Cringing over cliches

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The word is out: Australians are so over clichés. There’s no question that we love to hate them. Yet having said that, we use them in droves, big time.

General Clichés 

You’ve heard them all before... perhaps you’ve even used them yourself? Either way, Australia has spoken and these are the clichés we love to hate.

1. At the end of the day  

2. Let’s do lunch 

3. It’s not rocket science 

4. 24/7 

5. Calling to touch base 

6. Bring it on  

7. Don’t get me started  

8. As you do 

9. Tell me about it  

10. Your call may be recorded for training purposes

Political Clichés

Politicians are rarely short of something to say, possibly because they are the 2nd biggest offender in terms of using annoying clichés. Here’s a page or two out of their lexicon: 

1. Working families  

2. Not ruling anything in or out 

3. No magic bullet 

4. Can I just say 

5. The jury is still out on that one 

6. Going forward  

7. No brainer  

8. Having said that 

9. Ballpark figure  

10. At this point in time

For more Top 10 workplace, youth and social cliches, check out the whitepaper on our resources page.

The National Barometer 2012: How we're travelling

Monday, April 16, 2012

Australia in 2012 is experiencing significant population shifts and social trends. So amidst the change, it is encouraging to see that the national barometer shows Australia is travelling pretty well.

Within a few months, Australia’s population will exceed 23 million. In fact, Australia’s population has doubled since 1966 (11.5 million) which is the same period of time that the total world population has doubled (from 3.5 billion in 1966 to 7 billion today). When asked about this population growth, more than half of Australians (52%) said that they were concerned about Australia’s rapid rate of population growth. Only a third (36%) felt that we were growing at the right rate.

The ratio of retirees to workers will double over the next four decades

Australia is ageing rapidly as a nation! By 2050, older people (aged 65-84) are expected to more than double and those aged over 85 will more than quadruple. In today’s workforce, there is a ratio of 5 workers per retiree!  By 2050, this will have halved to just 2.5 workers per retiree. We are moving into a prolonged period where there will be fewer people working relative to the total population, to support through taxation, the increasing aged-care and health costs of an older population.

Growing cultural diversity, growing acceptance of it

Of the 1 in 5 (20%) of Australians born in non-English speaking countries, 83% feel they speak English well or very well. Of all Australians, Tasmanians are the most likely to have been born in Australia (87%) and 86% reported that all or most of their friends were from the same ethnic background as they were themselves. NT (67%) and Victoria (69%) had the lowest percentage of people reporting that all or most of their friends were from the same ethnic background that they were.

 Australians have embraced cultural diversity, 4 in 5 (80%) stating that it is a good thing for a society to be made up of people from different cultures. Those in the ACT were found to be the most accepting of cultural diversity, with 87% feeling this. Tasmanians and Queenslanders were the least likely to feel positive about cultural diversity, but even so, less than 1 in 10 Tasmanians (9%) and Queenslanders (8%) strongly disagree with the idea that cultural diversity is a good thing.

Community involvement and volunteering

As Australians, it’s not uncommon to volunteer in the community, with 6.14 million adults (38%) undertaking some form of voluntary work annually. Interestingly, Australians in major cities (34%) were less likely to participate in voluntary or community activities, when compared to Australians living in regional areas (42%).

Different generations also volunteered for different activities. Younger generations were more likely to be involved in sports and recreation, older Gen Y and Gen Xers were most commonly volunteering in parenting groups. Welfare and community type activities were most common in the Boomers and Builders.

Wealth of the top 20% of Australian households is 70x more than that of the lowest 20%

In Australia, the national average disposable income is $44,096. The disposable household income of the lowest 20% of Australian households comprises just 7% of the total Australian household income ($16,328). The average disposable household income of the top 20% of households is $88,608, which comprises 40% of all household income! Even after tax strategies to balance Australian earning, this is five times the average earnings of the bottom 20%.

 Currently, the average Australian household net worth is $719,561. The lowest 20% of Australian households own just 1% of Australia’s private wealth (with an average net worth of $31,829), whilst the highest 20% own 62%, with an average net worth of $2.22 million. The wealth of the average household in the top 20% is seventy times more than the average of those in the bottom 20%.

Mobiles overtake fixed lines as preferred form of communication

As Australians, we not only value our relationships, but we strive to ensure that we’re well-connected. On a day-to-day basis, 1 in 5 Australians (20%) have face-to-face contact with family and friends outside of their household, and 4 in 5 (79%) have contact weekly. In terms of non-physical forms of communication, mobile phone and SMS-style communication (84%) were the most common methods of keeping in touch with family and friends, just overtaking fixed phone (83%). There are currently more than 6.2 million Australian households connected with broadband internet which equals 7 in 10 (73%) of all households.

We’re optimistic about our health

Most Australian adults rate their health as good, very good or excellent (83%), and when thinking about overall life satisfaction, 2 in 5 (43%) of us are pleased or delighted with our lives, and a further 34% are mostly satisfied. That means that 3 in 4 (77%) Australians are quite satisfied with their lives overall. However, the less contact an adult had with family and friends living outside their household, the less satisfied they were with their lives. Similarly, divorcees and separated adults were also least likely to be feeling satisfied.

Crime and safety

As Australians, we feel safe in our homes, with 85% stating that we felt safe or very safe at home alone after dark. Interestingly, only half of Australians (48%) feel safe if they were to walk in their neighbourhood at night time. There was a large difference between males and females, with men feeling much safer than women whether in or out of their home. 2 in 3 (68%) men feel safe walking in their neighbourhood at night, compared with only 29% of women.

 “The Australian Barometer 2012 reads very well. We are connecting positively culturally, socially and technologically. Our communities are culturally diverse and most Australians agree that this enriches our society. Most Australians connect socially with friends and family other than their household each week, and continuing our early adoption of technology, most Australian households are broadband connected, and more use is made of mobile phones than landlines. We are happy with our health with 83% of Australians rating their health as above average (which says more for our positive frame of mind than our statistical abilities!) and we record a high level of feel safe at home and in our communities,” said Mark McCrindle, director of McCrindle Research. “Overall, the population growth and ageing, the skewed wealth distribution and safety in our neighbourhoods are the areas of concern.”

Sources: The Australian Bureau of Statistics,
The Australian Government Intergenerational Report (2010),
McCrindle Research findings (2012).

Bridging the Gap: Employers

Thursday, April 12, 2012

An employer's guide to managing and retaining to new generation of employees. Gen Y workers have markedly different attitudes, perspectives, values and communication styles when compared to the generations above them, typically their employers.

For Gen Y, their job matters - but it is not their life. In a world where they feel work-life balance is pivotal, if there is a clash, life wins! The social connections they have at work are also key to their retention. Gen Y want a community over a workplace; friends, not just colleagues.

Word Up: A Youth Lexicon

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

To find out the meanings of these words, check out our Youth lexicon!

Word Up: Influences on 21st Century Language

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Once upon a time, the only way people communicated was through face-to-face contact and the written word. These days, for 97% of Australian youth, text messaging is the top mobile phone function used. 

No longer do Australian students communicate in the classroom by note. They send text messages. Instead of walking over to a work mate or even an older co-worker in the office to pass something on, Gen Y workers send emails. Young people do not write long letters to stay in touch with faraway friends and family. They do not even have to wait until they get home to make a phone call (in fact, many young adults do not even have a landline connection)!

Mark McCrindle's book Word Up is a lexicon of 21st century youth slang, an overview of the factors shaping language, literacy, manners, and social interactions, and a guide to bridging communication gaps. For educators, employers, leaders and parents who rely on technology and spoken and written communications to influence and engage across the generations, Word up is an invaluable guide.  

For more, check out Influences on 21st Century language: McCrindle Research

Spirituality and Christianity in Australia today

Thursday, April 05, 2012

The world hit a new benchmark of 7 billion people just recently, and Australia is predicted to reach 23 million in the middle of the year. Our population has actually doubled since 1966 (11.5 million), and at that time 1 in 4 Aussies attended church (2.6 million). These days, with double the population, our church attendance has actually dwindled to less than 1 in 14 (1.6 million).

Looking at the ABS religious statistics might give some false positives for Christian leaders, showing that just under 64% of Australians check the Christianity box. However, we certainly don't seem to be seeing those numbers at church. In our research, we gave Australians the option to select both spirituality and religion. The findings showed that Australians identifying with the Christian faith dropped from 6 in 10, to 4 in 10. Overall, only 9% were actively practising and regularly attending at a place of worship.

These findings were all part of a joint-research venture with Olive Tree Media. For more details of the research findings, see here.

Alternatively, please click here for a free A5 summary of the research findings.

Weddings and Marriages Infographic

Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Do you believe that...

  • 7 in 10 marriages are conducted by a civil celebrant?
  • 1 in 5 will marry more than once in their lifetime?
  • 4 in 5 couples live together before tying the knot?
  • 1 in 3 marriages end in divorce?

For more of these stats, check out our latest infographic about Australian trends in weddings and marriages!

For a more detailed summary, here's our earlier blog post, Going to the chapel: Weddings in Australia.

Weddings and Marriages Infographic McCrindle Research 2012

Leading and Managing: What's the difference?

Monday, April 02, 2012

With changing generations comes changing attitudes, relations and styles of communication. In Mark McCrindle's book The ABC of XYZ , the chapter Leading and Managing explores this further.

  1. If an employee is summoned to the employer’s room, he must remain standing until his chief indicates a seat. At the conclusion of the interview he must leave as quietly as possible, closing the door gently after him. 
  2. If a junior meets his employer in the lift or in the street he should bow, but must not enter into conversation unless first addressed. 
  3. If an employee has a need to send a letter to his chief he should commence it with the words ‘Dear sir’ and conclude with the words ‘Yours obediently’.

- Australian Etiquette, 1959

Mark McCrindle's book The ABC of XYZ gives insights and practical strategies to help parents, teachers and managers bridge the gaps and engage with each generation. However, this book is more than a research-based reference work or valuable 'how to' guide - it is also a very interesting read with facts and lists to which members of each generation will reminisce.  

Leading and Managing: McCrindle Research

Going to the chapel: Weddings in Australia

Friday, March 30, 2012

In 4 of 5 (79%) marriages, couples lived together before tying the knot. Interestingly, couples who did live together before getting married tended to be slightly older than those who had not lived together.

Australia sees an average of 332 weddings per day, with this figure rising to an average of 577 in October, the busiest month of the year, and down to 190 in June, the quietest month of the year!

For more wedding stats, check out Weddings and Marriage in Australia 2012

Word Up: 21st Century Manners

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Social rules and manners have been constantly changing and shaped, relative to the times and context. What is considered socially acceptable behaviour is highly malleable.

Looking at how social rules are taught by parents to their children, current times have seen an emphasis placed on 'stranger danger', being weary of adults that the child does not know. What is scary is that, children these days are also taught to be cautious of adults they do already know ('danger from within').

We teach children to be assertive rather than obedient

In our survey on manners, we found that nearly half of Aussie parents teach their kids only to listen to and obey adults whom they know.

Mark McCrindle's book Word Up is a lexicon of 21st century youth slang, an overview of the factors shaping language, literacy, manners, and social interactions, and a guide to bridging communication gaps. For educators, employers, leaders and parents who rely on technology and spoken and written communications to influence and engage across the generations, Word up is an invaluable guide. 

For more, check out 21st Century Manners:

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