Dialogue 2018 Youth Barometer: A generation under economic and professional pressure

2018 Youth Barometer: A generation under economic and professional pressure Credit Suisse Top Stories

Today's young people are facing major challenges. New technologies are continually changing the labor market. When it comes to choosing a career, this has been the source of uncertainty among millennials. Regardless, they remain optimistic and are certainly trying to overcome obstacles in pursuit of goals. It is hardly astonishing that new economic models like the sharing economy have gained popularity among young people. And what's more, the information gap is widening, and retirement is considered to be the biggest worry in Switzerland.

In the past, the results of the Credit Suisse Youth Barometer painted a picture of a digital generation, one that was generally capable of quickly and flexibly adapting to technological changes and trends. While that remains true, this year's results clearly show that the changes in the labor market triggered by digitalization are perceived as a challenge, and at times, even as a threat. This is most evident among the young people in the US, Brazil and Singapore.

In this respect, Switzerland is the exception. In an interview, Boris Zürcher, Head of the Labour Directorate of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, talks about how institutions in Switzerland are prepared for structural change and the fact that, time and time, again, we have allowed this change to take place. Despite the uncertainty, however, young people by no means lack a sense of direction, as shown by the 8th Credit Suisse Youth Barometer, providing information about the lives, values, dreams, work and perspectives of 16- to 25-year-olds.

Millennials are finding an entirely new concept of ownership through the sharing economy. As Giulia Ranzini, communication expert researching information sharing and social media, puts it: "The idea of owning digital music, for example, seems absurd to a 19-year-old." Sharing platforms are actively used for reasons of economy as well as ideology — such as sustainability. The challenging economic environment of recent years has left its mark. Young people have growing financial worries. Saving therefore continues to be popular.

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. Among young people in Switzerland, retirement provision and issues related to the Federal Old Age and Survivors' Insurance (AHV) are now the main concern, while the topics of foreigners and refugees have lost some steam.

WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram — if you want to find out more about young people, you need to know how they communicate. Young people's zeitgeist is molded by digital, mobile and social interaction. If we were choosing a symbol for this young generation, it would probably be the smartphone. And yet clear differences between Generation Y and Z are apparent. While many of the young people surveyed in Switzerland are daily news consumers, the share of those who seldom or never check the news is growing. The issue of fake news is also considered to be a critical problem.