Youth Barometer 2018: Understanding the millennials
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Youth Barometer 2018: Understanding the millennials

Our in-depth report investigates the views and concerns of young people around the world. We look at how the millennial generation views the future, and how their values are leading to the advance of new forms of business models.

Our respondents aged 16-25 speak on behalf of their generation in Brazil, Singapore, Switzerland, and the US. While many views and concerns are shared by young people across these countries, there are some significant differences – and Switzerland clearly stands out.

Digital natives' ambivalent take on the digital revolution

It's hardly surprising that technology is a big topic for young people. Our respondents are digital natives and, while their parents can still remember the analog world, the youngsters do not fully grasp what it means to be offline. As many as 80 percent of our respondents spend two or more hours browsing the internet every day.

Could this be why so many young people have so much fear and hope when it comes to the tech sector? The majority of our respondents in the US, Brazil, and Singapore fear that they may fall victim to the digital revolution and – as a result – lose or be unable to find a job. By contrast, technology is considered the best career choice.

Interestingly, Switzerland shows a different trend altogether. Despite using new technology extensively, the majority of young Swiss people seem to be more immune to the charms and flaws of the digital revolution. They are less inclined to  expect their job to disappear, dream of IT careers less often, and do not appear to think that social media and online networks could have a very big impact on their career prospects.

Future of work: Percentage of those who are worried that their profession might not be needed in the future

79

USA

34

Switzerland

74

Brazil

76

Singapore

Favorite business sectors

75

USA
IT / tech

56

Switzerland
Education

72

Brazil
IT / tech

75

Singapore
IT / tech

Embracing a new approach to ownership

Sharing comes naturally to digital natives. New technology makes sharing things with strangers easier and safer. Thanks to sharing, young people can save money and use items and services that would otherwise be out of reach: cars, holiday rentals, loans (crowdfunding). Sharing also alters the concept of ownership, enabling young people to use a wide range of things without owning them. At the same time, the popularity of the sharing economy has also ideological reasons, as millennials feel strongly about using existing resources sustainably.

Despite the growing popularity of sharing, the concept of ownership hasn’t been abandoned entirely. The majority still wants to own things that are precious and valuable for them.

The rise of the sharing economy (percentage of those who have used a sharing service)

61

USA

43

Switzerland

48

Brazil

53

Singapore

What worries young people

There is a considerable difference between the concerns of young people in Switzerland and those in the other countries we surveyed. Retirement pensions are the top concern for young Swiss people. Most probably due to last year's pension reform referendum and the associated media coverage, this issue moved to the top spot from the third place it occupied in the last survey. The other issues in the top three are related to immigration and asylum seekers. These two topics, however, seem to have 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).

Respondents from the other countries named unemployment, gender inequality, corruption, and terrorism as the most pressing issues.

The top concern

41

USA
Unemployment

53

Switzerland
Old age pension / retirement provisions

40

Brazil
Corruption

37

Singapore
Unemployment