Credit Suisse Youth Barometer 2015: Facts and Figures
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Credit Suisse Youth Barometer 2015: Facts and Figures

Digital natives under the microscope: The Credit Suisse Youth Barometer 2015 examines the world of 16- to 25-year-olds in Switzerland, the US, Brazil, and Singapore.

How do young people think in 2015? What is really important to them in life and how do they imagine their future? These are just a few of the questions that the research institute gfs.bern asked on behalf of Credit Suisse to roughly 1,000 young people in each of the four countries examined.

Here is an overview of the ten most important findings of the 2015 Youth Barometer:

1. Digital World: Time spent online is the best indicator of the important and often indispensable role of the internet for over 85 percent of young people: With the exception of Switzerland, most young people spend more than two hours online each day – and this is for private purposes, i.e. in addition to school or work.

2. Data Protection: It is clear to more than 75 percent of respondents that they need to protect themselves on the internet. However, 69 percent also express that the government should play a more active role in this area.

3. Facebook: The social network Facebook has a central role in the digital landscape; indeed, more than half of all respondents are convinced that it is changing the world. What is surprising, however, is that this platform is no longer primarily important as a means of communication, as WhatsApp has become the most important tool for this (except in the US). Facebook has taken on a new role instead. Of the young people surveyed, 27 percent in Singapore, 22 percent in the US, 17 percent in Brazil and 5 percent in Switzerland say that Facebook is their most important source of information. For this generation, Facebook is now a more significant medium for news than news apps, radio, TV, or newspapers.

Switzerland the most important results

4. Use of Media: The results of the Youth Barometer have reflected the decline in readership of paid newspapers since the study was first conducted in 2010. Five years on, it appears that television could be facing a similar fate. For the first time, it is no longer one of the top three “in” things mentioned, even in the United States – the land of TV. In Switzerland, the popularity of television has fallen from 80 percent to 62 percent in the last five years. During that same period, the video platform YouTube has risen in popularity, and it is considered an "in" tool in all four countries surveyed. Interestingly enough, radio has remained popular ‒ at least in Switzerland.

5. Out: Drugs and smoking as well as political parties and religion are unpopular in all four countries. Outdated internet sites such as Myspace and Orkut (which is no longer operating) are out of favor among young people.

6. Finances: In the US and Brazil, 20 percent to 30 percent of young people are in debt. In Singapore and particularly in Switzerland, this figure is far lower (roughly 12 percent and 3 percent, respectively). These figures have remained more or less the same for years now.

7. Goals: Young people of this generation want a bit of everything: personal development and fulfilling work that suits their own talents. A good work-life balance is important, and they want to try out different things in life. Goals that might please their parents seem less salient: Having a successful career and moving up the social ladder are not necessarily young people’s main objectives. Remarkably, such goals are most frequently mentioned in the country with the lowest per-capita income: Brazil. In Switzerland, they are quite rarely expressed

General infographic on goals & problems

8. Career/Profession: What economic sectors would young people most prefer to be employed in? 1) The media, 2) tourism, 3) education, 4) telecommunications, 5) healthcare, and 6) banking. However, a large number of respondents in all four countries say that they have observed discrimination against female workers. In Switzerland, a majority of 57 percent agreed that women are being discriminated against, the highest figure of all four countries.

9. The Future: The young people surveyed for the Credit Suisse Youth Barometer – born between 1990 and 1999 – are optimistic about their future. In Switzerland, confidence has increased every year since 2010, and 64 percent are optimistic today. This percentage is higher than in any of the other countries. The Youth Barometer has always shown Brazilians to be very hopeful as well, but the difficulties of the past few years, alongside dismal economic forecasts for the country, have reduced the percentage of optimists to 58 percent (-15 percentage points since 2012). In the US (57 percent) and Singapore (47 percent), however, 16- to 25-year-olds are more confident about their future today than they were in any of the past three years.

10. Concerns: The fact that Brazilian respondents express more pessimism (see section 9) is closely related to the country's problems. Three out of four young Brazilians believe that there is too much corruption. No issue is brought up as frequently in any other country. Concerns over unemployment have also gone up (59 percent) in Brazil. This is also a major issue in Singapore (33 percent) and the US (50 percent). In Switzerland, however, issues relating to foreigners top the list (51 percent).