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Job, Finances and Career

Which economic sectors are of greatest interest to young people and what matters to them about an employer? The current generation of 16- to 25-year-olds has clear ideas about occupations, finances, and careers.

If you have a son or daughter between the ages of 16 and 25, you may be less concerned with whether your child uses SMS or WhatsApp (Digital Universe) or how young people gather information about current events (Trends and Media) – and more interested in knowing the answer to this question: Is the (not so) little one going to do well in life?

Young people provide a very grown-up answer to the question "What do you think is important in an employer?" Over 91 percent respond: "A good boss". Somewhat surprisingly, when asked what industries they might want to work in, respondents in all surveyed countries put the media at the top of the list, although television and newspapers no longer play the role they did in the past (Trends and Media). Perhaps they consider social media to be in this category; maybe they want to be stars on YouTube. After the media comes tourism, followed by education, telecommunications and healthcare, with banking in sixth place. At the bottom of the list are the insurance industry (14th) and construction (15th).

A worrisome finding: A large number of respondents in all four countries say that they have experienced discrimination against female workers. This response is more common in Switzerland (57 percent) than anywhere else.

International Comparison: Statements on Profession: Discrimination

In keeping with this generation's realistic view of the world, young people have accumulated less debt than one might think, based on reports in the media. Between 20 and 30 percent of young people in the United States and Brazil owe money, in many cases to their parents or relatives. The percentage is much lower in Singapore and even lower again in Switzerland (approximately 12 percent and 3 percent, respectively) – and the rate of indebtedness has remained consistently low for many years. 

Proportion of young people with private debt

4

Switzerland

22

Brazil

26

USA

12

Singapore

It is interesting to learn what young people in Switzerland would do if someone were to give them 10,000 Swiss francs. Their responses reflect the economic difficulties of recent years. Compared with responses in 2011, far more of that money would be "saved for a rainy day," and less would be spent on vacations. Responses differ substantially by gender. In Switzerland, men would spend almost 400 francs less on vacations and save almost 300 francs more than their female counterparts, who apparently take a rosier view of the economic situation.

What are the life goals of this generation? Here, too, it is clear that they have their feet planted firmly on the ground. They want to pursue their dreams, but they also want to buy a home. They want to achieve the right work-life balance, explore their own talents and try a variety of things. Only then come the goals that their fathers and mothers are perhaps more interested in hearing about: having a successful career and eventually being better off than their parents. Significantly, these last two objectives are mentioned most frequently in the country with the lowest per-capita income: Brazil.

Source: Credit Suisse Youth Barometer 2015

Video Interview with National Councilor Aline Trede (German)

"The demands on young people today are much greater than in the past."