Satisfied with Life, but Pessimistic about the Future

A quarter claim to be extremely satisfied, which ranks just below the top countries in the world

Millennials living in Austria are more satisfied with their current living conditions than other European Millennials. A quarter claim to be extremely satisfied, which ranks just below the top countries in the world. In terms of perceived physical health, however, Austrians fall below most other western European countries, with only 29 percent claiming to be very healthy.


The economic situation in Austria may provide a partial explanation for this general satisfaction. Only one in eight Austrian Millennials report being satisfied with their country’s economy as a whole, but that is slightly higher than most European countries. Another possible explanation for the present general satisfaction is the perceived work-life balance. Nineteen percent report a well-balanced combination, which is similar to, or higher than, other western countries. This question also indicates a fairly large gender gap in Austria, as women more often reported a struggle to find such a balance. This, unfortunately, seems to be a result of a low unemployment rate — Spain and Greece both indicate higher unemployment and show opposite results.


In contrast to the reported difficulty of achieving a work-life balance, half of Millennials in Austria feel free to decide how to live their own lives. The extent to which this freedom is felt raises an interesting question, though: Why is an unsatisfactory work-life balance not changed if people claim they are in charge of their life?


In terms of self-efficacy, Austrian Millennials seem to be relatively fulfilled. About half agree or agree strongly with the statement Most days I feel a sense of accomplishment from what I do in my life. Moreover, while work-life balance was more often a struggle for women, they also more often feel a sense of accomplishment.


Given this positive appraisal of the current status, what does it mean for the future? Despite all the good conditions in Austria and a positive judgment of the present, Austrian Millennials seem to struggle with an inherited sense of pessimism. Asked about the future, only 45 percent agree or strongly agree with the statement I’m always optimistic about my future. This may look good when comparisons are made with countries that have higher unemployment rates, but overall it is a more pessimistic view into the future than most other countries.


The survey also shows a need for social recognition among Austrian Millennials. Almost two-thirds confirm the statement I need to feel that I have achieved a level of social success and that this is recognized by others. Despite this need, Austrians are less willing to take great risks in order to achieve their goals compared to those in other countries.


Finally, a sense of social responsibility is found in six out of ten Austrian Millennials, which is a little less than most other countries. Interestingly enough: four out of ten female Millennials in Austria believe patriarchal orders in the family and agree with the statement The father in the family must be the master in his own house.

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