Understandably, what with the British economy now in a double-dip recession, there has been much focus on the effect this has had on the country, with particular emphasis on youth unemployment, which has surpassed the symbolic one million mark.
This is clearly a substantial problem for the nation as a whole, but also a personal tragedy for those individuals involved - they may be in the undesirable position of becoming members of a 'Lost Generation'. However, as is the tendency in our country, the focus is on short term fixes, frequently at the expense of contemplating long term problems, and considering ways to address them now. One such future quandary may be that as difficult as life is for today's graduates, the situation may be demonstrably worse in 20 years time, and that the 'Lost Generation of 2030' may be vaster and more entrenched than its current poor relation.
To understand why, perhaps we should look at two industries where Britain remains a leading global force - banking and law. For companies in these fields, future growth and profit is likely to come from the emerging markets, due to their inexorable rise. As such companies are becoming increasingly global in their outlook and strategy, it comes as no surprise that this is beginning to affect their approach towards recruitment. To be sure, this is no baseless hypothesis - it's already happening. The composition of graduates in London's main investment banks is becoming increasingly international, with the recruitment of top foreign students on the up. Also, a greater number of training contracts at the City's top law firms are being offered to non-UK students.
What this means is that whereas the students of today are largely up against their peers at British universities for graduate jobs and placements, the competition tomorrow over such opportunities is becoming global, with top students in countries such as India and China eyeing up our economy's plum jobs. Put simply, there is no divine right that the best jobs in this country be reserved for those born here.
Now, in several respects, we've been down this road before - in 2004, following the European Union's enlargement, there was a spike in immigration from Eastern European countries to the UK. However, in that instance, such migrant workers typically filled relatively lowly paid jobs, or met skills shortages, doing jobs which many British workers either didn't do very well, or didn't fancy doing at all. For most of the middle class, this situation was a boon - migrant labour filled a skills gap in the economy (think of the proverbial Polish plumber), and provided services they needed, often to a high standard.
In future it will be a different proposition - top foreign workers will be competing against the children of today for the best jobs going. And, what will make it tough for the future British job candidate is that their foreign peers may have several comparative advantages over them - chances are they will be linguistically superior, being fluently bilingual in at least English and their mother tongue. There is also the stereotype, however unfair or inaccurate, that British workers are not as hardworking or as hungry as those from the developing world. Add into the mix that workers from these countries are more likely to be au fait with local customs (and therefore probably better at forming relationships with future clients in these areas), and it's not difficult to see why employers will be chomping at the bit to recruit the top students from the world's emerging leading economies.
Also, just so no one is mistaken, this not intended to be a pessimistic prediction - rather it is optimistic, in that it anticipates that the UK will still be a country where some of the world's most talented people will want to come to work and live. It also assumes that London remains Europe's predominant and pre-eminent economic and financial hotspot.
So, what can be done? Well, for starters, there should be much greater focus on languages at schools, with all British students leaving secondary school at least proficient in one foreign language. Secondly, it should be continually emphasised to children being brought up now that their world will be a more globalised and international place than anything experienced by previous generations. Their future success will depend on their ability to adjust to this, and to exploit their inherent abilities. If not, then many of tomorrow's youth will not be in a fortuitous position, and will swell the ranks of the Lost Generation of 2030.