What Do Young People Care About?

With the largest youth population in world history, what do young people care about?

The 2017 Shapers Survey

The 2017 Shapers Survey was designed to highlight youth perceptions on the state of the world and action-oriented recommendations in five areas: Global Outlook, Governance, Values, Technology, and the Workplace.

Young people have inherited enormous global challenges, but also the opportunity to confront the status quo and offer youth-led solutions for change.

There were more than 26,000 responses to the survey, with an annual poll by the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community.

The results can be divided into four key messages.

1. Optimistic About The Future

The first message is that people are optimistic about the future, even if they feel some concern about current events. The most worrying of these events, according to the respondents, is climate change and the destruction of nature. This is followed by the threat of war and, in third place, religious conflict.

2. Sense of Shared Destiny

Perhaps it’s no surprise that young people have such worldwide concerns. When asked how they see themselves, most identified as “global citizens”. Their sense of shared destiny is message number two. It crops up in several findings; most pertinently of all, perhaps, in the youthful view of refugees.

Young people around the world demonstrate great empathy for refugees, with 74% stating that they would welcome the newcomers to their countries and over 20% saying they’d welcome them into their homes.

Young millennials in the United States lead the world in their empathy, with 89% saying that they would welcome refugees to their country.

So how do young people view their countries’ policies on refugees? Most of the young people polled suggested that governments should integrate refugees into the workforce, with support for this approach at its highest in North America.

3. Integrity, Honesty and Transparency

When asked about the top issue facing their country, millennials around the world selected the same answer, no matter their location: corruption.

Young people have a desire for integrity, honesty and transparency that leaders in both public and private sectors can’t afford to ignore. When it comes to the list of expectations young people have of their managers and colleagues, integrity also comes top.

4. Young People Do Embrace Technology

4. Message number four is that young people do embrace technology, with 86% of them believing that new technologies create jobs. But they are cautious: an overwhelming majority express concerns about online privacy, with more than 70% of respondents saying they have taken action to uninstall suspicious apps.

Top technology trends are seen as artificial intelligence, machine learning and the internet of things; and millennials expect their lives to be affected by one or more of these, mainly in changes to their careers and education. They also expect that the top two industries to be transformed will be healthcare and education.

Above All

Above all – and here we return to that first message of optimism – young people overwhelmingly believe that it is possible to create the future that they want. They may not trust world leaders and institutions, but over 70% of the millennials polled see the world as full of opportunities.

Click here to read the Shapers Survey in full

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