A Snapshot of Career Practitioners in Australia

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Preparing young Australians for an ever-changing workforce is a growing challenge. Research released today by the Career Industry Council of Australia and McCrindle shows that over half of all career practitioners are working part time in their role. Of those, just 1 in 3 are able to devote the entirety of their time to career education and guidance.

Career practitioners increasingly under-resourced

What career professionals provide is key to getting young people into the workforce. When career practitioners are under resourced and time poor, this affects young Australians’ ability to enter the workforce.

Mark McCrindle, principal of McCrindle says, “Today’s school leavers are the most digitally supplied and globally connected generation in history but also have more post-school options to consider than any previous generation – they need help transitioning from education to participation. We know that school leavers today need life and career skills which can future-proof their employment in this changing, multi-career era and this is exactly what career practitioners provide.”


The top areas where career practitioners spend most or some of their time often involve things other than career counselling, such as subject selection:


Research shows 1 in 3 career practitioners are provided with less than $1000 annually to undertake career development activities across their entire school. 1 in 2 schools with a population of over 1000 students have less than $3 per student to spend on career education.


One in five unemployed Australians today is a teenager

These figures are especially of concern as 1 in 5 unemployed Australians today is a teenager.

290,000 young Australians aged 15 to 24 were categorised as unemployed in January 2015. The hardest hit were the 15 to 19 year olds, with the unemployment rate for this group hitting 20 per cent – a level not seen since the mid-1990s. Nearly 160,000 Australians aged 15 to 19 were unemployed in January, out of an overall pool of more than 780,000 unemployed.

“If we expect 15-19 year olds to be independent and resilient contributors to our society, it is important to provide them with quality career education programs whilst in school and give them access to high quality career advice, assisting them to make informed decisions about future study and work. This advice should come from qualified career advisers who meet the industry’s professional standards and have been registered by CICA,” says David Carney, CICA Executive Director.


Download the Infographic

Download the infographic which features the findings of a national survey conducted by CICA of 937 career practitioners working in schools across Australia.

For more information

For more information or media commentary, please contact Ashley McKenzie at McCrindle on 02 8824 3422 or ashley@mccrindle.com.au

Claire Madden on Physical Sport and Recreation

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Analysis of ABS data released last month shows that 2 in 5 (40%) Australians aged over 15 have not participated in any sport or physical recreation even once in the last 12 months – which increased from just over a third (35%) in the past year. With increased sedentary lifestyles among Australians today, social researcher and demographer Claire Madden sheds some light on what this means for the emerging generations and the challenge it presents to engage them in physical recreation not just virtual entertainment, and in face to face interaction not just screen-based communication.

Walking more popular than the gym

The most popular type of physical recreation Australians participate in is walking, indicated by 2.3 million females and 1.2 million males. This is followed closely by going to the gym or fitness, again more popular with females - almost 1.8 million females go to the gym with 1.4 million males doing the same. Males are more likely to go for a jog or run (740,500) than females (624,000).

The top 10 sports:


Whilst still popular, swimming and diving as a sport has dropped down the list in the most recent study, with an estimated 226,200 less people involved now than a year ago. Bushwalking has also lost participants, declining by 150,900 participants to a total of 285,600 being involved with the activity.

Aqua aerobics is rising up the list, growing from 75,300 participants to 90,800 in the past year along with triathlons which have become more popular, growing from 47,700 participants to 58,800 in the last year.

Younger generations most active:

Participation in sport and physical recreation was generally highest among younger generations. Almost three quarters of those aged 15-17 participated in sport (73.8%) which declines after finishing school to just over two-thirds of 18-24 year olds (67.2%). Just under half (46.6%) of Australians aged over 65 continue to participate in physical recreation and sport.

Sedentary lifestyles and the Screenage:

The sport participation rate has been declining across the board, and these younger generations are no exception, declining from a participation rate of 78 to 73.8 for Gen Zeds aged 15-17 in the last year.

In addition, Generation Z (born 1995-2009) have been born into the Screenage – where since 1997 we have spent more time on digital devices than in human face to face interaction.

Social researcher and demographer Claire Madden highlights that ‘the concern is the declining trend line of participation in physical recreation of Australians across age groups whilst at the same time an increasing trend of Australians likely to be obese or overweight, with current trend lines predicting that when Gen Z, born 1995-2009, reach adulthood in 2027, 78% of males and 62% of females in this generation are likely to be obese or overweight.’

Sedentary lifestyles are on the rise in this Screenage era, and based on a projection of the current trends, by the year 2027, when Gen Z have all reached adulthood, 77.9% of males and 61.8% of females are likely to be obese or overweight. ‘The concern is the declining trend line of participation in physical recreation of Australians across age groups whilst at the same time an increasing trend of Australians likely to be obese or overweight, with current trend lines predicting that when Gen Z, born 1995-2009, reach adulthood in 2027, 78% of males and 62% of females in this generation are likely to be obese or overweight’ Claire Madden said.

’ The challenge in our technological era is to engage these new generations in physical recreation not just virtual entertainment, in offline communities not just online networks, and face to face interaction not just screen-based communication.’ – Claire Madden

For more information:

For media commentary please contact Ashley McKenzie (ashley@mccrindle.com.au) on 02 8824 3422.

Discontent Brewing Among Australia's Social Media Users

Monday, March 16, 2015

Social media is a part of Australian life with 84% of Aussies now logging on to social networks. But concerns about personal privacy, cluttered newsfeeds and “meaningless posts” have brewed a hangover of over-connectedness with frustration towards social media platforms now rife. The findings were revealed in a national study on Australia’s attitudes to social media by research company McCrindle in partnership with Australian social media start-up Incogo.


Frustration and discontent with social media platforms

  • 90% of Australians express some level of frustration with having their personal information sold to advertisers and being flooded with too many advertisements on their news feed
  • 90% express some level of frustration over the confusion about their personal privacy and uncertainty about how to control their privacy
  • 78% express some level of frustration about the superficial way social media is used
  • And with more likes, posts, links and shares than ever before, 72% express some level of frustration with the proliferation of content clutter on their newsfeed/timeline

Aussies social media consumers rather than contributors

As a result of the above findings, Australians are increasingly unwilling to post much about themselves online, with 88% saying they post little or nothing of their real life on social media, but instead passively consume content others are creating.

Privacy concerns and lack of meaningful content plague most Australians


  • 97% of Australians expressed some level of importance on being able to protect their personal information from advertisers
  • 96% expressed some level of importance on the need for simpler privacy settings
  • 91% expressed some level of importance to content on their newsfeeds/timelines being more personally relevant to their lives
  • With social media creating an epidemic of over-connectedness, 83% of Aussies expressed some level of importance on the ability to have deeper connections with others online

Mark McCrindle, Principal of McCrindle says “Our research shows that although Australians are using social media in record numbers, there is a huge bubble of discontent brewing in this country. Australians are overwhelmingly frustrated with fears about their personal digital privacy and how social networks use their information as well as the lack of meaningful content on their newsfeeds/timelines. These frustrations are making people less comfortable to post to their social networks and causing the rise of a passive social media culture in Australia.”


Dan Millin, founder of new Melbourne-based social media start up Incogo says he commissioned McCrindle to conduct the research as part of his company’s strategy to better understand trends in social media. The findings supported the principles behind Incogo. “A few years ago, I started to question the value that existing social networks were bringing to my real life. I wanted somewhere more personal and private for my life where I could come together with others around the things I was doing or pursuing – just like I do in my real life.

For more information:

Daniel Millin – Founder of Incogo

daniel.millin@incogo.com


Mark McCrindle – Social Researcher at McCrindle

ashley@mccrindle.com.au (contact: Ashley McKenzie)

02 8824 3422

McCrindle Internships

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

At McCrindle we regularly provide opportunities for interns to participate in our team.

The McCrindle volunteer internship program is highly flexible and shaped to suit the needs and availability of the intern. We aim to create a positive work environment for interns as they gain invaluable experience in the field of social research.

The length and involvement of an internship is flexible- however the recommended involvement is for 1-2 days per week for a semester, depending on the interest and availability of the intern. The intern can decide to finish the internship at any point.

McCrindle internships are available at the Sydney office (in Norwest Business Park) and at the Melbourne office (in Wantirna). People who are interested in an internship at McCrindle are welcome to submit their CV and cover letter to the Research Director, and if an internship opportunity exists, may be invited to an interview.

What is involved:

Intern research assistants will be involved in a diverse range of tasks which may include:

  • Data analysis and forecasting
  • Development of survey questions
  • Analysis of quantitative data
  • Report writing
  • Assistance with qualitative research analysis
  • Note taking during focus groups
  • Assistance with research rooms hosting for focus groups.

“The McCrindle internship gave me experience in so many areas of research including survey writing, data analysis, report writing and qualitative research methods. The internship gave me the opportunity to really get involved in the research and assist with real projects. It greatly enhanced my skills in working in a collaborative team environment. An invaluable experience- I would recommend it to anyone!

-Kirsten

Intern experience

The McCrindle intern program exists to equip students with valuable experience in the social research field. A key goal is to expose interns to a diverse range of experiences and tasks to provide them with a comprehensive understanding of how social research is outworked in a business context. Skills that interns will be given opportunities to develop include the ability to:

  • Analyse data sets and conduct demographic analysis and forecasting
  • Develop effective survey questions
  • Analyse quantitative data and interpret the findings
  • Write business reports
  • Use Qualtrics software
  • Assist with qualitative research
  • Analyse qualitative data and communicate it
  • Understand the research process from initial briefings and proposals through to final report delivery, presentations and infographic output.

"My internship at McCrindle was an amazing experience, I learned so much about the research industry from some of the best. They offered excellent guidance and gave me a taste of a variety of projects throughout my time there. I learned so much about market and social research which was a perfect accompaniment to my university studies, and was a huge factor behind me being able to find full time employment so quickly after the completion of my degree.

It was definitely not a coffee-retrieving internship! I was given ownership over tasks and got to feel real responsibility while still being supported every step of the way by the amazing team. They were all so welcoming and helpful, I felt like one of the team from the very first day.

I would definitely recommend an internship at McCrindle, it was, without a doubt, the best kick start to my market research career I could have hoped for!

-Jade

McCrindle will provide a written reference for each intern at the completion of their internship.

Apply

To express your interest in a McCrindle internship, please send a copy of your CV and a cover letter to the Research Director:

Claire Madden

claire@mccrindle.com.au

02 8824 3422

A39, 24 Lexington Dr Bella Vista NSW 2153.

Mark McCrindle Talks: Business, consumer behaviour and how to remain relevant

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Mark McCrindle is a social researcher with an international following. He is recognised as a leader in tracking emerging issues and researching social trends. As an award winning social researcher and an engaging public speaker, Mark has appeared across many television networks and other media. He is a best-selling author, an influential thought leader, TEDx speaker and Principal of McCrindle Research. His advisory, communications and research company, McCrindle, count among its clients more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and leading international brands.

What trends are transforming the business landscape at the moment?

The first would have to be demographic trends, for as our population changes so too does our customer and client base as well as our employment pool. Not only is Australia’s population growing, but with that comes increased densification, new household structures and increased cultural diversity. So from a business perspective we need to make sure that we are resonating with that diversity in our own teams and obviously connecting with a very changing Australia. We are also in the midst of generational change as the Baby Boomers and Gen X’s maintain their leadership, Generation Y are the emerging leaders while Generation Z begin their employment. Thirdly we’ve also got technological change which is phenomenal and which permeates every area of life. Occasionally you get one or two big changes coming together, but now we have four or five colliding and transforming our society in a significant way.

How have you seen these changes impacting consumer behaviour?

Well if we look just over the last 5 years, we’ve seen not only an economic downturn which we remember as the GFC, but which continues on and with that a changing consumer attitude which has become the new norm. Australians are now using new technologies to buy smart, shop around and be more empowered. They’re using technology and the power of social networks to find out ‘what do you think of this brand’, ‘what about that product’, or ‘has anyone got an idea on this?’ We’re even changing where we are buying through the emergence of online buying platforms and use of smart devices on which we can shop or at least investigate what we are going to buy wherever we are. So where we buy, what we buy, how we buy, the brands, discount shopping, the buying on price, the informed consumer – it’s all come about through technology.

How can a business thrive during these times of unprecedented change?

It’s firstly important to observe the changes that we see. Most businesses are primarily focused on their particular industry or sector, which is great and is obviously important – people have to have that domain knowledge and expertise. But we also have to be experts in looking outside the walls of our operation and area to the external environment in which we operate, to observe the trends that are taking place out there, because if something is happening out there then it’s going to impact us in here. If something is happening overseas in the globally connected world then it’s going to hit Australia as well. When we observe the trends, and then understand the trends and thirdly hopefully respond to the trends, that’s when we can thrive.

What are the new keys to communicating with clients, staff or stakeholders in general?

Digital technologies have certainly changed the way we communicate, and I think embracing this is key to effective cut through. If we look at how Generation Z who are now starting work have been shaped, it has been in this great screenage that is transforming our society. As a generation they have only ever known this world of screens, and interestingly their preferred search engine is YouTube not just Google, simply because they don’t want to read an article about something when they can watch a video on it. So that changes the whole communication pattern, and not just for Generation Z but for all generations alike. If we think about a visual, screen based, mobile, video-based generation emerging, then we’ve got to adapt to that, and a lot of people have. So communicating in a way that makes sense visually is key – using the power of symbols, pictures and the power of communicating relationally not just rationally. Using images not just words, information or data. The power of a brand these days is to connect not just with the head but with the heart – a visceral connection beyond just ‘here’s why our product is better’.

How are the emerging generation of leaders going to take into account the needs of others beyond themselves, when they have grown up in such a ‘me’ generation?

For the emerging generations there has certainly been more of a self-focus than previously. The introduction of the selfie stick and even of just the world ‘selfie’ in the Oxford English Dictionary does point to an era of narcissism, as some have called it. But if we think about it, while at first it seems a bit self-obsessed to put photos up on Instagram of the lunch we are about to eat or yet another selfie, actually there is more to it than that. People are taking photos of themselves to share that experience with others, in other words it’s just keeping in touch, it’s trying to connect and communicate. A lot of “selfies” are more “groupies”, there’s a few people in the photo. So it turns out that what’s going on is a lot of social behaviour and a lot of connectivity, highlighting that we aren’t as isolated or self-focused and some of those terms might suggest.

Additionally we have a generation of young people emerging now who are global in their identity and their outlook, who are actually more open and interested in what’s happening in the world. When they get their news feed it’s not just what’s happening in their local area, their state or their nation, but globally what’s happening. So we could actually argue they are more aware in a global sense. They are more aware of the bigger things, they are certainly more connected with others and I think with that connection, they can have an influence. Some have called it slacktivism, where they just click and like this, but it turns out that they are getting involved and are active on different campaigns, having a voice, having a vote, having an influence. This social connectivity, this broader global outlook and this cultural diversity that defines them today is bringing a renewed spirit to democracy and engagement. They are not perhaps as self-focused as we think. Even when it comes to spending money they’re not so much saving up to buy the home or the tangible asset, they’re spending money more on the experience, on travel, on connecting and while saving and planning is important for their future at least it shows an attitude of connecting with others and of experiencing the lives of others rather than it all just be about me and getting my asset base together.

For More Information:

Mark’s understanding of the key social trends as well as his engaging communication style places him in high demand in the press, on radio and on television shows, such as Sunrise, Today, ABC News 24, A Current Affair, and Today Tonight. He is also regularly commissioned to deliver keynote addresses at conferences, as well as workshops for strategic board meetings among other events.

His professional speakers pack below provides more information, or you can get in touch with ashley@mccrindle.com.au for specific enquiries.

40 Years of Change: 1975 to Today

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Since 1975 Australia has seen four decades of massive change – demographically, socially, economically, politically, globally, culturally and technologically.

In such an area it is important to not just observe the changes but to understand the trends and respond, so that we can thrive in these massive times of change.

In this video below Social Researcher and Demographer Mark McCrindle outlines these changes.


Australian population bigger and older

In 1975 the Builders generation was firmly in control, the Baby Boomers were emerging and Generation X were still kids. More than half of Australia’s population wasn’t born in 1975 and since then we’ve seen massive generational change. We’ve also seen massive population change. Back then Australia’s population was 13.7 million and today it’s almost 24 million people, an increase of more than 10 million in four decades.

In the 1970s, the average age of an Australian was in the late 20’s, while today it’s in the late 30’s, such has been the ageing of our population in that time.

Our life stages have also changed in the past 40 years. People were getting married in their early twenties back in the seventies, while now the median age of marriage is approaching the thirties, indicating great social change as well.

Earning more, costing more

Australians are also earning a lot more now than we were back then; the average full time earnings in 1975 was $7,600 per year, today the annual average earnings exceed $72,000 per annum.

And while we are earning more, costs are a lot more today than they were back then. The cost of a loaf of bread today is more than 10 times the price it was in 1975, while a litre of milk today is 3 times the cost it was 4 decades ago.

Four decades ago Sydney had the highest house cost, averaging $28,000 while today it exceeds $850,000. So while earnings have gone up, by almost tenfold, house prices have gone up by more than thirtyfold in that same period of time.

The year of the Dismissal and an end to the Vietnam War


1975 was a year of massive political change as well. The year began with Gough Whitlam as Australia’s Prime Minister, but it was the year of the Dismissal and so it ended with Malcom Fraser as Prime Minister.


Gerald Ford was the president of the United States and it was the year that the Vietnam War ended, a time of massive global change.

Jaws vs The Lego Movie

From a popular culture perspective it was quite a different era. We had harsher tastes back then perhaps because Jaws was the movie of the year compared to The Lego Movie of today. ACDC had the album of the year back then compared to Taylor Swift currently.

1970: The Beatles break up.


1972: M*A*S*H Show premieres.


1972: Terrorist attack at the Olympic Games in Munich.


1973: U.S pulls out of Vietnam.


1975: Pol Pot becomes the Communist Dictator of Cambodia and the Cambodian Genocide begins.


1975: Gough Whitlam is dismissed and Malcom Fraser elected.


1975: NBC's Saturday Night (later known as Saturday Night Live) debuts.


1976: Jimmy Carter is elected President of the United States.


1979: Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman Prime Minister of Great Britain.


1979: Mother Theresa awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


1979: The World Health Organisation certifies the eradication of smallpox.


Popular Movies:


Technological advancements that changed the world


1970: Computer Floppy Disks are introduced.


1971: VCRs introduced.


1975: Microsoft is founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who develop a BSIC program for the Microcomputer Altair 8800, and is released the same year.


1975: The world’s first digital camera is created by Steven Sasson and Kodak Company.


1975: The laser printer is invented.


1977: The first personal computers (PC) are introduced.


1979: Sony introduces the Walkman.


1979: Cell phones are invented.


The speed and impact of these changes remind us to not just observe the changes but to understand the changes and respond so that we can thrive in these times of massive change.

To find out more about how we can help your organisation remain relevant:

Fast Facts on Marriages in Australia

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Research Director Claire Madden shares insights and quick facts about marriage in Australia, based on our 2015 Marriage and Weddings Report.

  • Whilst the marriage rate has been slowly declining over the decades, as our population grows, there are still more weddings now than there were a decade ago. We hit the peak number of weddings in 2012 with over 123,000 weddings that year.
  • The average female is getting married at 28.3 today and males at 29.9, this has been pushed back by about 5 years over the last 3 decades.

  • The total number of divorces has been declining - there are fewer now than any time in the last 20 years, as both the divorce rate and divorce numbers have been declining. 10 years ago the divorce rate was 2.7 per 1,000 people, one year ago it was 2.2. and it is now 2.1 per 1,000 people.
  • Whilst 1 in 3 marriages end in divorce, they are lasting longer than 2 decades ago. In 1993, the average length of marriages that ended in divorce was 10.7 years, today they are lasting 12.1 years on average.

  • There are on average 326 weddings across Australia per day. This swings between over 2,000 weddings on a popular Saturday to just 37 weddings on Christmas Day!
  • 77% of Australian couples cohabitate before getting married.

  • Most popular times to get married during the year are Spring and Autumn, in the months of November and March.
  • The least popular months are June and July each of which only hosts 5% of yearly marriages.
  • Popular wedding dates are on the increase, with 923 marriages held on Australia Day.

Australia in 2015 [In the media]

Monday, February 16, 2015

What does the Australia of today really look like? With the typical length of employment being 3.3 years and Australians today working on average 17 jobs in their lifetime, we are seeing a shift from job stability to job flexibility. The rise of the couple only household means the nuclear family is on the decline. Because kids are staying at home longer, they've been named the KIPPERS (Kids in Parents Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings). And in the midst of the current baby boom, Australian's are having children later in life.

Research director Claire Madden gives insight into these trends and the changing Australian landscape, and the importance of understanding the shifts and trends occurring in our society today.

Nuclear family no longer most common household

For the first time in Australia's history, the nuclear family will no longer be the most common household – while today they make up 33% of all households, within just a year the couple only household will be the most common type of household.

Multigenerational households

With the decline of the nuclear household structure, we are often seeing three generations living under one roof: Baby boomers are being sandwiched by taking care of their own parents (the builders), while still having their Gen Y children living with them and studying.

Boomerang Kids

This type of arrangement is a significant financial advantage for Gen Y KIPPERS (Kids In Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings) who may be saving $15,000 per year on rent alone by living with their parents. For mum and dad, however, retirement plans are delayed and retirement savings significantly decrease. Baby Boomer parents, while enjoying the social interactions available in a multigenerational household, can often feel the pressure and may feel like their hard work is being taken for granted.

Household size grows after a century of shrinkage

Household size has been declining for the last 100 years. In 1911, the average household size for Australia was 4.5. By 2006, it had fallen to 2.53. But in 2011, something remarkable happened. Household size increased. Only by a small amount, but enough to raise it to the current 2.6 people per household. The multi-gen household and boomerang kids have turned around a 100-year trend and created expanding household size.

Employment and Job Mobility

Australia is approaching 24 million people, and our labour force is close to half our total population at 11.7 million people. Of these, 70% are employed on a full time basis and 30% are part time workers. Currently our unemployment rate is at about 6.2%.

Australia’s job mobility is a long way from job for life- in fact it’s closer to three jobs per decade! Today the national average tenure in a job is 3.3 years (3 years and 4 months), based on voluntary turnover of around 15% per annum.

If this plays out consistently in the life of a school leaver today, and assuming they start their working life aged 18 (in a part-time role) and are retired from all work by 75, they will have 17 different employers in their lifetime. Based on 3 jobs before upskilling or career changing, this means that they will also have 5 separate careers in their lifetime.

Record births, older parents, increase in family size

We are currently experiencing a baby boom in Australia, with birth numbers setting new records and exceeding 300,000 per year, more than were born in the original baby boom post WWII. It is not that more women are deciding to have children, but those that are having children are deciding to have more than previously, and as a result Australia is seeing an increase in the family size.

Gen Y will produce more children than any previous generation in Australia’s history. While the number of children per Gen Y family is significantly less than that of their grandparents (in 1961 the total fertility rate hit 3.5 births per woman), Generation Y parents are having more children per couple than Generation X did. When Generation X were in their peak fertility years (turning 31 in 2001), this coincided with the very year Australia hit its lowest birth rate ever recorded in Australia (1.7). Now as Generation Y are reaching their peak fertility years we have a birth rate significantly higher, hovering around 1.9.

Natural increase and Migration

Australia's annual growth rate is 1.6% which equates to 364,800 people over the last year. In 2008 net overseas migration was 459,904 (therefore population growth numbers in the last year were 95, 104 less than they were 7 years ago).

Annual growth is comprised of two factors: natural increase (births minus deaths) and net overseas migration (permanent arrivals minus permanent departures). A permanent arrival is defined by someone living in Australia for 12 months or more (or 12 months over a 16 month period). The same time frames apply to permanent departures.

58% of Australia’s population increase is through migration which was 212,500 people last year. In 2008 net overseas migration was 315,700 which equates to 103,200 fewer last year than 7 years ago. 42% of Australia’s population growth was through natural increase which was 152,300 people.



The above data has also been visualised in the infographic, Australia's Population Map and Generational Profile:

Top 10 Tips For Running Focus Groups

Monday, February 16, 2015

1. Make sure the questions flow

When writing the questions for the group moderator’s guide, order the questions in a logical manner so that they take participants on a logical and sequential journey through the different topics you are exploring. Keep the most important questions at the start of each section so that if you run out of time you don’t miss them.

2. Recruitment matters

To ensure the group runs smoothly it is important that you recruit the right people for the group. Of course this means recruiting people who meet the client’s brief, but additionally it means recruiting people who (unless specifically needed) come from different backgrounds, aren’t related, married or close friends. This ensures that there are no unwanted cliques and that a variety of experiences and views are represented.

3. Come prepared and organised

Make sure the experience gets off to a good start by being organised and bringing everything you need and everything you think you might need (a small suitcase with wheels is a great way to transport these items.) A focus group checklist helps to make sure that things like sign in sheets, pens, blue tac, post-it notes and whiteboard markers are not forgotten.

4. Know your content, but be flexible

There is nothing worse than a moderator staring down at their guide the entire group rather than engaging with the participants. Know what you’re asking and what is most important. To check that new issues are covered, pop out during an activity and ask the client (if they are viewing) or a colleague if there is anything that should be addressed in the final minutes.

5. Location, location, location

Choose a space for your group that is professional but not too clinical. It is important that participants feel comfortable otherwise they may not feel confident to share their opinions. Set up the space with all your materials laid out, easy to access food and drinks for participants, and keep the room at a nice cool temperature.

6. Start the way you want to finish

It is important to remember that you (as the moderator) set the tone for the group and create the ‘vibe’ you want. Try and make some light hearted comments at the start of the group, offer participants food and drink and go around the group and ask each person to introduce themselves to make participants feel comfortable.

7. Mixed modal groups- Use different formats and activities during the group

The standard focus group length of 1.5 hours can feel like a long time when it is limited to group discussion. Try using post it notes to get participant’s quick thoughts on topics, use a whiteboard for brainstorming and electronic voting technology to break up the discussion.

8. Hear everyone’s opinion

Group dynamics can be the make or break for any focus group. It’s important that everyone’s views are heard and welcomed. Try giving everyone a name tag at the beginning of the group, this will help you be able to call on them to get their opinion if they aren’t speaking up.

9. Let the group flow naturally but stay in control

During the group let the conversation flow naturally but take the lead and gently bring the group back if they get too far off topic. Often the best insights are not through stilted question and answer structure but during free flowing group discussions.

10. Keep calm and just listen

Participants are going to feel more comfortable if the moderator seems relaxed and in control. They can tell and appreciate when you are listening to them and giving them your full attention. Use your body language, hand gestures and encouraging words to show that you value and are interested in their opinions.

If we can assist with helping your organisation run any focus groups, please do get in touch on 02 8824 3422.

For more on our focus group facilities, pleased head to researchrooms.com.

More about our expertise can also be found in our Market and Social Research Solutions Pack.

Marriages and Weddings in Australia [Infographic]

Friday, February 13, 2015

Analysis of the latest ABS marriages data (ABS cat 3310.0) shows that there are more weddings today than a decade ago. And with the ‘in-between’ seasons (Autumn and Spring) deemed the most popular times of year to tie the knot, wedding venues in Australia should brace for a few busy days over the coming months.

Marriages on the decline?

While the number of marriages taking place each year in Australia has been rising for more than a decade, recent figures show that marriages are on the decrease, with an average of 118,962 marriages taking place per year, a figure that is down 4,282 since 2011.

This means that we see an average of 326 marriages occurring per day across Australia, with the most happening in New South Wales, followed closely by Queensland.

Bride and Groom getting older

First time Brides & Grooms are getting older: The average age of first time brides is now over 28 and around 30 for first time grooms. There are now less than half as many grooms aged 20-24 as there were in 1993. And while brides we most commonly aged 20-24 in 1990 today they rank third after those aged 25-29 and 30-34. In 2013 there were 77 Australians that married for the first time who were aged over 75!

Cohabitation still dominant, but decreasing

Up until recently, the number of Australians living together prior to marriage had risen every year since records on this began more than a decade ago. In 2010 this figure peaked at 79%, but has since decreased slightly to 77%. While on the decline, this still means that currently, almost 4 in 5 Australian couples live together before marrying.

Culturally Diverse Marriages

55% of couples married are both born in Australia, while the remainder (45%) have one or both partners born overseas.

Autumn and spring the time to wed

November (spring) and March (autumn) are the most popular months to get married, each hosting 12% of Australia’s yearly marriages. October is also quite popular, hosting 11% followed by April (10%).

The least likely month to wed in Australia is the dead of winter – June and July – each hosting 5% of Australia’s yearly marriages.

Saturday Weddings most popular

Saturdays are by far the most popular day to get married, on which 56% of all weddings take place. Sunday is also a popular day, with 15% of weddings taking place on a Sunday, a figure that is up from 13% in 2011.

Time and money challenges may be the factors influencing couples to get creative with their marriage date. Some interesting choices in 2013 included, 59 marriages on New Year’s Day.

Social Researcher Mark McCrindle said Australia is seeing a migration away from wedding in the hot Summer months ‘due to greater competition for venues, higher venue prices and the increased flexibility with taking leave from work outside these months, which influence couples as they choose a date. Like the travel industry, shoulder seasons are beginning to replace the summer months as a more desirable option when it comes to tying the knot’.

Close to 3 in 4 (73%) weddings are conducted by a civil celebrant, while the remaining 27% are religious.

"The trend to civil weddings is also driving the season. With church attendances declining, the one-time Australians were likely to pass through the church doors was for a wedding, but now just 27% of all weddings are conducted by ministers of religion. This has led to a trend of more varied locations for ceremonies, many of these with an outdoor aesthetic where the climate matters more than for the church wedding,” said Social Researcher Mark McCrindle.

First marriage, remarriage and divorce

72% of all marriages are first marriages, with the remaining 28% remarriages.

Divorces have slowed to 48,000 per year, with the median age of females getting divorced 42.9 and 47.0 for males.




For media enquiries please contact the office on 02 8824 3422 or ashley@mccrindle.com.au

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