One-fifth of Swiss Millennials are extremely satisfied with the economy, compared to the global average of 11%

On the whole, few Millennials are highly satisfied with their lives in general, with fewer than one-fifth (18%) reporting they feel this way (10 or 11 on an 11-point Likert scale). Taking the European Social Survey Study as a basis of comparison, satisfaction among Millennials with their lives as a whole seems comparatively low. Data collected for that study in 2012 (round 6) and 2014 (round 7) show 24% and 28% of respondents reporting that they were extremely satisfied, respectively.


In Switzerland, nearly a quarter of Millennials (24%) report that they are extremely satisfied with their lives, ranking them fifth highest overall behind countries in Central and South America (Mexico – 36%, Colombia – 31%, Brazil – 28%), as well as Austria (26%). The comparison between regions supports this distribution. In Central Europe (24%), and Central and South America (21%), Millennials indicate higher levels of life satisfaction compared to other regions like Southern (13%) or Northern Europe (14%). It is also notable that, in the global comparison, Millennials aged 15 to 25 indicate higher life satisfaction (22%) than do Millennials aged 31 to 35 (17%). In the Swiss sample, this age difference is even more pronounced; only 17% of Millennials aged 31 to 35 indicate high life satisfaction, whereas Millennials aged 15 to 20 and 26 to 30 hold comparatively high satisfaction rates – 26% and 30%, respectively.


One-fifth (19%) of Swiss Millennials are extremely satisfied with the economy, compared to the global average of 11%, making Swiss Millennials the most satisfied with their economy in terms of top box scores, followed by India (16%) and China (15%). The fact that Swiss Millennials indicate the highest satisfaction with the economy is not surprising, considering Switzerland has had a comparatively high GDP in recent years. The relatively high satisfaction with the economy in India and China may come from the high growth rates of their economies in the past few years; even though they are not among the most successful economies, their GDP growth rates were among the highest last year.


Interestingly, Swiss Millennials report relatively low levels of satisfaction in terms of their work-life balance. Only 16% are extremely satisfied with the balance between the time they spend on paid work and the time they spend on other aspects of their lives, similar to the global average of 17%. Similar results can also be found in the United States, Germany, France, Russia and China. In Japan, only 9% are highly satisfied with their work-life balance, while the levels in Peru, Romania, Brazil and Colombia (each 20%), India (21%) and Mexico (25%) rise to 20% or more. These results are remarkable considering that Millennials are well-known for attaching a greater importance to a preferable work-life balance; the data support this general idea. Satisfaction with work-life balance is an important driver of life satisfaction for Millennials, and has one of the highest regression coefficients of all the variables with a Beta of .574. These figures also support the findings of different studies showing that a preferable work-life balance is of great importance to Millennials all over the world. This finding is even more pronounced when employment status is taken into account. Millennials who are self-employed (global average: 23%; Swiss average: 35%) feel more satisfied compared to those who work for someone else (global: 15%; Switzerland: 13%) or those who look after the home full-time (global: 16%; Switzerland: 15%).


Half of Swiss Millennials (50%) feel a sense of accomplishment from what they do in their life most days, while a comparatively high figure of 20% are unsure. The global average for Millennials in terms of feeling a sense of accomplishment is 41% (13% don’t know). Similar results can also be found in Peru, Mexico, United States (each 48%), Austria and Canada (each 49%). Furthermore, Millennials feel quite free to decide for themselves how to live their lives. The global figures indicate that only 18% don’t agree (disagree and disagree strongly) with the statement I feel I am free to decide for myself how to live my life. In Switzerland, 15% of respondents disagree and 54% agree, and the remaining 31% have no clear position (don’t know or neither). These results correspond to the rather positive global perception of freedom: 51% agreement and 18% disagreement.


Millennials further report high rates of optimism about their future, with more than half (55%) agreeing with the statement I’m always optimistic about my future; in Switzerland, 58% agree. In terms of their health, Millennials are also satisfied on average. One-third of all Millennials (32%) rate their health as very good (10 or 11 on an 11-point scale); Switzerland’s average (33%) falls in line with the global. Millennials also expect the government, and not the private sector, to be concerned with solving the country’s problems. The response from Swiss Millennials (62%) is similar to that from neighbouring countries Germany and Austria.


Overall, Millennials are somewhat more likely to prefer to work in the public interest (52%) over making a lot of money in business. Switzerland ranks globally among the highest in this category (56%), similar to Ireland and France. When asked to consider the statement I have a personal responsibility to help those worse off than me, Swiss Millennials are in line with the global average (67% agree). The regional differences regarding this statement are interesting; Millennials from Central and South America (73%) are more likely to strongly agree that it is their responsibility to help the poor, compared to Millennials from Asia Pacific (62%). Furthermore, more than half (58%) of Millennials need to feel they have achieved a level of social success that is recognized by others (Switzerland: 56%).


In regards to control, Swiss Millennials (60% disagreement) perceive themselves as having the highest degree of personal control over their own lives, as measured by the statement No matter what I do, I have a lot of trouble changing the course of events that affect me. The global average (51%) appears low considering that a sense of controlling one’s own life and future is said to be a decisive factor for the Millennial generation.


The global comparison further shows similar views on cultural assimilation. More than half of respondents (59%) think that their countries will be a better place if ethnic and racial groups maintain their cultural identities. Most country averages are in line with the global average (between 50% and 67%); only in Malaysia is agreement as high as 74%. Swiss Millennials show the lowest level of agreement (51%) regarding cultural diversity.

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