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'Don't do-it-yourself generation' can't even change a lightbulb

Young Britons have become the “Don’t-Do-It-Yourself Generation”, new research released today from

Posted on 21 Mar 2013

  • Ten per cent of Brits between the ages of 18 and 35 have called out a repairman to change a lightbulb
  • More than half (53 per cent) of under 35s admit they need help with DIY, with 15 per cent of 18-35s saying they can’t do ANY household tasks
  • More than a third (36 per cent) of over 50s cook a Sunday roast weekly, compared with just 11 per cent of under 35s

Young Britons have become the “Don’t-Do-It-Yourself Generation”, new research released today from shows1. Some 53 per cent of under 35s rely on others to help them with household tasks, with 15 per cent admitting they cannot do any DIY.

One in ten people under the age of 35 have called out a repairman simply to change a lightbulb, while 42 per cent do not know how to bleed a radiator, according to the findings.

The older, the wiser?

With today’s generation struggling with the most simple of household tasks – and only 31 per cent considering themselves to be self-sufficient – they are looking to over 50s for guidance. The majority of over 50s (81 per cent) believe their household skills to be good, compared to only 63 per cent of under 35s.

Almost half (48 per cent) of over 50s help their grown-up children out financially, and many are also providing practical help to their offspring too. More than one in ten (12 per cent) of 18-35s living with their parents do no household tasks, such as cooking, washing clothes or helping out with DIY. Meanwhile, one in five of the younger generation  who rent, call their landlord at least four times a year to help with practical home tasks and DIY jobs.

And it’s not just DIY tasks that the older generation excel at. When it comes to cooking at home, Brits over the age of 50 are over three times more likely  to cook a traditional Sunday roast each week.  To make matters worse, one in five parents cook for their grown-up children more than once a week, while nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of young Brits who have left home have had their parents help them with their laundry.

Battle of the sexes

While we may be moving towards gender equality, it seems that at home traditional roles remain, with 47 per cent of young women needing help with most household DIY tasks, compared with 29 per cent of males.

Among over 50s, more than half (55 per cent) of females need help with DIY and other household tasks, while only one quarter (25 per cent) of men rely on assistance.

In contrast, 71 per cent of females under 35 know how to sew a button, dropping to 44 per cent of males in the same age range. Almost all women (94 per cent) over 50 have needle skills, while more than three quarters (78 per cent) of men of the same age range can thread a needle and sew a button.

And it seems that gender stereotyping is still prevelant even in hypothetical situations – with young females identifying cooking as the skill they would most like to improve (37 per cent) and men wishing they were better at plumbing (37 per cent).

Tech Savvy – but DIY Defective

However members of the 18-35 year old age group have better tech skills than handy home abilities. Over half (56 per cent) of young Brits rate their technological skills as ‘excellent’, compared with 21 per cent of over 50s indicating a much higher reliance on technology to solve the DIY dilemmas of the under 35 age group.

Is this all because we’re part of ‘Generation Rent’?

Do the younger generation of Britain suffer regular DIY dilemmas because they are much less likely to own property?

More than 3.4m across the UK rent privately, and census results have shown a dramatic increase in renting, by almost 50 per cent (1.63m households) over the last decade. 

Increasing house prices have led to a generation of renters unable to get onto the property market, contributing to their reliance on landlords, parents, friends and neighbours to help with household tasks. Almost one third of respondents (32 per cent) aged between 25 and 39 are currently living with their parents, found.

Gareth Lane, head of Home Insurance at said:  “Changing housing circumstances have led to the alarming situation where more than half of people under the age of 35 consider themselves not self-sufficient , and rely on others to help them complete basic household tasks”.

“While workmen may be delighted that 10 per cent of young Britons call them out to change a lightbulb, it is concerning that people’s practical skills have dwindled, as they won’t be able to pass any expertise onto future generations and are much less likely to care for and maintain their homes properly.

“In fact, if maintenance is not carried out on a property, in the event of a claim, insurers may not pay out on your home insurance policy if you have not taken steps to ensure your property is adequately maintained. Basic maintenance, such as replacing missing slates on roofs and ensuring your guttering is cleaned out should not be ignored.”

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Notes To Editors:

Research conducted by OnePoll in March 2013 for with a survey base of 2000 respondents

1Common household tasks such as plumbing, cleaning, gardening or household maintenance
2 ‘Younger Generation’ termed as 18-35 year old British adults who took part in the survey
3 36% of adults aged 50+ cook a weekly Sunday roast compared to 11% of adults 18-35
4While the total number of households in England and Wales has risen by 1.7m over the last decade, 95 per cent of this increase was in the private rental sector. The average property price now stands at £238,293, rising to £445, 651 in Greater London, according to Land Registry figures from October to December 2012.

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