Sydney is home to more than one in five Australians and having just officially broken through the five million population milestone we thought we should consider statistically what the average Sydneysider looks like.
In a city with 103 females for every 100 males, the average Sydneysider is a woman aged 36- slightly younger than the national average age of 37.
She is married (half of all adults in Sydney are) and has two children. While she was born in Australia (like three in five Sydneysiders), households with both parents born in Australia are actually in the minority in Sydney with the country of birth for overseas born local residents most likely to be China (or one of its territories).
The average resident works full time, most likely around 40 hours per week (longer than the state and national average) and lives in a household with an income around one-fifth higher than the NSW average.
She most likely works as a professional (like one in four workers in Sydney) in the education sector and she gets to work by car, in one of the two household vehicles. Our average local lives in a three-bedroom house which is owned but with a mortgage and on which she spends around 14 hours per week doing domestic duties in addition to her parenting role.
While her two children are currently at a local government primary school, her oldest will soon attend a non-government secondary school and both of them will most likely achieve a tertiary qualification- probably a university degree.
So the average resident of Australia’s largest city is a Gen Xer, and a parent, with a mortgage, a career and a very busy life.
Australia is home to 24,341,000 people living in more than 9 million households comprised of more than 300 different ancestries. And while Australians are anything but average, what would a statistically “average” Aussie look like?
Statistically, they are more likely to be female (50.5% of the population) than male (49.5%).
The average Australian is an older Gen Y or younger Gen Xer (born between 1979 and 1981), aged 37 (36 for a male and 38 for a female).
Australians at birth can expect a life expectancy to exceed 80 years, with women on average outliving men by 4 years.
However, our average 36 year old male can expect to live another 45.5 years to 81.5 while the average 38 year old female should get another 47.3 years of life expectancy, taking her to 85.3.
The average Australian adult is employed most likely full time (68% of all employees), gets to work by car (69% of all commuters) and is probably earning $60,330 per year (average of all employees, before tax). After tax, and as a household, their total disposable annual income is $88,551.
They will take 4 days of sick/carers leave (5 for women) and 16 days annual leave in a year and work on average 32 hours per week (women) or 41 hours per week (men).
They live in a capital city (3 in 5 of us) in a household of around 3 people, have around 2 cars for their household, and average 14,000 kilometres per year.
They are paying off their 3-bedroom home, they have lived there for 5 years and have $427,847 equity in their home which is the bulk of their wealth. And they have $65,880 worth of stuff - the total of all of their other household possessions (furniture, equipment, household goods – but not house and cars).
The average Australian identifies their religion as Christianity (61%), has completed Year 12, and gone on to complete a post-secondary qualification. They most likely have had a child, and they live in a household with a pet.
The average Australian man is 178cm tall and weighs 85kg while the average woman is 164cm and weighs 68 kg. The World Health Organisation states that a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 to 29 is overweight which is where the average Australian sits with 27 for a male and 26 for a female.
But they are doing something about it and exercise on average 3 times per week, getting 7.2 hours of sleep per night and they also have private health insurance.
And on average they’ve most likely experienced and contributed to the great Australian value of community and mateship. It is a “come in for a cuppa” culture that gives a “no worries” welcome to someone regardless of how average or not they may be.
Australians want to be seen as being social and yet often prefer the comfort of their own home to going out and socialising. 45% of Australians always prefer to stay home, no matter what night of the week it is and a further 73% have turned down an invitation to go out on the basis that they preferred to stay home. Highlights from our recent research commissioned Connoisseur Desserts show that the typical Australian is making pretty similar choices when it comes to their social lives and (not) going on a night out.
77% of us report to dropping in on social events just to show our faces all, a lot or some of the time. For nearly 20% of 20-34 year olds, a ‘drop in’ often means attending more than one event on a night out – really making the most of rare occasion to socialise out of home.
69% of us are happy to cancel plans in the week of the event, and 14% admit they’ll drop out on the day. Seems old fashioned politeness goes out the window across all generations with one in three bailing on the day before/day off/at the time.
While spring and summer are the more social seasons for Australians, there is a lot of bailing out of events and catch ups in our increasingly busy lives. And ditching on work functions and colleague catch ups is where the piking happens most.
Avoiding the awkies
Seems some of us will go to extreme lengths to avoid the awkwardness that results from our bad bailing behaviour and will RSVP at the last minute (17%), send word with someone else (16%), avoid posting on social media what we’re doing instead (13%), avoid all contact with the organiser (10%) or avoid telling the organiser altogether (7%). The worst culprits, 20-34 year olds.
What happened to mateship?
The people who we are most likely to ditch are colleagues (41%) and friends (40%). Only 3% are most likely to bail on partners (phew!) and 16% on family events.
We are most likely to cancel our attendance at work functions (24%) and casual catch ups with friends (22%). Conversely, 34% of 20-24 year olds are more likely to bail on drinks with friends than on work functions (7%).
The fall back excuse for last minute cancellations is feeling unwell for 66% of us. Family commitments are the next most used excuse at 36%, and a sick family member at 23%. Lame excuses such as stuck in traffic (6%) and a sick pet (4%) make the list. Just 11% of people chose to fess up that they just don’t want to go.
Loving our downtime
For most of us, cancelling plans to go out means we’ve chosen instead a night spent relaxing on the couch (34%), sleeping (32%), watching TV (23%), or hanging out with a loved one (30%).
It’s really interesting to see the rising trend towards staying in. It demonstrates the impact that technology has on every aspect of our lives – including redefining our social interactions and what that means for human relationships in the future. An indulgent night in and eating a favourite dessert in front the TV is fast becoming a socially acceptable and often, preferred form of entertainment in our increasingly busy and complex lives.
It’s official. A night on the couch bingeing on a favourite TV series is the best kind of night! New research reveals we love treating ourselves to an indulgent night in, and we regularly bail on plans made with friends, work mates and family in the process. It’s called faux-cialising and it’s rampant across Australia!
We were delighted to partner with Connoisseur Desserts to conduct new research into Australians aged 18 and over, and their social habits. According to the research, 73% of Aussies aged 18 and over regularly faux-cilise – cancelling social plans just to stay home to watch TV and experience the night they would have had via social media.
So what has prompted the rise of the faux-cialiser? Mark McCrindle points to a hectic work schedule, the comforts of home, and entertainment at our fingertips, which is making faux-cilising a growing trend in our (increasingly less) social lives.
The research shows Australians fall into four categories when it comes to their attitudes and behaviours towards social plans:
FOMO (fear of missing out) is very real and increasingly this group is predominantly men, aged 25 – 54 (the group least likely to faux-cialise).
The Wait and Sees
Commitment-phobes who are men and women represented by 43% of 35-54 year olds (who do admit to faux-ialising regularly).
Legitimising a night on the couch as the entertainment option of choice. This group is embracing faux-cialism and is strongly represented by women (64%) aged 35-54 (72%).
Those who preferring to stay home all of the time and are embracing JOMO (joy of missing out) as a way of life (79% aged 35+). This type of faux-cialiser is equally represented by both men and women.
Highlights from the research show that despite these nuances, the typical Australian is making pretty similar choices when it comes to their social lives and (not) going on a night out.
Home is where the heart is
When asked what night was their favourite night of the week to stay in, a whopping 45% of Australians reported they prefer to always stay home. Only 1% said they’d prefer to go out every night.
When we do make plans, we’re displaying a real fear of commitment! While we initially get excited about the opportunity to socialise on a night out, 62% of us will stall on making a decision, preferring to wait to see how we feel closer to the time or on the day. This rings true across all age brackets.
77% of us report to dropping in on social events just to show our faces all, a lot or some of the time. Not surprisingly, the Homebodies and Bailers are the most likely to do the drop in. For nearly 20% of 20-34 year olds, a ‘drop in’ often means attending more than one event on a night out – really making the most of the rare occasion to socialise out of home.
Self-care is the main motivation for cancelling plans with 42% feeling the need to relax and recharge and another 40% seeking the peace and quiet of a night in. Bad weather (30%) and not being bothered to get dressed up (26%) are the next most popular reasons to bail.
Analysis by Eliane Miles on new research released this week from the OECD highlights the challenge for young people entering their working years, particularly considering their transition from education.
While unemployment in Australia at just 5.6% is one of the lowest in the OECD, the number of Australian young people not in education, employment, or training (NEETs) has increased by 100,000 since the time prior to the Global Financial Crisis (2008), rising from 10.5% to 11.8% of all those aged 16 to 24 – comprising a total of 580,000 young people today.
The challenges affecting youth unemployment most often lie in a young person’s transition periods. It is normal for young people to spend some time out of education and work – in fact, 2 in 3 young people aged 16 to 24 will spend up to 3 months out of education and work – but the challenge becomes when this period of time becomes greater and the ‘relevance clock’ begins to tick. When 3 months eventuates into a year, or longer, this can lead to cycles of unemployment. Today, 1 in 5 young people aged 16 to 24 spend 12 months or more out of employment, education, or training, and it is these young people that will face the most significant challenges as they try to enter or re-enter the workforce.
The demographic realities play a significant risk factor in young people falling into a cycle of unemployment. 60% of NEETS are women, and while just 3% of young people are indigenous, this percentage rises to 10% among NEETs. There is also a strong correlation between low educational attainment and struggles in entering the workforce - 37% of students who leave school in Year 10 end up not being in education, employment, or training, compared with just 11% of those with a tertiary qualification.
Watch Eliane Miles on 7 News below:
240,000 young people looking for work
Young people out of work are often stereotyped as “slackers” but in fact 41% of NEETs (238,000) are actively looking for work but unable to find a job. Helping these young people find work needs to become a national priority and a focus needs to be given to their education to employment transition. Studies tell us that the key transition in a young person’s life is from learning to earning – from study to employment. If young people are not job ready, they should be directed to a course or traineeship that will help them get job-ready. Greater collaboration between actors (schools, VET providers, tertiary providers, employment services, childcare providers, and employers) is needed, along with a broader focus on not just higher education but vocational learning.
The remaining 59% who are inactive NEETS
Questions are then most often asked about inactive NEETs – the 40% of NEETs who say they would not like a job, and the 19% who would like a job but aren’t currently looking. What is it that has discouraged them or dissuaded them from entering the workforce?
Educationally, we are seeing a significant push towards tertiary educational attainment. A generation ago in 1986, more than half of all students left school in Year 10 with most going on to start work/vocational training. Today, 9 in 10 young people go on to complete Year 12, and the majority of these enter higher education. Nationally, however, 1 in 5 university students drop out in their first year of university, clearly not being ready for the task at hand or convinced of the choice they have made.
And while we are seeing an increase in university qualifications (our predictions estimate that 1 in 2 Gen Z will have a university qualification compared to 1 in 3 Gen Ys and 1 in 4 Gen Xs), we must keep in mind that everything is not just about higher education or STEM skills. It’s about developing a broad skills base that will continue to sustain Australia’s growing economic and demographic footprint.
Challenges in the skills sector
While the VET sector has seen a 50% increase in students placed in apprenticeships since the early 2000s, the sector is also subject to significant inefficiencies. Traineeship and apprenticeship completion rates are low, qualifications are hard to navigate, some federal funding for programs has been withdrawn, and employment service providers geographically only target 60% of NEETs, leaving 200,000 youth un-serviced by employment services.
The benefits of work are more than just economic
In conversations with young people, it serves us to be reminded that jobs do more good for all of us than just money. They provide a young person with a sense of independence, self-esteem, and social connection, as well as the ability to learn and stay future-proofed. The longer that young people stay out of employment, the more they are to lose connection and become social disenfranchised, leading to greater problems.
The challenge of entry will only accelerate
As we look ahead to the next 10-15 years of Australia’s job market, we estimate that 5.1 million of Australia’s jobs will become digitally disrupted. Today’s savvy school leaver is training themselves for jobs that don’t yet exist. The reality is that new jobs which will be created are more complex than the jobs they replace. If a young person is locked out of the workforce today, it is likely that they will face an even more difficult re-entry in years ahead as the skills required to fulfilk workforce demands increase.
The challenge of financial independence will also accelerate
Commonwealth funding will increasingly become tighter. The economy has natural limits, and supporting an ageing population base and those with disabilities is naturally a more pressing national priority than supporting those who can work but are choosing not to. It’s just a matter of time before government benefits to NEETs will dry up.
Having said that, it’s also important to remember that 25% of inactive NEETs and 41% of NEETs looking for work in fact have not received any government benefits to support them. For these young people, support has largely fallen back to the informal economy, with support provided by family members and friends.
The earnings challenge for today’s emerging generation
It is in fact more financially difficult to get ahead early in life than it once was. In the 1970s, for example, when many Baby Boomers graduated from university, the average graduate starting salary was equal to the average full time adult wage, while today the average graduate starting salary of $54,000 is $26,000 less than average full time annual earnings. Student debt is also higher than ever, with more than 1 in 3 (34%) registered debt agreements belonging to 25-34 year-olds, and the average university debt estimated to be around $28,000. Today’s young generations are actually beginning their earning years in more debt than we’ve seen before. Not to mention the multi-fold increase in the cost of housing – a generation ago the average Sydney house price was 5 times annual average earnings while today the average house price is 13 times the average annual full time earnings of $80,000.
Keeping it in perspective
If young people can continue to accelerate their learning, they’ll have greater chances of success. Just 11% of bachelor-degree educated young people are still looking for full time work within 4 months of completing their course, and the strength of Australia’s economy is creating positive opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship for young people to place their stamp on Australia's future.
ABOUT ELIANE MILES
Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a data analyst she understands the power of big data to inform strategic direction. Managing research across multiple sectors and locations, she is well positioned to understand the mega trends transforming the workplace, household and consumer landscapes. Her expertise is in telling the story embedded in the data and communicating the insights in visual and practical ways.
From the key demographic transformations such as population growth and the ageing workforce to social trends such as changing household structures and emerging lifestyle expectations, from generational change to the impact of technology, Eliane delivers research based presentations dealing with the big global and national trends.
With academic qualifications in community engagement and postgraduate studies in international development and global health, Eliane brings robust, research-based content to her engaging presentations and consulting. As a social researcher, she has been interviewed on these topics on prominent television programs such as National Nine News and Today, as well as on radio and in online media.
To have Eliane Miles present to your organisation on Generation Z, the state of today’s education sector, or the future world of work, contact McCrindle at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02 8824 3422
Change. It’s happening all around us, and it’s easy to be intimidated by the scope and scale of it, but if we can observe the trends and the shifts, then we don’t have to become victims of change but rather we can proactively respond. That’s what’s key. Having the confidence to move forward strategically and proactively, to embrace the trends rather than hide from them.
Earlier this year Mark McCrindle presented Understanding the Times, Shaping the Trends: A Snapshot of the Changes Transforming Real Estate at the Real Estate Institute of Victoria National 2016 Conference. Here are some of his thoughts on trends shaping the Real Estate Industry.
How are generational differences impacting the REAL Estate industry?
Generationally, it is more important than ever to understand the six generations that we have in Australia. While the younger generations might not be active clients in terms of real estate vendors, they do influence parental purchasing and decisions a lot.
We can sometimes pre-qualify people based on our perception of where they’re at in their life stage, but actually there are a lot of people in their late 70’s who are still active in property, perhaps downsizing to buy their next place. Then you’ve got someone in their early 20’s who’s maybe not buying their own place, but perhaps looking at an expensive home because they will be living in that home with their parents. We have to understand the diversity of the generations and all of them may well be active influencers in the buying decision.
Do you have any recommendations on how the Real Estate industry can engage their community?
Sometimes the best connections are actual connections, not just personal ones. The events, the openings, the events where we invite the community along and talk about the area and what’s happening. That brand experience, where people can come to meet and greet with free pizza or cocktails, that sort of thing is what works well, people are looking for that social interaction.
Any tips for those working in real estate?
Well I’d sum it up with the 4 R’s of Real Estate in the 21st Century:
Keep it real and authentic
To adjust and adapt
Keep it relational in terms of how we connect
We can’t just rely on yesterday’s wins, we have to adjust and adapt to remain responsive to the needs of today
ABOUT MARK MCCRINDLE
Mark is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, TedX speaker and influential thought leader, and is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations.
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, The Morning Show, ABC News 24 and A Current Affair.
His research firm counts amongst its clients more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and his highly valued reports and infographics have developed his regard as a data scientist, demographer, futurist and social commentator.
Owning your own four bedroom house on a decent block of land with a big backyard and outdoor swimming pool used to be the quintessential 'Great Australian Dream'. But with rising property prices and increased living costs, that dream is being redefined.
what is the Average Australian Profile?
The average full time annual income in Australia is $80,000, which is bumped up a bit because of high income earners. Even though we are living longer now than a generation ago, the average retirement age is little changed, at 61.5 years.
The cost of housing is up with average rent prices per week at $485/week and the average house price (capital city) is $765,730. In Melbourne it is well above this and in Sydney it is around $1 million. This is where the challenge is for Australians: 40 years ago the average house price was around 5 time’s average earnings and now you can see it is almost 10 times the average annual fulltime earnings.
Other than affordability, what else are Aussies looking for?
Lifestyle is key. People are opting to live in higher density areas for the sake of convenience and location- within close proximity to transport, restaurants – the café culture as it has been called. Our Urban Living Index shows a strong correlation between the most urban/densified suburbs and those with the highest liability ratings.
Australians are opting for a lifestyle of Minimalism - we are 'decluttering' our lives and putting more value on the intangibles like travel. Generation Y aren’t opting for a big home with garages to store all their stuff but more of a focus on the easy-livability of apartment living. Indeed many baby boomers are downsizing from their larger homes in the suburbs to this style of living too.
Renting, as opposed to buying, what some of the benefits?
The ability to change locations easily is well regarded – the average Australian renter stays just 1.8 years per home. Our research shows that 1 in 3 renters are actually 'choice renters' and they choose to rent for lifestyle reasons, not primarily for affordability reasons. These choice renters are twice more likely to be living in medium and high density housing than the average Australian and they are almost 10 years younger than the average Australian. The ability to upsize and downsize easily and the flexibility to travel for extended periods of time is a driver for them. ‘Rentvesting’ is also becoming a ‘thing’. This is where people choose to rent in an area they like, but buy somewhere more affordable and use this as an investment
Generation Y are struggling to attain the Great Australian Dream – are they going to be ok?
There is a challenge emerging of "generational inequity" as shown by this infographic:
Gen Y’s have the least wealth of the working generations and their proportion of Australia’s wealth is less than half their demographic share, while the Baby Boomers who are a quarter of the population, own more than half of Australia’s wealth. (More information on this topic can be found here)
This is why Gen Y is reinventing the Aussie Dream and while they do still like the idea of owning something of their own, it is not just the big home with the back yard in the suburbs. But many in this generation will be absolutely fine thanks to the massive intergenerational wealth transfer set to happen in the next 20 years as those aged over 65 transfer much of their total wealth of $2.5 trillion.
Australia has long been considered the land of the middle class, but in recent years the gap has been widening between the rich and the poor. When it comes to the battle of the states, which corner of Australia scores the highest and the lowest on the income and wealth report? Will the Baby Boomer generation continue their stronghold on our national wealth?
Is Australia still the land of the middle class?
It is hanging in there, but it’s under pressure. We have seen some hollowing out in the middle of the earnings and a bit of spread to either end. The average annual household earnings are around $107,000 however the lowest fifth of households earn 20% of this while the top fifth average almost three times this. That means that the top fifth of households are taking home about 12 times what the bottom fifth of households are earning.
Most Aussies have their wealth tied up in their homes, how does ownership compare with the top, middle and lower classes?
The average wealth (if you liquidate everything and pay off all your debts, what are you left with) is about $800,000. The bottom 1 in 5 have a net worth of just $35,000, the top 20% of all household have a net worth of about $2,500,000. That means that the top fifth of households have about 62% of Australia’s wealth, and the bottom fifth take less than 1% of Australia’s national private wealth. So that's a big difference in wealth across these households.
Which states are best and worst performers when we are looking just at income?
The mining boom in WA has really done a great thing over there and so they are leading the earnings chart, with the ACT not too far behind with public servant wages doing pretty well. At the bottom of the tree you have Tasmania, earning about $50,000 less per annum, per household, than what we have in the west.
We have been looking at different aspects of life in Australia and we are turning our focus on how each state rates when it comes to education. Are we more educated than we used to be? In 1986 49% of students completed year 12 and these days its fast approaching 90%.
Let’s talk about tertiary education across the generations
We are becoming an even cleverer country as measured by university completion so if we look at the Baby Boomers, 1 in 5 have a university degree, for Generation X, that’s 1 in 4, for Generation Y its 1 in 3 but for today’s school students, about 1 in 2 of them will end up with a university degree in their lifetime.
How does university attendance compare across the states?
If we look at 18 – 24 year olds, who are full time students, we have the ACT and Victoria leading the charge there and the other states not too far behind, while the Northern Territory is a fair way behind.
When looking at school performance, which state is performing the best as they hit year 7?
The NAPLAN results allows us to compare across Australia. If you look at the percentage of students in year 7 who are above the national minimum standard, again good results across the board. ACT and Victoria again leading Australia as far as the proportion of students above the standards. The other states are close behind, again with the Northern Territory a bit off the pace.
Having an education usually means a lower risk of unemployment, how did the states rate?
Pretty good, Australia as a whole is going very well, with 5.7% unemployment, that’s well below a lot of comparable nations. It has gone down this year, not up and if you look at the states that are doing better than that with a lower unemployment rate, the Northern Territory and ACT are performing best however some other states particularly South Australia and Tasmania are a bit behind.
Workplaces with swings, cubby houses, and video games might seem to belong more in a childcare centre than an office, but they’re the kind of workspaces being designed by the Millennials of today, with the reasoning that fostering creative energy at work makes for a more productive team.
Mark McCrindle defines Millennials (or ‘Generation Y’) as those born between 1980 and 1994, and hence, those who are coming of age or beginning their careers in the new millennium. Generation Y has a reputation for being the ‘selfie society’, infatuated with themselves, their smartphones, social media, and celebrities. However, their expertise in the harnessing of technology, coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit, could be an explanation for their ascent in the world at a rate faster than any other generation before them.
Millennials seek leadership opportunities, and desire to create jobs for themselves, rather than looking for a job – Generation Y is one that doesn’t need a job for survival and security reasons. Mark McCrindle attributes the Millennials’ changing ways of thinking as what has empowered them to become the ‘entrepreneurs of today’.