Say what you will about the Millennial generation, but we know technology. In fact, that seems to be one of the few things we can agree on, according to a study from Telefónica, which surveyed 18 to 30 year-olds in regards to their feelings about their economic, political, and technological outlooks, as well as their feelings about the future.
The new Global Millennial Survey from Telefónica spoke to over 12,000 members of that generation, in 27 countries, and has found many areas where almost all are optimistic.
For instance, over 80 percent of those surveyed feel that technology has made job hunting easier, as well as overcoming language barriers. A good 69 percent also feel that everyone has more opportunities thanks to technology, although nearly as many (62 percent) feel that it has also helped to increase the disparity between rich and poor.
Many Millennials are also optimistic about their future, with 68 percent feeling they have the opportunity to become entrepreneurs, and 62 percent feeling they can make a difference in their communities. Of course, that also means there are plenty who feel they have no such opportunity and their actions are meaningless, but they’re in the minority.
When it comes to technology, almost everyone is in agreement about its uses. On top of the aforementioned job-hunting benefits, a whopping 90 percent say that it has made them better informed about political issues. At the same time, 52 percent feel that their current political system does not properly represent them. As a young man who often sees my friends post political links on Facebook, I should also mention that while most feel it has made them better informed, if I were to go off the things I see posted, many of them are actually wrong, and are promoting more misinformation than truth.
Furthermore, economic opinions are not so high. It seems to be an even split between those who feel the economies are on the right track, but 63 percent feel that it is difficult to progress from school to the workplace. I can vouch for the truth in that, as finding a job is no easy task these days, especially for a perso right out of college. Adding on to that, there’s a pretty close split between whether a well-paying job is a right or a privilege, with 55 to 45 percent divide, respectively.
"This generation has the guts, intelligence and awareness to tell all of us some important truths,” says the European Commission’s vice-president, Neelie Kroes. “They get that technology affects everything from equality to climate change. I really take the views of these Millennials, the digital natives, seriously, and so should smart companies and governments. These young men and women are the future. If you want to succeed you need to know what they care about - such as reducing the gender gap, improving the quality of education and increasing access to technology - and work with them to make concrete positive changes."
The survey has also uncovered a new gender gap in the view on and usage of technology. More men than women consider themselves on the “cutting-edge” of technology, at 80 percent to 69 percent, although both groups in North America consider themselves to be more than in other nations. More men also seem to believe that technology is vital to personal success, and affects their outlook on life.
Privacy tends to be another issue that most can agree on: 91 percent feel concerned about security and privacy online, with even more feeling that there needs to be more security for their online identities.
Sadly, there are also some pessimistic outlooks, with 39 percent of them feeling they’ll never be able to retire, particularly in Europe. There is also great concern about climate change, as well as social inequity.
Of course, the survey cannot speak for everyone, but it does a fine job capturing the shared feelings across nations and the world. Some may consider the Millennials to be, as Time put it, “lazy, entitled narcissists,” but the truth is, most are optimistic and willing to work for their futures with the tools at their disposal. It may be a matter of outlooks, but one can’t count this generation out any time soon.
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