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Survey finds Singaporean millennials ambitious yet pessimistic

A new survey reveals what makes Millennials and Gen Zs tick.




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Financial advisory firm Deloitte recently researched the global mindsets and outlook of millennials born between 1983 and 1994. Out of the total of 13,416 millennials surveyed throughout 42 different countries, 200 were Singaporeans.

The survey, which was conducted from Dec 2018 to Jan 2019, also surveyed 3,009 Gen Z respondents (born between 1995 to 2002) from 10 countries.

Called the 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey, it revealed several interesting points about today’s millennials, although the overall picture they have of their world is quite bleak. The survey results showed that most millenials are discouraged by the prevalence of economic inequality, lack of social mobility, and uncertainty of political and environmental issues. Millennials have also grown skeptical of traditional media and are distrustful of political and religious leaders.

The Deloitte survey surmised that the uncertainty brought about by the recession from ten years ago along with the massive changes from the fourth industrial revolution greatly contributed to the permeating anxiety of millennials around the world.

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Bleak outlook among Singaporean millennials

Fifty-nine percent of Singaporean millennials stated that their top ambition is to earn a high salary and be wealthy, higher than the global average of 52 percent. The survey also showed that Singaporeans are much more pessimistic than the global average, scoring a low 35 on Deloitte’s mood index which ranks optimism regarding political, personal, environmental and socioeconomic issues. The global average score is 39. Additionally, men were seen to be more optimistic than women.

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In Singapore, an alarmingly low 16 percent believe that the economy will improve within the next 12 months, while the global average is 26 percent. Even though millennials are distrustful of political and religious figures, 43 percent of Singaporean millennials — compared to the global average of 29 percent— believe that the government is still at the best position to solve the most urgent issues in the world.

Singaporean millennials also listed their top concerns: income inequality, (28 percent), unemployment (27 percent), and climate change (22 percent). When asked about their plans and ambitions, 58 percent of Singaporean millennials answered that they want to travel the world, 48 percent want to own a house, 36 percent aim to make a positive impact in society, and only 35 percent want to have children or start their own family.

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In comparison, the global average showed that 57 percent of millennials want to travel the world, 49 percent want to own a house, 46 percent aim to make a positive impact on society, and 39 percent want to have children or start a family.

Infographic from The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019.

However, only one in five (20 percent) of surveyed Singaporeans said they were satisfied with the current state of their lives. This is quite low compared to the global average of 29 percent.

Like their global counterparts, Singaporean millennials (80 percent of which) are distrustful of business, believing that business are only concerned about profit and to forward their own agenda without considering the impact on society. Singaporeans expressed support for businesses that align with their values and create a positive impact on society.

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On a brighter note, 81 percent of Singaporean millennials are confident that they have the right skills for the fourth industrial revolution, although 61 percent believe that automation poses threats to job security.

Forty-nine percent of surveyed millennials also expressed a strong interest to quit their current job within the next two years compared to the 38 percent figure in 2017. Eighty-four percent of milllennials now prefer working for the gig economy. The report cited dissatisfaction with pay, lack of advancement, and few development opportunities as the top reasons for near-term exits.

The report concluded that, “Millennials and Gen Zs make up more than half the world’s population and, together, account for most of the global workforce. They aren’t the future—they’re the present. They can make or break entire enterprises, and they aren’t afraid to let their wallets speak for them … Those who can make the future brighter for millennials and Gen Zs stand to have the brightest futures themselves.”/TISG

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