2018 Credit Suisse Youth Barometer:
Digitalization is causing job anxiety among young people — retirement provision is a growing concern in Switzerland
As the latest Credit Suisse Youth Barometer indicates, the effects of digitalization are at the root of uncertainties surrounding people's working lives, even among young people. This is most apparent overseas, probably because Switzerland, thanks to its dual education system, enjoys a certain degree of security which, for the most part, does not exist in other countries. Furthermore, the Youth Barometer shows that young people in Switzerland are most concerned about retirement, while the relevance of issues surrounding foreigners, immigration, and refugees has fallen significantly in comparison to the previous survey.
What moves the next generation, which will shape society and the economy in the years to come — these questions are of great interest to Credit Suisse. Through its Youth Barometer study, Credit Suisse contributes important data for the public debate on socio-politically relevant topics and to the dialogue, in particular with the younger generation. The Youth Barometer has been compiled since 2010, providing insight into the lifestyles, problems and attitudes among young people. Roughly 1,000 young people between 16 and 25 years of age were surveyed in Switzerland, Brazil the US and Singapore for the 2018 study. The research firm gfs.bern conducted the survey online between April and May 2018.
The ten most important insights from the 2018 Credit Suisse Youth Barometer:
- Optimistic youth — but digitalization is a source of uncertainty: Three out of four young people in the US, Brazil, and Singapore worry that their job will no longer be needed in the future due to a changing labor market. They feel overwhelmed by the changes driven by digitalization. Only 34 percent in Switzerland fear that their job will disappear. However, young people are somewhat more optimistic about the future compared to 2016. Fewer than 15 percent of those surveyed in Singapore and Brazil and less than 10 percent of those surveyed in the US and in Switzerland have a gloomier outlook.
- Retirement provision as a top concern: Among young people in Switzerland, issues related to the Federal Old Age and Survivors' Insurance (AHV) are now the main concern. At the same time, the topic of foreigners and refugees has lost significance, and the coexistence between young Swiss people and young foreigners is regarded as more and more harmonious (2010: 11 percent, 2018: 33 percent).
- Preference for jobs in administration over the IT industry: With the exception of Switzerland (43 percent), the IT/tech industry is the most popular labor sector by far (US: 75 percent, Brazil: 72 percent; Singapore: 75 percent). Young people in Switzerland would rather work in education (56 percent), the media (53 percent), tourism (50 percent) or administration (47 percent).
- Widening information gap: Digitalization is not only affecting the ways that young people consume news with respect to frequency, but it is also creating entirely new issues as well. Relevant percentages of young people in all four of the countries surveyed consider the digital dissemination of fake news to be one of the top five biggest problems of their respective country. One thing is clear — the information gap is becoming wider and wider. While more young people are keeping themselves informed about current events several times a day, the number of those in Switzerland and Brazil who seldom or never check the news has grown significantly in recent years. Neither traditional nor new media channels are able to fill this gap for the "news deprived".
- Sharing economy and sustainability: Among young people, the sharing economy is very popular. Around half of the young people surveyed have already used such platforms at least once. This has economic reasons, such as saving money, but also ideological ones, as millennials feel strongly about using existing resources sustainably. Despite their general open-mindedness, millennials are also considering certain limitations: Sharing platforms should be subject to regulation, just as in other economic sectors. And the majority sill want to own things that are precious and valuable for themselves.
- Saving continues to be popular: Of the young people surveyed, around one quarter would deposit a larger sum of money received as a gift into a savings account (a majority in Switzerland). Another 10 percent of the money would be saved for a rainy day. A strong majority wants to own a home. Around half of the young people (US: 59 percent; Brazil: 46 percent; Singapore: 48 percent) with financial obligations such as mortgages feel that these are a burden. In Switzerland, that group accounts for 39 percent.
- Growing individualization: With only a few exceptions, a sense of belonging to individual social units in Switzerland has been declining among millennials since 2015. Friends and family are the social units offering the greatest sense of belonging, while religious communities and the online community were those with the least. Over the years, this diminishing sense of belonging to individual social units has been evident in Brazil and in some cases in the US as well.
- First differences between Generations Y and Z: In Switzerland, young people use more and more communication technologies like WhatsApp, YouTube, streaming services, Instagram and Snapchat (other countries show a similar profile). Television and Facebook consumption is on the decline in Switzerland, although both of these are seeing an upswing in use in the US, Singapore and Brazil. The different platforms preferred by Generation Y (born between 1980 and 2000) and Generation Z (born after 2000) are evident: Twitter, Facebook and the internet in general versus Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and YouTube.
- Political involvement once again gaining traction internationally: There is still little interest in being involved in institutional politics — such as working with a political party. On an international level, however, political involvement itself is once again gaining traction. Compared to 2016, over twice as many young people in the US are willing to take part in a demonstration. Equality between men and women seems to be an important issue in the US, Brazil and Singapore, and it is becoming more important in Switzerland.
- In or out: The list of those things considered to be "in" is heavily impacted by digitalization. The top ten list in Switzerland includes the smartphone, WhatsApp, YouTube, Spotify and public transportation. In Switzerland and the US, Facebook no longer makes the cut. In the US, television is followed by the smartphone and YouTube as the most popular "in" things, while chat platforms such as WhatsApp or WeChat are most popular in Brazil and Singapore.