The generation dubbed ‘Millennials’ are losing the basic life skills their parents took for granted, with one in 10 admitting they can’t even change a lightbulb.
A survey of 2,000 people discovered that the under-35s are woefully ill-equipped when it comes to carrying out simple household tasks and DIY – leading to a quarter preferring to ‘get a man in’ than attempt anything themselves.
The study, by CORGI HomePlan, has uncovered the lost skills that parents have failed to pass down to their children. The domestic and DIY activities that the under 35s admit to struggling with include:
● Changing a lightbulb (12 per cent)
● Wiring a plug (43 per cent)
● Changing a fuse (32 per cent)
● Bleeding a radiator (32 per cent)
● Hanging wallpaper (52 per cent)
● Fitting a toilet seat (28 per cent)
● Fixing a fence (50 per cent)
In contrast, those over 55 who were surveyed were overwhelmingly comfortable carrying out these tasks, with just one in 25 saying they would need help to change a lightbulb.
The Millennials have already been branded ‘Generation Rent’ due to their struggles at getting on the housing ladder. Now the loss of these ‘handed down’ skills is another factor against them.
Asked why they needed help with DIY tasks, 39 per cent of Millennials said they weren’t taught it by their parents, while more than one in five (22 per cent) felt they didn’t need to know as they could ask their parents round to do it for them.
Lacking the ability to carry out domestic tasks, the under-35s are increasingly relying on expert help. Of those surveyed, 23 per cent said they would engage a tradesperson every time rather than attempt a job themselves.
This younger generation remain traditional in one respect however – with 83 per cent of women expecting their partner to know how to do basic DIY and 60 per cent of women expecting their partner to deal with tradesmen who come to their house.
Millennial men are more likely to have a go at a task than their partners (66 per cent of men v 26 per cent of women). However, this doesn’t always end well, with one in 10 men confessing they have an ‘unsafe’ DIY fix in their home.
London Millennials were the least likely to have a go at DIY, with 16 per cent admitting they’re too busy for it. In contrast, Millennials in the West Midlands had taken the most lessons from their parents, leading to half having the confidence to try DIY jobs themselves.
Dr Sandi Mann, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire, says: “Millennials are being brought up to be tech-savvy and their skill is in electronic manipulation – whilst their parents might be better at changing lightbulbs, it is the older generation who often turn to the younger ones for help when their computer or phone crashes.
“Skills at using phones and computers are the ones valued these days and the practical hand-on skills of yesteryear are now seen as functions that can be easily outsourced.
“We are a generation characterised by time-poverty and when time is short, we have to prioritise what we invest our skill-development in and our resources on. Changing a lightbulb is less important to a Millennial – after all, they can still swipe and scroll in the dark. Better to outsource those less valued tasks and focus their energies on the stuff that really matters – keeping their electronic worlds functioning at their fingertips.”
Kevin Treanor, director of CORGI HomePlan, says: “It’s a sad fact of life that these skills don’t appear to be being handed down from parent to child.
“Homeowners need to have the confidence that if something does go wrong in their home, that it can get fixed – and quickly. That is why if they cannot do it themselves, they need to have expert help on hand in the form of a qualified professional.””