Eliane Miles speaks on NEETs in Australia

Monday, September 19, 2016

Analysis by Eliane Miles on new research released this week from the OECD highlights the challenge for young people entering their working years, particularly considering their transition from education.

While unemployment in Australia at just 5.6% is one of the lowest in the OECD, the number of Australian young people not in education, employment, or training (NEETs) has increased by 100,000 since the time prior to the Global Financial Crisis (2008), rising from 10.5% to 11.8% of all those aged 16 to 24 – comprising a total of 580,000 young people today.

The challenges affecting youth unemployment most often lie in a young person’s transition periods. It is normal for young people to spend some time out of education and work – in fact, 2 in 3 young people aged 16 to 24 will spend up to 3 months out of education and work – but the challenge becomes when this period of time becomes greater and the ‘relevance clock’ begins to tick. When 3 months eventuates into a year, or longer, this can lead to cycles of unemployment. Today, 1 in 5 young people aged 16 to 24 spend 12 months or more out of employment, education, or training, and it is these young people that will face the most significant challenges as they try to enter or re-enter the workforce.

The demographic realities play a significant risk factor in young people falling into a cycle of unemployment. 60% of NEETS are women, and while just 3% of young people are indigenous, this percentage rises to 10% among NEETs. There is also a strong correlation between low educational attainment and struggles in entering the workforce - 37% of students who leave school in Year 10 end up not being in education, employment, or training, compared with just 11% of those with a tertiary qualification.

Watch Eliane Miles on 7 News below:




240,000 young people looking for work

Young people out of work are often stereotyped as “slackers” but in fact 41% of NEETs (238,000) are actively looking for work but unable to find a job. Helping these young people find work needs to become a national priority and a focus needs to be given to their education to employment transition. Studies tell us that the key transition in a young person’s life is from learning to earning – from study to employment. If young people are not job ready, they should be directed to a course or traineeship that will help them get job-ready. Greater collaboration between actors (schools, VET providers, tertiary providers, employment services, childcare providers, and employers) is needed, along with a broader focus on not just higher education but vocational learning.

The remaining 59% who are inactive NEETS

Questions are then most often asked about inactive NEETs – the 40% of NEETs who say they would not like a job, and the 19% who would like a job but aren’t currently looking. What is it that has discouraged them or dissuaded them from entering the workforce?

Educationally, we are seeing a significant push towards tertiary educational attainment. A generation ago in 1986, more than half of all students left school in Year 10 with most going on to start work/vocational training. Today, 9 in 10 young people go on to complete Year 12, and the majority of these enter higher education. Nationally, however, 1 in 5 university students drop out in their first year of university, clearly not being ready for the task at hand or convinced of the choice they have made.

And while we are seeing an increase in university qualifications (our predictions estimate that 1 in 2 Gen Z will have a university qualification compared to 1 in 3 Gen Ys and 1 in 4 Gen Xs), we must keep in mind that everything is not just about higher education or STEM skills. It’s about developing a broad skills base that will continue to sustain Australia’s growing economic and demographic footprint.

Challenges in the skills sector

While the VET sector has seen a 50% increase in students placed in apprenticeships since the early 2000s, the sector is also subject to significant inefficiencies. Traineeship and apprenticeship completion rates are low, qualifications are hard to navigate, some federal funding for programs has been withdrawn, and employment service providers geographically only target 60% of NEETs, leaving 200,000 youth un-serviced by employment services.

The benefits of work are more than just economic

In conversations with young people, it serves us to be reminded that jobs do more good for all of us than just money. They provide a young person with a sense of independence, self-esteem, and social connection, as well as the ability to learn and stay future-proofed. The longer that young people stay out of employment, the more they are to lose connection and become social disenfranchised, leading to greater problems.

The challenge of entry will only accelerate

As we look ahead to the next 10-15 years of Australia’s job market, we estimate that 5.1 million of Australia’s jobs will become digitally disrupted. Today’s savvy school leaver is training themselves for jobs that don’t yet exist. The reality is that new jobs which will be created are more complex than the jobs they replace. If a young person is locked out of the workforce today, it is likely that they will face an even more difficult re-entry in years ahead as the skills required to fulfilk workforce demands increase.

The challenge of financial independence will also accelerate

Commonwealth funding will increasingly become tighter. The economy has natural limits, and supporting an ageing population base and those with disabilities is naturally a more pressing national priority than supporting those who can work but are choosing not to. It’s just a matter of time before government benefits to NEETs will dry up.

Having said that, it’s also important to remember that 25% of inactive NEETs and 41% of NEETs looking for work in fact have not received any government benefits to support them. For these young people, support has largely fallen back to the informal economy, with support provided by family members and friends.

The earnings challenge for today’s emerging generation

It is in fact more financially difficult to get ahead early in life than it once was. In the 1970s, for example, when many Baby Boomers graduated from university, the average graduate starting salary was equal to the average full time adult wage, while today the average graduate starting salary of $54,000 is $26,000 less than average full time annual earnings. Student debt is also higher than ever, with more than 1 in 3 (34%) registered debt agreements belonging to 25-34 year-olds, and the average university debt estimated to be around $28,000. Today’s young generations are actually beginning their earning years in more debt than we’ve seen before. Not to mention the multi-fold increase in the cost of housing – a generation ago the average Sydney house price was 5 times annual average earnings while today the average house price is 13 times the average annual full time earnings of $80,000.

Keeping it in perspective

If young people can continue to accelerate their learning, they’ll have greater chances of success. Just 11% of bachelor-degree educated young people are still looking for full time work within 4 months of completing their course, and the strength of Australia’s economy is creating positive opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship for young people to place their stamp on Australia's future.

ABOUT ELIANE MILES

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a data analyst she understands the power of big data to inform strategic direction. Managing research across multiple sectors and locations, she is well positioned to understand the mega trends transforming the workplace, household and consumer landscapes. Her expertise is in telling the story embedded in the data and communicating the insights in visual and practical ways.

From the key demographic transformations such as population growth and the ageing workforce to social trends such as changing household structures and emerging lifestyle expectations, from generational change to the impact of technology, Eliane delivers research based presentations dealing with the big global and national trends.

With academic qualifications in community engagement and postgraduate studies in international development and global health, Eliane brings robust, research-based content to her engaging presentations and consulting. As a social researcher, she has been interviewed on these topics on prominent television programs such as National Nine News and Today, as well as on radio and in online media.

To have Eliane Miles present to your organisation on Generation Z, the state of today’s education sector, or the future world of work, contact McCrindle at info@mccrindle.com.au or call 02 8824 3422

DOWNLOAD ELIANE'S SPEAKERS PACK HERE






Sources:

OECD, Investing in Youth: Australia 2016

Graduate Careers Australia

McCrindle

Sydney: One City, 300 Cultures

Friday, January 15, 2016

Sydney, a city which will soon reach 5 million people, is Australia’s most culturally diverse capital with over 2 in 5 Sydneysiders born overseas. Over half of all Sydney’s population have both parents being born overseas and over 40% speak a language other than English.

According the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census data, Sydney is comprised of people from over 220 countries and significant sub-regions, with over 240 different languages spoken and residents identifying with almost 300 different ancestries.

So which areas of Sydney are the most diverse, and what suburbs have the strongest connections to various cultures?

VISUALISING DATA WITH TABLEAU

Explore Sydney in all its cultural diversity below, where you are able to select any country, language and ancestry and see where people with those characteristics choose to call home within Sydney, or simply click on your area on our McCrindle Tableau map to reveal your area’s profile!

 

An event recap of the Urban Living Index launch

Monday, December 14, 2015

It was a privilege for two of our team, Mark McCrindle and Annie Phillips to attend and present at Urban Taskforce’s launch of the Urban Living Index on Thursday 10th December.

The event was an opportunity to showcase the Urban Living Index and how it can be best utilised as Sydney continues to grow and increase in densification.

The Urban Living Index

Earlier this year we had the opportunity to develop The Urban Living Index, which is going to be used as an ongoing measure for the liveability of suburbs in Sydney. This instrument considers the affordability, community, employability, amenity and accessibility of an area to determine how liveable it is. The challenge for Sydney’s future is to ensure that it responds to population growth yet maintains its world-beating lifestyle and that its liveability rises to match its increasing density. While a city can always improve, the results of the Index show that the city planning and unit development are creating thriving urban communities, as evidenced by the results that show superior liveability in high density Sydney suburbs.


To read the full report, visit the Urban Living Index website here.





Sydney’s most liveable suburbs

Crows Nest-Waverton
Surry Hills
Pyrmont-Ultimo
Marrickville
Potts Point – Woolloomooloo

In the media




Sydney Morning Herald - Measuring urban living across Sydney








The future of work: Technology, Innovation & Collaboration

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Generational transition in the workplace


We’re on the brink of significant generational transition in the workforce, as the Baby Boomers (born 1946-64) who make up a quarter of today’s workforce and hold a lot of the leadership roles are reaching retirement age and will be just 8% of the workforce in a decade’s time. 

At the other end of the spectrum, as the Baby Boomers are phasing out of the workplace, the most materially endowed, technologically literate, formally educated, globally connected generation to ever grace the planet enter the workforce – Generation Z. 

Future Workforce Generations

Generation Z, born 1995-2009, make up 18% of our population, 9% of the workforce but in a decade’s time will make up 31% of the workforce.

Whilst they will spend 14,000 hours in face to face classes in their schooling and for a degree, they’ll spend 6 times this in the workforce – an estimated 84,000 hours.  But what will the future of work look like?

Generation Z bring new approaches to work, problem solving, innovation and collaboration.  They have been born into an era of unprecedented change – this will be reflected in their approach to their careers. Today’s annual turnover rate is 15% per annum which equates to people staying in their roles for approximately 3 years 4 months. Projected over the lifetime of a school leaver today it is estimated they will have 17 jobs across 5 careers in their lifetime. 

social trends transforming the future of work

The Intergenerational Report by the Australian Government outlines three major social trends which will transform the future of work as we know it- population, participation and productivity.

Population

Australia’s population is growing at 1.4% per annum, and we will reach 24 million people by the end of 2015.  We have doubled both our national and our global population since 1966.

However our population is not only growing but also ageing.  Our population pyramids visually communicate our growth – in 1985 it was a pyramid as there were more younger people than older people, however today it is becoming more rectangular and demonstrates how we are on the brink of massive ageing.   As we project to 2045 our population pyramid will start to become inverted as we will have more people aged over 60 than under 18 for the first time.

There are not only more older people but we are living longer than ever before, having added 10 years of life expectancy in the last four decades.

Our population is also changing, and we are more culturally diverse than ever before with 58% of Australia’s growth attributed to net overseas migration. We are increasingly generationally diverse with six generations represented in our communities today. 

Participation

In the years ahead we will see the female workplace participation rate continue to increase.  And we will be working later in life with the retirement age being pushed back. Even so, because of the impact of the aging population our workforce participation rate will actually decline, with today’s participation rate at 65.1% projected to decline to 62.4% in 2055.

The ratio of Australians in the workplace to retirees is also radically changing.  In 1975, there were 15 people of working age (aged 15-64) for every couple of retirement age (aged 65+).  Today there are just 9 people of working age for every couple of retirement age, and by 2055 it is projected to be just 5.4 people of traditional working age for every couple of retirement age. 

Productivity

Due to the declining ratio of people of working age to those in retirement, there is going to be a greater need for productivity from the labour force.  The workforce of the future will need to do more with less.  This final defining social trend, productivity, is the only one not based on demographic realities.  

The Intergenerational Report outlines that for every hour an Australian works today, twice as many goods and services are produced as they were in the early 1970s. One of the contributors to this is technology which has enabled greater efficiencies. 

The future of work

It is not just technology which has increased productivity outcomes over the years.  Productivity is maximised by people and organisations who can innovate, and communities who can collaborate.  Effectiveness, innovation, productivity comes when it is in the hands of people who can see solutions, generate ideas, solve problems and facilitate innovations. 

Technology, innovation & collaboration 

Sectors have been transformed where there’s the intersection of technologies with innovation and collaboration. 

For example, AirBnB has challenged the traditional approach to accommodation solutions.   Their innovative approach to accommodation has been released to the collaborative power of the community to become accommodation providers, and has been leveraged through the technology platforms.   

Similarly, the network transportation company Uber has transformed the approach to transportation.  Launched internationally in 2012, Uber is in 58 countries, worth an estimated $50 billion yet doesn’t own one car.  An innovative approach, released to the collaborative community, leveraged through technology. 

Cancer Research UK provides another creative example of this.  They created a computer game Play to Cure: Genes in Space’. By playing it you analyse significant amounts of genetic data which would have taken scientists hours to do and can help beat cancer sooner. Leveraging technologies, fostering innovation and embracing collaboration.

Effective leaders of the future

The effective leaders of the future will not be those necessarily with the most developed skill set but those who can effectively create a culture of collaborative innovation. 

Traditional leadership models have been based on position, hierarchy, command and control.  Whilst leadership remains essential, the styles of leadership the emerging generations respond best to are those that foster a context for them to connect, create and contribute. 

A workplace culture of collaborative innovation is inclusive of a multicultural, multigenerational, multigifted community – it draws on the strengths of the diversity through positioning people in contexts which foster growth, innovation and collaboration.

Creating a culture of collaborative innovation

A culture of collaborative innovation requires focusing on the people not just the process. On shaping a team not just spending on technologies. It requires building on a foundation of shared values such as humility, respect and honesty.  It’s where leaders create autonomy supported inclusive multigenerational workplaces. 

Productivity and outcomes are important.  Essential in fact.  But perhaps as we shift our focus from process to people, from transactional to transformation leadership, and create vibrant, healthy, dynamic workplace communities – the productivity, innovation and output is likely to be greater than ever and flow simply as by-product - of people investing the 84,000 hours of their working lives in a rewarding way and in a thriving culture of collaborative innovation.

Mark McCrindle and The Changing Face of Sydney

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Sydney, the place many of us call home, is Australia’s economic powerhouse. We are adding almost 90,000 people to our city every single year, and the 5 fastest growing areas in New South Wales are all located in Sydney. Back 50 years ago Sydney had just hit 2 million people, we are going to finish next year at 5 million people.

Sydney is a fascinating and complex landscape where old ways and old attitudes are disappearing. We used to have a cringe factor of, “this part of the city is better than that part of the city” and people would perhaps be embarrassed if they weren’t closer to where the action was. That’s all changed. People in Greater Western Sydney embrace that as their moniker, proud of being a Westie.

And when it comes to work the CBD is no longer the cities undisputed top dog. Sydney is undergoing an opportunity revolution, with entrepreneurial hotspots sprouting up just about everywhere. You’ve got the media and communications hubs around Surry Hills and Ultimo, and high-tech emerging in areas of Parramatta and even in Penrith. It’s not all just happening in the CBD alone.

NSW also has the highest migration of any Australian state, and Sydney – a global city, receives most of this growth. In this city of diversity, the city’s newest citizens form new tribes in its oldest suburbs.

Sydney has many faces, but what binds us, the one thing we all have in common is this often complex, always beautiful, ever-changing city.

The Changing Face of Sydney; Urban Sprawl Goes Vertical

The Changing Face of Sydney; A closer look at Parramatta

The Changing Face of Sydney; Is the Sutherland Shire the new boom town?

The Changing Face of Sydney; The Changing Face of Liverpool

The Changing Face of Sydney; The big Development Flying Under the Rader

Q AND A WITH MARK MCCRINDLE


Q: Just wondering how many have first language of English?

A: Sydney is one of the most culturally diverse places in Australia. Almost two in three households have at least one parent born overseas, and China may soon overtake England as the country Sydneysiders born overseas were most likely born in.


Q: My children – aged 11 and eight – and I just watched the Changing Face of Sydney. They would like to know how our suburb, Loftus, has changed over the years. Or anything exciting you can tell them about our great suburb.

A: Well it is a fascinating suburb – home to far more families with kids than the state and national average. Averaging two children per household (well above the average) and with more stay-at-home parents than average. Earning more, volunteering more, and with a higher proportion of children than most Sydney suburbs – sounds like a nice, family-friendly place to live.


Q: What does the future of Blacktown look like as a part of the changing face of the western suburbs?

A: Blacktown has consistently been the fastest growing areas in the whole of NSW over the last decade. The Blacktown City area is home to more than 300,000 people, which means it is home to more people than the whole of the Northern Territory!


Q: We have just moved to Mosman from Adelaide, what can you tell me about Mosman, its demographic and its history?

A: Mosman is home to far more females than males - average age is 40, well above Sydney’s 36 and the residents’ earn more and work longer than the NSW average. Three in five of those in the labour force in Mosman work more than 40 hours per week. It is also home to twice the proportion of professionals and managers than the state average.


Q: What are your views on Sydney property growth in the short term? Is this boom likely to continue? NSW future infrastructure projects are encouraged by this strong stamp. What would be the result if the interest rates increase?

A: Yes Sydney’s property prices are no bubble. They are underpinned by more demand (population growth) than supply (new home builds). Not only is Sydney growing around 85,000 people per year, but households are getting smaller so the housing demand is even outstripping population growth. However, Sydney prices will no doubt plateau at some point, as they have before.


Q: Which suburbs have big potential for growth? Where will be more infrastructure developments?

A: Greater Western Sydney is where the population growth is and where there will be a lot of new infrastructure over the decades ahead. Plus prices are beginning from a lower base than the east. And keep in mind that by 2032 Western Sydney will be larger than the rest of Sydney (2.9m compared to 2.7m).


Q: My partner and I are planning to buy a house. What is the quietest place in Sydney?

A: The quiet suburbs on the urban fringes – Shanes Park, Cranebrook, Marsden Park, Badgery’s Creek – are acreage at the moment but will be development central in a few years. So the quiet may just be temporary.


Q: Where is the best place to invest, which suburb?

A: Really depends on budget and also having a long-term view. Suburbs change: Redfern, Balmain, Newtown, Campberdown were once not considered desirable suburbs and are now very expensive. So it is good to look at population growth trends and emerging infrastructure. A suburb not “hot” at the moment if it is in Sydney will be a winner long term.


Q: What are the reasons for different ethnicities to settle in the respective suburbs? (Chinese in Hurstville and Chatswood, British in Manly, etc.)

A: Often it is where they have connection/family and so various suburbs end up with strong ethnicities. For example, traditionally Greeks settled in Kogarah, many from Vietnam called Cabramatta home and more recently a strong connection of those from India to Harris Park.


Q: What proportion of the Hills district is evangelical and also now the Shire?

A: The ABS census data shows religion by denomination and it shows that for example the Hills have less than 19 per cent while the Shire has more than 25 per cent Anglicans.

The cost of work: What we pay to work

Monday, August 17, 2015

The unemployment rate is rising, but so are the costs of work. And while living costs and house prices have been rising faster than wages, the costs associated with work are also on the way up. From toll roads to public transport costs, a simple cup of coffee to updating work clothes. From childcare costs to tax increases, Australians are paying to work.

A recent 2015 McCrindle Research study of over 540 working Australians reveals that income doesn’t just generate wealth, it also consumes it. Australians are forking out more than ever on transport costs, clothing and food while they are working, significantly reducing their take-home pay. Incurring travel costs associated with work, work-related education expenses, child-care costs, and income tax all further reduce a full-time worker’s take-home pay to less than two thirds of their gross salary.

THE LIFESTYLE COSTS OF WORK

95% of working Australians spend their own money on food and beverages during work times, with almost 3 in 4 Australians (74%) purchasing lunch, morning tea, or coffees when at work or when travelling to/from work at least once per week. More than one fifth of Australians (22%) spend their own money on consumable food items every single day while they are at work.

YOUNGER MALES BUY LUNCH MOST

Males tend to eat out more often, with 27% of male employees purchasing food or beverages at least once per day (compared with 16% of females). The frequency at which employees purchase consumables while at work decreases with age. While 78% of Generation Ys and 77% Generation Xs spend their own money on food and beverages at least once per week, this reduces to 60% for the Baby Boomer Generation.

ALMOST $900 ON LUNCHES PER YEAR

The average Australian employee spends $18.52 on lunches, snacks, and beverages during their workday every week. This takes into consideration the 6% of Australians who don’t spend money on food while they are at work, and ranges to include those who go out more than once a day, some of whom spend over $100 on food and beverages while at work each week. Over a 48-week work year, this average weekly spend accumulates to $889 per year.

THE COST OF FASHION

In an effort to keep up with the latest styles and fashions or simply to avoid wearing the same thing every day, employees spend hundreds of dollars on clothing per year. Australians report spending an average of $320 each year of their own money on clothes they require directly for work. This includes employees across all industries and factors into account those who spend very little, having uniforms supplied, as well as those who purchase corporate apparel.

GETTING TO WORK: THE RISING COST OF CARS

After childcare and tax costs, transport is the greatest expense when it comes to work, with the average Australian spending $99.88 each week on work-related petrol costs, tolls, and/or public transport tickets. While public transport cost increases have been modest, the big challenge for workers has been the rising cost of petrol, tolls and car ownership, and this is particularly relevant for the 2 in 3 Australians (65.5%) who travel to work by private vehicle. The average full time worker spends almost $4,800 per year just on getting to and from work.

UPSKILLING, RETRAINING AND KNOWLEDGE-GAINING

30% of working Australians spent their own money last year on education and training directly associated with their line of work, averaging to $1,936. Overall (accounting for the 70% who didn’t spend any of their own money on employment-related learning), the average Australian worker spends $588.60 per annum of their own money on training, and much of this, where it is retraining for a new career or role, is not tax deductable.

THE CHILDCARE COST CHALLENGE

The Productivity Commission Study into childcare shows the median childcare costs are $7.40 per hour ($74 for a 10 hour day). For those requiring full time childcare for 50 hours per week, this would cost them $370 per week which equates to 22% of the average full time weekly earnings.

A TAXING PROBLEM

The current average full time weekly earnings is $1539.40 per week ($80,049 per annum) which brings this average wage into the third tax bracket (a tax rate of 37 cents per dollar). Based on the 2015-2016 tax schedule this average annual earnings package would attract a tax bill of $16,768.

FOR MANY, IT IS MORE THAN HALF

The average full-time Australian worker who earns $80,049 per annum (current full time adult weekly earnings) is spending $889 of that on lunches, $320 on wardrobe changes, $4,794 on transport costs, $587 on education, $17,760 on child-care (based on 70 hours at average costs) and $16,768 on tax (not including tax deductions). These total work costs add up to $41,118, which is 51% of the average annual gross.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Hornsby Shire; A shire of opportunity

Thursday, August 06, 2015

The social, generational, economic and demographic trends impacting Hornsby Shire are creating not only new challenges but great opportunities. Unprecedented change can sometimes lead to change fatigue where the response can be to become worried about change, or equally it can lead to change apathy which can create an indifference to change. However by understanding the emerging trends, we can be more prepared for the changes and so rather than becoming defensive or blasé we can respond to the shifts, influence the trends and shape the future.

Hornsby Shire Council: A Shire of Opportunity, outlines ten of the top trends that are redefining the Hornsby LGA and shaping the future of this community. We have been pleased to assist Hornsby Shire Council in conducting this analysis and the trends shaping the region.

The top 10 trends for Hornsby Shire are:

  1. Growing population, increasing densification
  2. Ageing population, transitioning generations
  3. Educational attainment, professional employment
  4. Entrepreneurship for small and home-based businesses
  5. Property ownership and investment growth
  6. Stable workforce, lower unemployment
  7. Mobile lifestyle enabled though public transport and cars
  8. A home for families and the next generations
  9. A place of cultural and language diversity
  10. The lifestyle shire

To view the full, visual report, please click here

If you’d like to learn more about our demographic analysis and trends research, please contact our office today or see our research pack for more details.

For more Sydney-based demographic analysis, see the latest coverage on Channel 7’s Changing Face of Sydney.

Highlights from #TuesdayTrend

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#TuesdayTrend

As Australia’s social researchers, we take the pulse of the nation. We research communities. We survey society. We analyse the trends. And we communicate the findings.

Every Tuesday we release a trend about Australia for #TuesdayTrend. Here are some of our recent #TuesdayTrends, highlighting fun facts about Australia. Be sure to follow, share and interact with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.



ABOUT RESEARCH VISUALISATION


In a world of big data- we’re for visual data. We believe in the democratisation of information- that research should be accessible to everyone not just to the stats junkies. We’re passionate about turning tables into visuals, data into videos and reports into presentations. As researchers, we understand the methods but we’re also designers and we know what will communicate, and how to best engage. We’re in the business of making you look good and your data make sense.


For more information, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you:

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The Who, What and Why of Generation Z and Generation Alpha

Friday, April 17, 2015

The students of our world, at schools and universities are the children of Generation X, the cohort that follows Generation Y, and born from 1995 to 2009 they are Generation Z. And following them we have our Gen Alpha's born since 2010. These emerging generations have and are growing up in a time like no other we have seen before. They are the world's first truly global generations, constantly logged up and linked in. They are empowered by having access to every piece of information within a few clicks of a button, and here we find ourselves with the challenge of teaching and educating, of shaping, moulding and developing these emerging generations. 

GENERATION Z

Those filling your schools today are labelled ‘Generation Z’ – born between 1995 and 2009, this generation currently make up 1 in 5 in our population. They make up just 1 in 10 in the workforce, but in a decades time they will make up over a quarter.

When they’re talking about a library they mean they’re playlist on iTunes. They speak and they write in a new language – if they can shorten it, they will. They are content creators, and their idea of an encyclopaedia is one that you can change and contribute to.

While they are constantly reading it’s rarely a book from cover to cover, and after all they are visual communicators, so why read it when you can watch it?

They speak another language like ‘totes’, ‘chron’ ‘chillax’ ‘epic’ ‘frothing’ fo shiz’ ‘cray cray’ ‘yolo’!

GEN ALPHA

And following our Gen Zeds we have Generation Alpha, the kindergarten and preschool children of today. Generation Alpha are likely to have just one sibling, and if they are a boy they’re likely to be called Oliver, William or Jack, and if a girl, Charlotte, Olivia or Ava.

Born since 2010, there are 2.5 million Gen Alphas born around the globe every single week. And the year that they were first born coincided with the launch of the iPad. In case you were wondering they have no idea what a broken record is, nor what you mean when you say they sound like one. They’ve probably never seen a camera that required film, and will probably never have to wait for their photos to be developed.

Glass was something we were told to not touch so it didn’t leave any grubby finger-marks, where as they are growing up with glass being something that they touch, swipe and interact with every single day. The only phones they’ve ever seen also take photos, record videos, access the internet, can download a million apps and have just one button, a fairway from the landline telephones that you could take off the hook. In fact now if you’re left without your mobile phone for a day, maybe you’ve left it at home or the battery’s died, the term is that you have been ‘land lined’.

Whilst Baby Boomers can remember the introduction of the colour TV in the 1970s, Gen Zeds and Gen Alphas can flick up a YouTube video from a smartphone onto the apple TV with ease. They are logged on and linked up, they’re digital natives, and they are the most materially endowed, technologically literate generation to ever grace the planet.

They are empowered by having access to every piece of information within a few clicks of a button and right there is where we find ourselves with the challenge of teaching and educating, of shaping, moulding and developing these emerging generations.

Find out more

The Intergenerational Report

Monday, March 30, 2015

Earlier this month the Australian Government's Intergenerational Report was released, ‘outlining and assessing the long-term sustainability of current Government policies and how changes to Australia’s population size and age profile may impact on economic growth, workforce and public finances over the next 40 years’. (Aust Gov).

Social researchers and demographers Mark McCrindle and Claire Madden have given thought, analysis and media commentary on the report’s content, as well as implications this has for Australia moving forward.

Mark McCrindle on the Intergenerational report

Claire Madden on the Intergenerational report


1. Is increased immigration the answer to work participation shortages?

Currently, three fifths of our population increase is through migration with only two fifths from natural increase, so it’s already pretty high by historic levels. Also, migration doesn’t necessarily reduce the average age, since it is 37 for both an Australian and similarly a migrant coming in. So while increased migration meets the immediate workforce need, it will also add to the ageing population. Certainly it has been critical to Australia’s growth and will remain important into the future however it is just one part of the solution. The Intergenerational Report addresses the three P’s – population, productivity and participation. Participation refers to how the workforce can allow people to work later in life, as well as how workforce options and flexibility can build the participation of more young people and women. So apart from population factors, participation and productivity hold the key to future economic prosperity.

2. What jobs will help and pop up over time?

With the decline of manufacturing and the whole industrial base in Australia, there has always been talk of Australia moving to this knowledge economy and service jobs. I think from an older Australian perspective, if we do want to work through our 60s and 70s it is going to have to be in more technology-type roles rather than manual roles. But that’s part of the problem of the third P – productivity – we must ensure that we add the jobs to accommodate this and jobs that older people, students and others want to take up.

3. What does this mean for our cities?

Australia’s capital cities make up a significant proportion of Australia’s population. Because we are adding more than a million people every three years, we need to accommodate and plan for that – the infrastructure has to be there. People are not moving further and further out they are moving into the infill, into vertical communities. Infrastructure investment is critical to maintain the quality of life that Australians have come to expect.

4. Are intergenerational households set to increase?

Due to the increase in the cost of housing, we are going to see intergenerational households increase. Young people who can’t afford the $900,000 median house price in Sydney will be staying at home longer, as well as older Australians that don’t want to move into supported aged care, who will move back in with their families. So we are going to see a lot of change in household structures – where we are living and how we are living.

5. Will 2055 present a better experience of living in Sydney than today?

If you look at Sydney now it’s as good as it’s ever been. In fact the lifestyle is such that people are moving into the inner suburbs and we are seeing the renewal of areas that just a decade ago were not desirable. So I think we can find solutions. As this report says we do have to work, not harder – people don’t want to work longer or harder – but smarter. We’ve got to find some innovation skills and technology skills to solve the 21st century problems.

6. What challenges do Gen Y face in the wake of Australia’s Ageing Population?

It is certainly a challenge with the ageing population, the impact on government budgets, meeting the growing service demands, workforce shortages, leadership succession, wealth transfer and generational change. Keep in mind that the ageing of our population is a good news story. We are living longer, active later and able to work and contribute far more than any previous generation. But expectations will have to be managed. We have found in our research that some in Gen Y have a lifestyle expectation that they will be able to start their economic life in the manner which they have seen their parents finish theirs but such growth and gains are not always possible and should not be expected.

7. How does Gen Y’s situation differ from that of Gen X and the Baby Boomer generation?

The Baby Boomers certainly benefited from the post war boom, an increase in house worth and have had four decades of an economic boom. They’ve had stable economy and rising incomes over that time. And while we are at a point where the earnings have increased over the last couple of decades, wages have not kept up with the pace of house prices. So four decades ago the average earnings were $7600 in a year, while today it is around $72,000 so quite an increase, almost tenfold. But over that same period of time houses have increased by thirtyfold.

8. Considering the difficulty for Gen Y to become first home buyers, will we see a big preference shift among young Australians with regards to buying their first home?

The desire to buy a home is deep in the Aussie psyche, it’s the Aussie dream to have a place of your own but not necessarily a detached house with a backyard and a shed and a hills hoist. The Baby Boomers could pick up an average house in Sydney for $28,000 a couple of decades ago – now the average Sydney house price is over $850,000 so that is a dramatic change. Apart from the affordability challenge of such a home, there are changing lifestyles as well with new generations seeking not just a suburban life but an urban one, closer to public transport and more walkable communities. We are witnessing in Australia right now massive generational transitions.

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