United Kingdom

Dissatisfied with Work-Life Balance and Life in General

In the UK, 67% of Millennials agree that they have a personal responsibility to help those worse off

Future Thinking, the business intelligence research consultancy, has revealed the findings of the 2015 IRIS Millennials global survey. The study leverages questions from the European Social Survey (ESS) and measured Millennials’ attitudes towards optimism and satisfaction, and also looked at psychographic profiles. It comprised 23,000 online interviews with Millennials (defined as those born between 1980 and 2000) from 23 countries around the globe. The interviews were conducted from 31st March through to 15th April 2015.


On the whole, few Millennials feel satisfied with their current lives. Fewer than one in five Millennials living in Europe, North America or parts of Asia-Pacific reported being extremely satisfied (9 or 10 on an 11-point scale) with their life as a whole nowadays. In the UK, just 14% of Millennials claim to be satisfied (compared to 18% in Germany, and 17% in France and Spain). In the USA, the figure rises to 20%, on a par with India and Malaysia, but it is only in Central and South America where figures are significantly greater. In Brazil, scores rise to 28%, whilst the highest ratings are in Columbia and Mexico — at 33% and 35%, respectively.


Millennials also report low rates of satisfaction when asked about work-life balance. Just 14% of UK Millennials are extremely satisfied, similar to figures in Germany, Spain, Greece and Turkey, as well as North America, Russia and Australia. Only in South America (21%), Brazil (20%), Columbia, Peru and India (21%) do rates rise above 20%, with the highest rate in Mexico (25%.)


Millennials, however, are more positive when it comes to being optimistic about their future, with 51% of UK Millennials agreeing that they are always optimistic (North European average is 46%). Interestingly, France scores only 43% and the Netherlands only 37% — one of the lowest ratings globally. Canada and Brazil, on the other hand, score highest at 60%; Japan scores the lowest at just 27%.


Forty percent of UK Millennials agree with the following statement: Most days I feel a sense of accomplishment from what I do in my life (same figure as Northern Europe). This figure does lag behind other continents (49% in North America, 47% in Central and South America), but is above Southern Europe and Asia Pacific.


Just over half (51%) of UK Millennials agree or strongly agree with the statement I feel I am free to decide for myself how to live my lifealthough this figure is below the northern European average of 53%, and significantly lower compared to North America (58%) and Russia (59%).


Levels of satisfaction may well reflect Millennials’ views on their satisfaction with the present state of the economy. Across the globe, when asked how satisfied they are with the present state of the economy, just 10% are extremely and very satisfied, although the UK ranks 3rd highest at 13%, alongside Austria, Malaysia and Peru. Switzerland rates the highest in terms of satisfaction with the present state of the economy, where 19% are extremely and very satisfied.


The 2015 IRIS Millennials study also looked at social values around the globe, and figures for the UK indicate that Millennials see themselves playing a significant role in the betterment of all mankind by playing a positive role in society. In the UK, 67% of Millennials agree that they have a personal responsibility to help those worse off, whilst 44% would prefer to do work that is in the public interest. Fifty-nine percent also need to feel that they have achieved a level of social success and that it is recognized by others.


In addition, 61% of UK Millennials agree with the statement It should primarily be government, not the private sector, that is concerned with solving the country’s problems — signalling that Millennials expect the government to take responsibility for current economic conditions and to play a key role in addressing these issues. Similar, but even stronger, sentiment can be observed among those Millennials living in the USA and Canada, as well as other European countries such as Greece and Spain, where economic conditions are more extreme.


In terms of power and the issue of authority, only 54% of UK Millennials agree with the statement I believe that young people should be taught to obey authority. In terms of religion, just 47% of Millennials in the UK consider themselves to be a member of a religious faith, which compares to Canada and is higher than the Netherlands (41%) and France (37%) in northern Europe. It contrasts with 77% in Malaysia, and 69% in Turkey and Brazil, where religion clearly takes a more important role.


When it comes to patriarchy and the father of the family being the master in his own house, in the UK, just 46% agree. Not surprisingly, figures are similar across Northern Europe, Australia 42% and Canada 41%. However, in Asian Pacific countries, figures are much higher — Russia 78%, Malaysia 75%, India 69%, whilst figures for Turkey 62% are similarly high.


The 2015 IRIS Millennials study also explored the global prevalence of social media, and the relationship between traditional social interactions and activity on social media. Across the globe, nearly 68% of our respondents indicated that they had indeed activated at least one social media account. Here in the UK that figure is 64%, and of those who had created an account, almost 80% are actively engaging with social media (at least once a day). However, just 61% of UK Millennials are still actively socializing in person (meeting with friends to socialize at least once a week) compared to a global average of 86%.

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