The Average Australian on Australia Day 2017

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Australia is home to 24,341,000 people living in more than 9 million households comprised of more than 300 different ancestries. And while Australians are anything but average, what would a statistically “average” Aussie look like?

Statistically, they are more likely to be female (50.5% of the population) than male (49.5%).

The average Australian is an older Gen Y or younger Gen Xer (born between 1979 and 1981), aged 37 (36 for a male and 38 for a female).

Australians at birth can expect a life expectancy to exceed 80 years, with women on average outliving men by 4 years.

However, our average 36 year old male can expect to live another 45.5 years to 81.5 while the average 38 year old female should get another 47.3 years of life expectancy, taking her to 85.3.

The average Australian adult is employed most likely full time (68% of all employees), gets to work by car (69% of all commuters) and is probably earning $60,330 per year (average of all employees, before tax). After tax, and as a household, their total disposable annual income is $88,551.

They will take 4 days of sick/carers leave (5 for women) and 16 days annual leave in a year and work on average 32 hours per week (women) or 41 hours per week (men).

They live in a capital city (3 in 5 of us) in a household of around 3 people, have around 2 cars for their household, and average 14,000 kilometres per year.

They are paying off their 3-bedroom home, they have lived there for 5 years and have $427,847 equity in their home which is the bulk of their wealth. And they have $65,880 worth of stuff - the total of all of their other household possessions (furniture, equipment, household goods – but not house and cars).

The average Australian identifies their religion as Christianity (61%), has completed Year 12, and gone on to complete a post-secondary qualification. They most likely have had a child, and they live in a household with a pet.

The average Australian man is 178cm tall and weighs 85kg while the average woman is 164cm and weighs 68 kg. The World Health Organisation states that a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 to 29 is overweight which is where the average Australian sits with 27 for a male and 26 for a female.

But they are doing something about it and exercise on average 3 times per week, getting 7.2 hours of sleep per night and they also have private health insurance.

And on average they’ve most likely experienced and contributed to the great Australian value of community and mateship. It is a “come in for a cuppa” culture that gives a “no worries” welcome to someone regardless of how average or not they may be.

Happy Australia Day, Australia!

The Top 5 Trends for 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Rise of Local

As our cities grow, Australians are adopting approaches we see in other mega cities where a local rather than a citywide identity emerges. Australia’s capitals are becoming cities of villages or regions where residents live, work and interact in a part of their city rather than the traditional commuter approach of suburb living but CBD working. The year ahead will see the rise of the walkable community, the ongoing gathering at the local shopping strip and the growth in local entertainment precincts rather than the city-centre destinations that used to dominate. As unit living increases along with population growth, Australians are looking to meet the timeless human needs of relational health and community connection in their geographical context. From knowing the local barista to supporting the local grocer, increased events in local parks, increased patronage at local clubs and venues and growth in volunteering to support community groups, 2017 will see the rise of local.

Growth of Lifestyle Cities

Last year Sydney hit the population milestone of 5 million and Melbourne is not only growing faster but it is seeing house price increases exceed that of Sydney. The size and associated costs of living in Australia’s global cities is bringing to the fore the benefits of Australia’s lifestyle cities. These are the regional cities that have the employment, shopping and housing options of the big cities but populations not in the millions but the more sustainable hundred thousand or so. In NSW, cities like Newcastle and Wollongong have reinvented themselves from the industrial cities of the 20th Century to be innovation hubs, university towns, and small business friendly 21st Century lifestyle cities. With property prices a third less than Sydney, it is little surprise that these cities are growing at twice the national population growth rate and are seeing recent house price growth exceed that of Sydney. Beyond these cities, regional centres like Wagga Wagga, Bathurst and Albury Wodonga are also growing faster than the national average. In Victoria the lifestyle cities include Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat and are the state’s fastest growing regions while in Queensland the lifestyle cities include the very fast growing Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast as well as the inland city of Toowoomba and in the West the cities of Bunbury and Busselton make the list.

DIY Everything

Australia has always had a strong can-do attitude and a weekend DIY project in a property-obsessed nation is part of the suburban life. However with tips and tutorials just a few clicks away, and a how-to YouTube video on everything, Australians are extending the DIY approach beyond just handyman skills. From DIY legal processes like property conveyancing, to arranging complex holidays once the domain of travel agents, to the increased consulting of “Dr Google”, Australians are doing their own research and planning in an effort to save money and solve their own problems. In an era where there is an app for everything from instrument tuning to wedding invitation designing, Australians feel more empowered through technology, more informed through online resources and more motivated to save money and so 2017 will see the ongoing rise of DIY everything.

The Gig-Economy

In the span of a generation, the proportion of Australians working on a part-time or casual basis has tripled from 1 in 10 to more than 3 in 10 today. However in the last year or so, online services like Uber, Airtasker, Freelancer and Deliveroo have ushered in the “gig-economy” and more of this generation will end up being freelancers, contractors or contingent workers than ever before. Recent research shows that a third of the national workforce currently participates in contingent work, and more than 3 in 4 employers believe that it will be the norm for people to pick up extra work through job related websites or apps. Technology and new employment options have made it possible, businesses looking to manage their staff costs and liabilities are driving it and Generations Y and Z who value variety, flexibility and opportunity over job security will make the gig economy mainstream in 2017.

Post rationalism

Last year the electorates of the UK and the US showed the political class not to take their votes for granted and that bombarding people with information and expert opinion will not in itself change minds. 2017 will see the continued rise of the post rational era where it is the heart- not just the head that influences customers, staff members and voters. The 2016 Word of the Year was “post-truth” showing that the power to influence is not in the data and statistics but in the story and social validation. Note that this is not an era of “irrationalism” in that society has more knowledge available and Australians are increasingly more formally educated- rather, it is an era where the rationale alone does not alone decide the matter. Those who can communicate with an emotional, visual and relational connection will do better than those who just have a rational connection.

Watch Mark's full interview on The Daily Edition here

Media Commentary from the McCrindle team

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

As Australia’s leading social researchers, the senior research team at McCrindle are actively involved in media commentary. From demographic analysis and future forecasts, to communication of key research findings and the identification of social trends, at McCrindle we are passionate about communicating insights in clear, accessible and useable ways.

Some of our recent media commentary includes:

Jobs of the future

The last few years of disruption has shown us that any role that can be replaced by technology will be.While technology is great for automating systems and replacing repetitive functions, it is not strong at adapting to complex change and engaging with people. Mark McCrindle speaks to The Daily Edition about how students can future proof their careers and skills. Watch it here.


Trends of 2016

From Donald Trump to Brexit, dabbing, bottle flipping and Pokemon Go, Mark McCrindle speaks to The Daily Edition about some of the biggest trends of 2016, including the 2016 word of the year which was Post Truth, and demographic milestones for Australia including reaching a population of 24 million people in February, and Sydney hitting a population of 5 million. Watch it here.

Trends of 2017

Rise of the local, growth of lifestyle cities, DIY everything, the Gig-economy and post-rationalism are the top five trends Mark McCrindle has identified for 2017. Mark joins the team from The Daily Edition to discuss the trends forecasted for 2017. Watch it here.



Melbourne growing faster than Sydney

After being voted the world’s most liveable city for the sixth year in a row, Melbourne property prices have grown faster than those of Sydney over the last year. With Melbourne being forecast to become Australia’s biggest city by 2050, Mark McCrindle attributes the diversified economy, lower house prices and its reputation as the fashion and cultural capital to its growth. Read the article here.


Are passive aggressive notes breaking down Sydney's sense of community?

The rise of anonymous, sarcastic signs left by Sydneysiders is seen to be breaking down communities. While this sort of behaviour is often seen on social media, Mark McCrindle says we don’t see so much of it normal civil interactions. When we are face to face, people aren’t nearly as sarcastic or nasty. Behind the venomous notes and social media posts, we really get a sense of the angst and frustration that is modern, busy stressful life. Read the article here.


Baby Name trends

Mark McCrindle has made his baby name predictions for 2017. He says longer and more culturally diverse names will be popular in 2017. Names beginning with X, Y and Z are also predicted to be huge, including Zander and Zephyr for boys, and Zyla and Zelda for girls. Read the article here.


Aussie parents are opting for sophistication and substance over quirky spellings or compound names, with gender neutral names back in vogue. Mark McCrindle predicts te top 10 ‘rising stars’ of 2017 for girls names were likely to be Addison, Penelope, Ariana, Frankie, Charlie, Elsie, Aurora, Billie, Lilian and Aisha. For the boys, McCrindle predicts Harvey, Beau, Chase, Theodore, Carter, Spencer, Ali, Harley, Darcy and Fletcher will be the rising stars for boys names next year. Read the article here.


Outsourcing

The growing trend of finding others to do the jobs we hate has made the Christmas of 2016 a far cry from festive seasons past. “As for outsourcing, that is certainly a growing trend, especially around Christmas time when the shops are busy and perhaps there is a task that we don’t feel confident in completing, that we can have someone else complete for us,” says Ashley Fell from McCrindle. Read the article here.



Home ownership and renting

Sydney is turning into a city of renters as rising prices force more people to ditch the home owning dream. McCrindle research director Eliane Miles said while home ownership was still a major aspiration, it was ­simply affordability stopping young people from buying. “We did some research that showed 90 per cent of Australians still want to strive towards owning their own home,” Ms Miles said. “It’s still the Aussie dream, it’s just more difficult and I think for young people it seems incredibly far off.” Read the article here.


Internships at McCrindle

Monday, January 09, 2017

At McCrindle we regularly provide opportunities for interns to participate in our team.

The McCrindle volunteer internship program is highly flexible and shaped to suit the needs and availability of the intern. We aim to create a positive work environment for interns as they gain invaluable experience in the field of social research.

The length and involvement of an internship is flexible- however the recommended involvement is for 1-2 days per week for a semester, depending on the interest and availability of the intern. The intern can decide to finish the internship at any point.

McCrindle internships are available at the Sydney office in Norwest Business Park. People who are interested in an internship at McCrindle are welcome to submit their CV and cover letter to the Research Director, and if an internship opportunity exists, may be invited to an interview.

What is involved:

Intern research assistants will be involved in a diverse range of tasks which may include:

  • Data analysis and forecasting
  • Development of survey questions
  • Analysis of quantitative data
  • Report writing
  • Assistance with qualitative research analysis
  • Note taking during focus groups
  • Assistance with research rooms hosting for focus groups.

“The McCrindle internship gave me experience in so many areas of research including survey writing, data analysis, report writing and qualitative research methods. The internship gave me the opportunity to really get involved in the research and assist with real projects. It greatly enhanced my skills in working in a collaborative team environment. An invaluable experience- I would recommend it to anyone!

-Kirsten

Intern experience

The McCrindle intern program exists to equip students with valuable experience in the social research field. A key goal is to expose interns to a diverse range of experiences and tasks to provide them with a comprehensive understanding of how social research is outworked in a business context. Skills that interns will be given opportunities to develop include the ability to:

  • Analyse data sets and conduct demographic analysis and forecasting
  • Develop effective survey questions
  • Analyse quantitative data and interpret the findings
  • Write business reports
  • Use Qualtrics software
  • Assist with qualitative research
  • Analyse qualitative data and communicate it
  • Understand the research process from initial briefings and proposals through to final report delivery, presentations and infographic output.

"My internship at McCrindle was an amazing experience, I learned so much about the research industry from some of the best. They offered excellent guidance and gave me a taste of a variety of projects throughout my time there. I learned so much about market and social research which was a perfect accompaniment to my university studies, and was a huge factor behind me being able to find full time employment so quickly after the completion of my degree.

It was definitely not a coffee-retrieving internship! I was given ownership over tasks and got to feel real responsibility while still being supported every step of the way by the amazing team. They were all so welcoming and helpful, I felt like one of the team from the very first day.

I would definitely recommend an internship at McCrindle, it was, without a doubt, the best kick start to my market research career I could have hoped for!

-Jade

McCrindle will provide a written reference for each intern at the completion of their internship.

Apply

To express your interest in a McCrindle internship, please send a copy of your CV and a cover letter to the Research Director:

Eliane Miles

eliane@mccrindle.com.au

02 8824 3422

Suite 105, 29 Solent Circuit Baulkham Hills NSW, 2153

Future Careers for the Emerging Generations

Thursday, January 05, 2017

In Australian there are more than 3.7 million school students around 1.5 million university students with another 1.2 million tertiary students in the vocational education sector. This means that more than 1 in 4 Australians are students and so an understanding of the future of work is an important area. 

Based on the current trends, almost half of the Year 12 students about to complete their exams will end up with a university degree. While they will start their earning years later, they will live longer and work later in life than any previous generation – on average, into their late 60’s. They will stay on average 1.8 years per job early in their career and average about 3 years per job over their working life which means they will have 17 different jobs in their lifetime, across an estimated 5 careers.

Some of the jobs they will hold don’t currently exist, just as mainstream jobs today such as app developer, social media manager and cyber security professional didn’t exist when they began their schooling. Already, working as a virtual reality engineer, cognitive computer expert, data visualisation designer or medical nanotechnologist is nothing unusual. This is very relevant in an area where almost 2 in 3 workers (63%) are white collar, employed in professional, managerial and administrative roles compared to less than half the workforce nationally (49%).

The last few years of disruption has shown us that any role that can be replaced by technology will be. While technology is great for automating systems and replacing repetitive functions, it is not strong at adapting to complex change and engaging with people. Therefore, to future proof careers and skills, today’s young people will need to develop their social interactions, their creative problem solving and their resilience to adapt to a constantly changing workplace. In other words, by being collaborative, responsive and innovative, today’s local students will be enabled to thrive in global careers, now and over the decades ahead.

WATCH MARK MCCRINDLE ON THE DAILY EDITION SPEAK ON THE JOBS OF THE FUTURE

1. Let’s look at education in Australia, how many students are there?

A total of 6.4 million students in Australia. 3.7 million school students, 1.5 million uni students and 1.2 million tertiary students in the vocational education sector.

2. So how will employment and careers look in the future for these current students?

Firstly, they will live longer than previous generations, work a lot later as well – into their late 60’s, they will move jobs more frequently, staying about 3 years per job, which means they will have 17 separate jobs in their life time and work in an estimated 5 careers. They will be a generation of lifelong learners having to plug back into education to upskill and retrain throughout their lives. In this era of online services like Uber, Airtasker and delivery services, we have seen the rise of the “gig-economy” and more of this generation will end up being freelancers, contractors or contingent workers than ever before. Recent research shows that a third of the national workforce currently participates in contingent work, and more than 3 in 4 employers believe that it will be the norm for people to pick up extra work through job related websites or apps.

3. So what are some of the jobs of the future and what is creating them?

Technology is the first driver. While it is replacing many jobs as seen in manufacturing sector it is also creating many new jobs such as virtual reality engineers, cyber security, nanotechnology digital services, block chain engineers.

4. Are there other factors that are creating emerging jobs?

Yes, the demographic change is creating new opportunities. Australia is growing and the ageing population means that we will need more people in health care aged care and retirement services than ever before. Our increasingly culturally diverse population is creating greater opportunities for people working human services, social work and translation services. And social trends and generational changes are creating new opportunities too. It’s a visual area, so data visualisation or indeed virtual reality applications have created new and emerging roles. Our lives are more complex and in an era of mobility, app development, user experience manager and online shopping experts have emerged to respond to our new customer needs.

5. So how do we future proof our careers in times of great change?

Firstly, be responsive. Everything that can be automated will be and if a job can be done more efficiently through technology, outsourcing or offshoring then it will be. Therefore we need to look at our industry and career and respond to the trends both local and global and upskill and retrain to remain relevant.

Secondly, be innovative. Computers are great at doing repetitive tasks but they are not designed to being creative or add innovation. If we can develop the ability to solve problems, improve systems, be proactive and add value our roles will be indispensable.

Finally, be collaborative. Future careers involves not just an understanding of technology but an understanding of people. Those who can effectively communicate, deal well with others, create a collaborative environment, lead people and motivate teams will always be in demand, and these are areas that computers cannot replace.

Merry Christmas from McCrindle!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas Australia! Although New Zealand just beats us to experience Christmas, we are among the first 1% of the world to usher in Christmas Day. And a very special shout out to the 302,950 Australian newborn Gen Alpha Oliver's and Charlotte's (#1 baby names for 2015) and their families who will be celebrating their first Christmas this year.

We hope you enjoy unwrapping the experiences, technological and clothing gifts you are hoping for this year. Enjoy hand writing your Christmas cards, which we know more Australians prefer than sending an E-Card, and unwrapping presents from your spouse/partner and mums, who have been dubbed the best Christmas gift givers!

From all of us at McCrindle we hope you enjoy the infographic we have put together, and that amidst the busyness of the season you have time to connect with family and friends, reflect on the Christmas story and enjoy the many things that make this country great.

Have a Merry Christmas, a fantastic 2017 and we hope you don't receive too many unwanted gifts from your extended family members!

- The McCrindle Team




Aussie sentiment towards Christmas 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Our recent survey of 1,001 Australians revealed that while Christmas is primarily about spending time with family/friends and the Christmas food and cheer, experiences top our wish list for 2016. Our research also reveals who Australians have dubbed the worst and best gift givers, and revealed that most Aussies (even tech savvy Gen Y) would prefer to receive a traditional Christmas card in the mail, over an E-card!

Family and food what we most look forward to


Christmas is a season to gather loved ones together after a long year, and Australians are prioritising time with family and friends (70%) over gifts and shopping (24%). Christmas food and celebrations (43%) and the mood/Christmas cheer (34%) is also what Aussies are looking forward to this Christmas. Along with the celebrations, two in five (39%) are also looking forward to Christmas shopping, gift giving and the Boxing Day sales.

Females (29%) are twice as likely as males (14%) to look forward to shopping and gift-giving. Comprising most of our current workforce, it is not surprising that Gen Y (31%) and Gen X (35%) are more likely to look forward to time off work than the Baby Boomers (13%). On the other hand, more Baby Boomers (70%) are most looking forward to spending time with their family, compared to 56% of Gen Y and 52% Gen X.

Experiences top Australia’s 2016 wish list

Experiences (12%) are our top most hoped for gift this Christmas. While technology (11%) closely follows, as the most preferred gift this Christmas, it has dropped since 2013 when it topped the list (18% hoped most for a technological gift in 2013).

Of those who selected ‘other’, two in five (42%) did not want anything in particular for Christmas. 17% also hope more for time spent with family, peace or happiness over Christmas. 10% prefer money or gift cards, giving themselves the freedom to choose their own present.

“The most hoped for present this Christmas for 4 in 10 Australians is…nothing in particular” stated Mark McCrindle. “It seems that Australians feel that they have enough stuff with “experiences” coming in second” he said.

“In an era of technology saturation, even early adopting Australians, while still keen on technology have seen this category drop significantly down the wish list from almost 1 in 5 a few years ago to just 1 in 10 today” Mark McCrindle continued.

The best gift givers … and the worst

It’s official – spouse/partners (28%) and mums (28%) are the best Christmas givers. While dads made the top 3, just 6% of Australians think they give the best Christmas presents.

Extended family members like aunts and cousins have been dubbed the worst gift givers (15%), perhaps because Christmas may be the only time of year when Australians see these extended family members. A lack of personal interaction could be the reason that work colleagues (10%) and boss’ (7%) also made the list of worst gift givers.

So what are the dodgy Christmas we receive? Well previous research has showed that fridge magnets (how many can one use?), ornamental figurines (special mention for the ones that have batteries and make sounds), handkerchiefs (in an era of tissues), soap packs (does anyone actually use those loofahs?) and potpourri fall into the worst present categories. Our previous research has also showed that a quarter (23%) of us would re-gift a dodgy present! That’s a lot of bath salts circulating!

The younger a person is, the more likely they are to consider their mother to be the best Christmas gift giver (38% Gen Y compared to 21% Gen X and 15% Baby Boomers). Conversely, more than one in three (36%) Baby Boomers consider their spouse or partner to be the best present givers, compared to 1 in 5 (21%) Gen Y’s and one in four (26%) Gen X’s.

Christmas cards are (still) in

Australians are twice as likely (41%) to prefer receiving a traditional Christmas card in the mail than a Christmas E-card (21%). This is even true for tech-savvy Gen Y, with more than a third (36%) preferring to receive a Christmas card in the mail, than an E-card (26%).

The sentimental value of receiving a traditional Christmas card in the post is reflected among the Baby Boomers, with almost half (48%) indicating that they would prefer receiving a Christmas card in the mail than an e-card when compared with Gen Y (36%). On the other hand, tech-savvy Gen Y Australians indicated that they would somewhat or much prefer Christmas ecards (26%) than their older counterparts from the Baby Boomers (15%).

Merry Christmas from McCrindle!


The Future of Shopping

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

As Christmas approaches, so does the urgency of shopping. So what will shopping in the future look like - and will we even need shops? It is interesting to note than in an era of online shopping, we actually visit the shops more now than a generation ago. In a survey this year we found that the main connection point Australians have with their local community is not the community centre, park, school or club but the local shopping centre. A visit to the shops is not just about getting groceries- it is a social experience, an entertainment destination, a café stop-off and of course an opportunity to see, try, and experience what’s new.

The shopping experience of the future will start much earlier than the moment we enter a store. It will begin at the time we make decisions about items we buy. Increasingly, these decisions will be socially informed by recommendations made by family and friends as well as our digital communities with whom we share common interests and even available nearby shoppers.

Shopping will become a hybrid of online purchasing through mobile devices and personalised shopping apps, and real world shopping in-store. By 2026 our in-store shopping will be guided not only by our shopping list but also by applications which facilitate our shopping experience. They will be able to detect when and where we are in store and provide recommendations and discounts in real-time based on our lifestyle, our purchasing habits, household demographics and our electronically-enabled shopping trolley as we fill it. At home, intelligent appliances in our smart homes will monitor our consumption of grocery items, automatically detecting items we are running low on and based on past behaviour and clever predictions this shopping list will be automatically set up for payment and home delivery or available at convenient collection hubs.

Payments will not only be cashless but card-less - a quick swipe of our phone or device will pay the bill and receive the receipt. And best of all, in an era of driver-less cars, car share drop-off points and streamlined public transport, getting a good parking spot may even be achievable!

McCrindle Research; A finalist in the Optus My Business Awards

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Earlier this year, our team at McCrindle Research were pleased to be acknowledged as a finalist for the Optus My Business Awards, Professional Services Business of the Year award.

The Optus My Business Awards is a prestigious national awards program recognising the best businesses and individuals from across Australia. In 2016, there were 188 finalists across 24 categories. 

Each category acknowledged best practice within a particular industry sector, as well as individual business leaders, excellence in customer service and achievements in innovation and workplace culture.


Our Team Leader of Communications, Ashley Fell and her husband Michael represented the McCrindle team at the black-tie gala dinner on Friday, 18 November 2016 at Sydney’s Four Points by Sheraton, where the winners were announced.

At McCrindle, we pride ourselves on the professional and innovative services that we provide to our clients. Our team is comprised of research and communications specialists who are innovative thinkers and solutions focused. As professionals in the fields of research, sociology, demography, communications, design and data visualisation, our team acts as an advisory to assist organisations in strategic planning, consumer insights, community engagement and effective communication.

We love what we do, and it was a privilege to be acknowledged as a finalist in the Optus My Business Awards alongside some other excellent businesses in Australia.

Click here to find out more about the research and communications based professional services we provide. If we can be of assistance in any of these areas, please get in touch with us at info@mccrindle.com.au.

Mark McCrindle on Google For Education

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Social researcher and author Mark McCrindle recently shared his research on understanding and engaging with Generation Z on Google for Education, speaking about the insight of the trends in our schools and how the education system could be changed for the better. Below is a transcript of his session, which can be watched by clicking on the below photo.

Where does Generation Z fit into our learning communities?

Well, we’ve got the senior leaders, the grandparents in our society, the grandparents of Generation Z. They are the Baby Boomers, and they have had many impacts on education over many decades. You’ve got the emerging leaders in our educational facilities, Generation X, and then the parents of the older students. You’ve got Generation Y as the new parents and also the key and emerging generation of teachers. And of course you’ve got Generation Z themselves, born since the mid-1990s, the students of today. We need to understand them to be able to connect with them, to be able to educate them, and they have been influenced in different times. Clearly, understanding their world of technology is key to engaging with them.

WATCH MARK MCCRINDLE ON GOOGLE AIR HERE

Generation Z in five words; Global, digital, mobile, visual and social.

Generation Z are the world’s first truly global generation, not just through social networking and the friends that they have, but the fashions, the brands, the foods and the technologies are global. They are digital in terms of the tools that they use. We call them “Generation Glass” because its glass, not paper, that is the first medium of interaction and learning for them. They are mobile in terms of where they will live and work and their lifestyles. They’re visual in terms of how they consume content, not just the written forms of old. It’s a world of YouTube and visuals, it’s a world of Instagram and connectivity through the visual means, rather than just the written means. And of course they’re social, in terms of who influences them. It’s not just the experts, it’s not just the authority figures, but it’s the peer groups that influence them more than ever before.

More educated than any generation gone before

The education that is being provided for this generation is going to have to sustain them through more educational years than ever before. They truly will be lifelong learners. Indeed, for us Gen X’s about one in four Australians have a university degree. For Generation Y it’s already one in three. For Generation Z almost half of them will end up with a university degree in their lifetime. This foundational primary and secondary education will sustain them through more education and indeed a longer participation in the workforce than we’ve ever before seen. So what do we need to equip them with to future-proof their lives and careers in these changing times? Well, three words and keys to keep in mind.

Innovative

Firstly, they need to be innovative. They will need to adapt and adjust in their own roles to remain relevant in these times of change. The average national Australian tenure of an employee in a job is currently three years. Now if that plays out in the lifetime of one of our school leavers today, and based of the trend of them working through their sixties, which will be the norm for Generation Z, it means that they will have seventeen separate jobs in their lifetime. They’ll upskill and retrain every few jobs, they’ll end up with five careers.

They’ll be working in jobs in the future that currently don’t exist, just as now as they start their roles, they’re working in jobs that didn’t exist a decade ago. Some of the jobs that have emerged just in the last couple of years include virtual reality engineers and cognitive computer analysts that can help bridge the gap between technology and humans. Data visualisation experts and drone piolets or UAV operators. It is a fast changing world and we have to equip them therefore, not just with the knowledge, but with the innovative skills to be resilient, to change, to adapt, and to so future-proof their direction.

Collaborative

It’s also about equipping them to be collaborative, because their roles won’t be locked into a hierarchical chart, an organisational chart of old where it was about authoritarian leadership and a chain of command, but rather they’ll need to be flexible and empowered, they’ll need to be entrepreneurial in outlook. Self-directed in their approach. It’s the world of the flat structure, the collaborative leadership model. And so equipping them to be collaborative in style is going to be key. In other words, sure we need to equip them with those cognitive skills, but we need to equip them with the relational skills as well. Yes, we’ve got to teach the eyes of the head, but we’ve got to equip them with the eyes of the heart. I guess I mean from that that it’s not just about the cerebral connection, but the relational and emotional engagement, that’s what a collaborative world needs.

Responsive

So if we’ve got a generation that are innovative and collaborative, then my third tip is that we need to teach them to be responsive. They will have to learn to adapt and respond to the speed of the changes that they see. We’re all in a nonstop quest for relevance, for adaption, for responding to the changes, and that’s the case for Generation Z. We’ve got to equip them to respond to the changes and lead by an example in that way. The point of course is that we have to model being responsive and adaptive if we want our students to respond in the same way.

So it’s about creating a culture of learning that’s a collaborative, innovative and responsive environment, where we walk the talk, where we model the response to change, where we experiment and innovate to engage with an ever-changing generation. We are really dealing with educational structures like classes and curriculums and examinations that are of the nineteenth century, and we’re often educating in facilities that were built in the twentieth century, yet we’re connecting with a twenty-first century generation. That therefore requires us to be innovative and collaborative and responsive and to equip our students with those skills as well. Keep your eyes on the trends, engage with the next generation and you will equip them to be the leaders of the future.

About Mark McCrindle

Mark McCrindle is a social researcher with an international following. He is recognised as a leader in tracking emerging issues and researching social trends. As an award winning social researcher and an engaging public speaker, Mark has appeared across many television networks and other media. He is a best-selling author, an influential thought leader, TEDx speaker and Principal of McCrindle Research. His advisory, communications and research company, McCrindle, count among its clients more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and leading international brands.

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