When the financial system was on the brink of collapse last year, Tim Murphy, managing director of IP Global, a property development company based in Hong Kong, was stunned.
His shock was not solely due to the realisation that the global economy was teetering on a precipice; the spectre of a downturn exposed the big difference in thinking between him and his younger employees.
“They had not seen a recession before,” he says. “They really thought it would last a few weeks and return to normal. Comments like ‘it’s going to be a poor month’ in September when banks were collapsing made me [realise] I might have a problem.”
So he embarked on an intensive education programme, or “shock therapy”, as he puts it, to explain the impact of the recession on property markets. Mr Murphy’s experience in managing the so-called Generation Y, those born after 1978 who have enjoyed prosperity, is far from unique.