stocks. However, FII may eventually become the “flagship” company of Hon Hai, and it may turn its parent company Hon Hai into its holding company.
There are currently 1,178 Taiwanese companies with subsidiaries on the Chinese mainland that are listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Markets.
According to a report on “How to prevent China’s stock market’s magnetic attraction effect” presented at an emergency meeting of Taiwan’s financial control board, 26 Taiwanese enterprises are now seeking to be listed on Chinese mainland stock markets with IPO of A stocks. At present, 170 Taiwanese companies with stock value of over NT$100 per share are listed on the Chinese mainland stock markets, and the number of listed Taiwanese companies with an Earnings Per Share (EPS) over NT$10 in 2017 has also increased. Stock earnings constitute one of the small pleasures of small investors of the “middle generation” and the “silver generation” of Taiwan.