The vast majority of today’s 18-30 year-olds—members of the “Millennial generation”—are true believers in all that technology has to offer. More than 80 percent believe technology has made it easier to overcome language barriers and get a job and 36 percent believe an education in technology is most important for ensuring future personal success, according to a new Telefónica/Financial Times survey of more than 12,000 Millennials in 27 countries.
But the survey also shows that Millennials’ interests extend far beyond technology, to concern about the economy, the environment, social inequality, education and personal freedoms. Globally, 53 percent of Millennials believe climate change is a “very pressing” issue, and they also have strong expectations for personal freedoms and privacy, believing that people have a right to choose who they marry, how to vote, to be able to express themselves, to privacy and to healthcare.
Highly concerned about privacy, 91 percent are concerned about the security and privacy of their data and information online and 95 percent believe greater security measures should be implemented to protect their online identity.
They say the three most important ways to make a difference in the world are by providing more access to education and improving the quality of education (42 percent), protecting the environment (41 percent) and eliminating poverty (39 percent).
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are generally optimistic about their potential for achieving personal success. More than two-thirds of the respondents (68 percent) believe they have the opportunity to become an entrepreneur in their own country or develop and bring an idea to the market. And 62 percent are confident in their ability to make a difference in their local communities.
But while more than two-thirds (69 percent) believe that “technology creates more opportunities for all,” 62 percent say it has also widened the gap between the rich and poor.
According to César Alierta, chairman and chief executive officer of Telefónica, “The research reveals new insights into what societal issues are impacting this generation, which will help us assess not only how we engage with our customers, but also to identify impactful solutions that will strengthen our global society, including promoting a spirit of entrepreneurialism, empowering digital literacy, and continuing our commitment to education and sustainable operations.”
Only half of those surveyed believe global (48 percent) and regional (50 percent) economies are headed in the right direction. They also are cautious about their immediate job prospects: most (63 percent) say it is difficult for people of their generation to make the progression from school to the workplace—a belief held most strongly among Western European Millennials (74 percent).
The survey results also show marked differences between regions. Asian Millennials expressed the most optimism about the economy: 65 percent believe that both their regional economy and the global economy are on the right track. In particular, Chinese Millennials are the most optimistic about their country, with 93 percent saying that their country’s best days are ahead, compared to 67 percent of Millennials reflecting similar confidence in their own markets worldwide.
Latin American Millennials are also positive about their region’s future: 78 percent believe their country’s best days are ahead, compared to 67 percent worldwide. They also believe in their ability to create global change, with 62 percent saying they can make a global difference—more than any other region and surpassing the worldwide average of 40 percent.