Millennials & Gen Z Think 2022 Is Going To Suck, A Study Finds
They aren't optimistic about the future.
In the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, pessimism is high and confidence in the powers that be is low, according to polling firm Leger.
Every year, Leger produces a Youth Study — and while the results of the study are aimed mainly at businesses and corporations, it can still tell us a lot about where millennials' and Gen Zs' heads are at right now. The study polled 3,515 Canadians and Americans, ages 15 to 39.
Younger generations are — surprise surprise — feeling pessimistic about the future. Despite 2021 being a bad year for the economy (meaning that it would be relatively easy for 2022 to be better), 66% of the young people polled did not believe that things will improve economically this year. 77% do not feel that the political climate will improve this year and 79% do not believe that things will improve ecologically. To borrow a phrase from the kids, big yike.
And this makes sense, given younger generations' views of society as a whole. Most millennials and zoomers feel unrepresented in society. 56% of those polled feel that they are at a generational disadvantage and 53% are concerned that they will fare worse financially than their parents did.
Politically, 50% said that existing political parties "do not represent [their] interests," and 43% don't feel "represented by the political and social institutions of their country." Basically, younger Canadians and Americans feel invisible.
"They are, in their eyes, sacrificed generations," the study reports.
In general, there's a tendency for younger generations to be wary of institutions that older generations trusted. Only 42% of millennials and 46% of zoomers have faith in their governments.
A slim 27% of millennials and 37% of zoomers have faith in religion. Other institutions under scrutiny include mainstream media, web giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google, and large private companies.
The Youth Study concludes with a call on businesses to change their policies and values to align with younger employees and consumers. "The emergence of the younger generations as baby boomers retire is completely changing the labour market," the report says. "The labour shortage enables young workers to develop a better balance of power with companies, which are obligated to adapt to the needs and realities of the new generations."
The study recommends, above all else, promoting flexibility and a work-life balance to nab potential employees. They also warn that "for these younger generations, consumption is political," calling on companies to have good environmental policies and efficient processes in order to keep a millennial and zoomer customer base.