Generation Next: Meet Gen Z and the Alphas

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Australia is in the midst of a massive generational transition. 

Today’s grandparents are part of the Baby Boomers, born from the late 1940’s to the early 1960’s. This generation is followed by Generation X, born from 1965 to 1979 who, at the oldest edge, are moving through their mid-life.

Today’s new parents and those entering their peak fertility years are part of Generation Y, born from 1980 to 1994.

Today’s children and teens are Generation Z, born from 1995 to 2009 and Australia is home to more than 4.5 million of them.

From 2010 Australia has seen the start of a new generation and having worked our way through the alphabet, we call this new generation, the first to be fully born in the 21st Century, Generation Alpha.

Gen Alpha have been born into an era of record birth numbers, and there are around 2.6 million of them nationally. When this generation is complete, in 2024, Generation Alpha births will total almost 5 million over the 15 years from 2010, compared to 4 million births of the Baby Boomers for the 19 years from 1946.

Generation of 'upagers'

The oldest Gen Alphas commence Year 3 next year and will be the most formally educated generation ever, the most technology supplied generation ever, and globally the wealthiest generation ever.

They are a generation of “upagers” in many ways; physical maturity is on setting earlier so adolescence for them will begin earlier and so does the social, psychological, educational, and commercial sophistication which can have negative as well as positive consequences.

Interestingly for them while adolescence will begin earlier, it will extend later. The adult life stage, once measured by marriage, children, mortgage and career is being pushed back.

This generation will be students longer, start their earning years later and so stay at home longer. The role of today’s parents therefore will span a longer age range and based on current trends, more than half of the Alphas will likely be living with their parents into their late 20’s.

'The great Screenage'

Generation Alpha have been born into “the great screenage” and while we are all impacted by our times, technology has bigger impacts on the generation experiencing the changes during their formative years.

The year they began being born was the year the iPad was launched, Instagram was created and App was the word of the year. For this reason, we also call them Generation Glass because the glass that they interact on now and will wear on their wrist, as glasses on their face, that will be on the Head Up Display of their driverless cars, or that will be the interactive surface of their school desk, will transform how they work, shop, learn, connect and play.

Not since Gutenberg transformed the utility of paper with his printing press in the 15th Century has a medium been so transformed for learning and communication purposes as glass- and it has happened in the lifetime of Generation Alpha.

About Research Visualisation

In a world of big data, we’re for visual data. We believe in the democratisation of information, and that research should be accessible to everyone, not just to the stats junkies. 

We’re passionate about turning tables into visuals, data into videos and reports into presentations. As researchers, we understand the methods, but we’re also designers and we know what will communicate, and how to best engage. 

Whether you’re looking to conduct research from scratch, or if you have existing data that you want to bring to life – get in touch with the McCrindle team.

Attracting and retaining Millennials in the workplace

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

If you ask any HR department, attracting and retaining talent is not an easy task - especially when it comes to Gen Y - or the Millennials - as they are often known. Millennials are in their mid-20s and 30s and by 2020 they'll comprise more than a third of the workforce. Our Team Leader of Communications Ashley Fell spoke to Jon Dee on Sky News about how to get the best out of Millennials as employees.

What are some of the key differences between Millennials and the generations that went before them when it comes to careers and the workplace?

Millennials have spent longer in education than previous generations. More than 1 in 3 have a university degree compared to 1 in 5 Baby Boomers. With this comes greater expectations around career trajectory and opportunity. While the Baby Boomers were shaped in an era of greater job security and career stability, today’s emerging workforce have seen sectors like manufacturing decline and new jobs like App Developer, Cyber Security and Social Media Marketer become mainstream.

The rise of the gig economy where people may hold down multiple roles or are more freelancer, contractor and contingent worker than employee means that we have moved away from job for life, and career for life. The national average job tenure is three years per employer, which means that school leavers today will have 17 separate jobs across an estimated 5 careers. While Boomers developed their career by showing loyalty within an organisation and climbing the rank, Millennials are shaped in a work culture where careers are developed by moving across organisations, grabbing opportunities and gaining experience across organisations and industries.

When it comes to the workforce, what are Millennials looking for in their place of employment?

Millennials are looking for Culture, Purpose and Impact.

Culture refers to the workplace community, the way the staff interact, the values that they hold. It’s the ‘who’ of the organisation, the people, and how they do what they do. Culture is important to Millennials because the workplace is one of the main social crossroads through which todays Millennials now pass. They are looking for social interaction, professional collegiality and connection at work.

Purpose refers to the ‘why’ of an organisation. It’s the big picture of what the organisation is about, their reason for existence, their vision. Millennials are more likely to consider the ‘higher-order drivers’ (such as the triple bottom line, volunteer days, organisational values, corporate giving programs, further study, training and personal development) as important when looking for a job.

Impact refers to the contribution team members can make to achieve this vision. It’s no longer just enough to provide a fair days pay for a fair day’s work, this generation want to know that their own contribution is having an impact and making a difference.

What advice would you give to employers who steer clear of younger workers?

Every generation of young people throughout history has copped a bit of bad press from the older generations, and that’s not always without reason. Each generation has strengths, which we should connect with, and weaknesses which we need to keep an eye on.

But the fact is, Australia has an ageing population and with this an ageing workforce. It is just a basic factor of future proofing and forward planning for leaders to start to think about attracting the next layer of talent, leadership succession planning and staff development.

It’s important to remember that Millennials bring the latest education, an innate connection with technology and can connect with their cohort better than any other generation. Diversity – whether that be gender, cultural or generational diversity enhances our workplaces. An organisation gains strength when it not only resembles the society in which it operates but when it brings the different voices into the organisation as well.


Ashley Fell is a social researcher, TEDx speaker and Head of Communications at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a trends analyst and media commentator she understands how to effectively communicate across diverse audiences. From her experience in managing media relations, social media platforms and content creation, Ashley advises on how to achieve cut through in message-saturated times. She is an expert in how to communicate across generational barriers.

Download Ashley's Speaker Pack here, and view her speakers reel below. 

Why 30-somethings are leaving mainstream work

Monday, September 04, 2017

Generation Y, those born between 1980 and 1994, are changing careers more than previous generations. They are post-linear in their job outlook, and will work across multiple jobs and sectors throughout their career.

They are an entrepreneurial generation, largely because they have the technology enablement to start businesses or to find new roles. They are able to plug back into education more regularly to upskill or retrain.

The flexibility of this life stage enables Generation Y to try new endeavours. They have a little more financial backing during this particular life stage, and they don’t have the same commitments as they move into their thirties as their parents did at the same age, like children and mortgages. This has enabled them to be more career mobile than their parents were at the same age.

The downside of heading out from a stable job to try something new is that it might not work out financially. The challenge of not having a mortgage to pay is that it can leave the thirty-somethings, perhaps when they are in their forties, further behind financially than where their parents were at the same age.

And so while it’s not as exciting to join the career ladder and climb the rungs, it does provide the benefit of long term earnings. Locking into the mortgage does have the asset-appreciation benefit, and therefore a retirement vehicle that we know is important as Australians move into the later years of their life. 

You can find out more about Mark McCrindle here, or to have him present at your next event, please get in touch

SMART Breakfast Seminar Recap

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Last Friday morning, it was our privilege to co-host the SMART Breakfast Seminar alongside NBRS Architecture at Macquarie University.

Thank you to Macquarie University for hosting us at their brand-new facility, designed by NBRS Architecture and of course a big thank you to all those in attendance. For those who missed the morning, here is an event recap.

The morning kicked off with a delicious breakfast and a time of networking with McCrindle and NBRS clients.

After a warm welcome from our MC Eliane Miles, Mark McCrindle opened the morning by providing a snapshot of our changing nation with the just-released census data. As we approach the next decade, Mark had a look back at the last decade and uncovered some of the megatrends that are redefining our multigenerational workforce.

We then heard from McCrindle’s Team Leader of Communications, Ashley Fell. Ashley gave us an insight into how our world is changing, therefore how our workplace leadership needs changing. Ashley shared the engagement equation on how to create culture, purpose and impact in our workplaces.

Next, it was over to NBRS, the brilliant architects who designed the new Macquarie University building. Directors, Andrew Duffin and James Ward shared how their vision for the muli-purpose conference facility was inspired by a new style of working space for academic institutions.

James Ward helped us understand workspaces in academia and the trends that present a blueprint for a new working environment.

Andrew Duffin, design director for the Macquarie University project, deconstructed the latest architectural trends for work, learning and living and how to create smart work spaces.

We’d like to say a big thank you to all of our valued clients and friends who attended the breakfast. Be sure to look out for our future events taking place in Sydney, and if you're interested in having one our McCrindle Speakers present at your next event, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! 


At McCrindle, our team of professional speakers are in demand for their ability to clearly communicate the insights in engaging ways. Presenting at a variety of national and international events including keynote addresses at conferences, onsite professional development workshops and strategy briefings for senior leaders, the McCrindle speakers are recognised as leaders in tracking emerging issues, researching social trends, and are regarded as expert social researchers, futurists and story tellers.

To make an inquiry, please feel free to get in touch via email, or on 02 8824 3422.

Contiki Youth Evolution research

Thursday, March 30, 2017

We were delighted to partner with Contiki to conduct new research into the aspirations, behaviours and fears of young Australians (18-36 years of age). The Contiki 2017 Youth Evolution Report explores some of the key trends influencing their attitude and lifestyle.

Feeling left behind

There is a strong sentiment among young people, specifically those aged 18-21, that they are being left behind economically. Especially in an era of flat wages growth and huge increases in home and living costs. Two decades ago, the average Sydney house price was around six times the average annual full time income. Today this has skyrocketed to 14 times the average annual full time income.

Ten years ago, over a third (34%) of 18-34 year olds indicated they were saving for a home, while this has dropped to below a quarter (24%) today. A significant two in five (40%) 18-21 year olds fear they will never be able to own a home. “We think of younger generations as having a youthful idealism and optimism, but this research shows young adults are not feeling as positive”, says Mark McCrindle.

Financial fears

Over half (51%) of 18-21 year olds fear not being able to live out their dreams due to financial and time constraints and 42% already regret not saving enough.

“The students of today are going to be the most formally educated generation to date; it is predicted that one in two will obtain a university degree. However, so too will they have higher amounts of debt when they enter the workforce; in fact, they might be the first generation since the Great Depression who will end up economically worse than their parents,”. - Mark McCrindle

Travel is a priority

Despite financial constraints and complexities regarding an independent lifestyle, 76% of 18-21 year olds want to travel more. 

Although more than two thirds (69%) of this age group has the desire for financial freedom, just beyond this is their desire to travel and see the world (64%). 

Around a third are also willing to go into debt for travel (36% of 18-21, and 39% of 22-36 year olds).

Delaying traditional life markers

With a focus on lifestyle rather than just wealth accrual, the emerging generations are spending more time living at home. They are also delaying traditional benchmarks of adulthood such as buying their first home, marrying, or starting a family.

A third of Australians (32%) aged between 18-36 years old continue to live in the parental home. This is a mix of both those who have never moved out as well as those who have moved back in with their parents. This is often due to high costs of living; labelling them as the “boomerang generation”.

Even though they are happy to live with mum and dad, this generation is very aspirational, with two in five 18-21 year olds (41%) stating they would not be happy if they ended up in a similar financial situation and lifestyle as their parents (cf. 33% of 22-36 y/o).

More socially aware

Despite their daily struggles, young Aussies care about the world they live in and are more socially aware than previous generations. The research found that climate change (18-21: 26%), gender equality (15%) and racism (12%) are issues that are high on young millennials’ agenda. The report also revealed that almost one in five (18%) 18-21 year olds already regret not making more of a difference in the world (cf. 22-36: 12%; 37+: 10%).

Understanding Generation Y Globally and Locally

Monday, February 20, 2017

Generation Pessimism

We think of the younger generations having youthful idealism and optimism yet the 2017 Global Millennial Study by Deloitte shows that the 20’s and early 30-somethings are not feeling optimistic. Just 1 in 4 believes the year ahead will see an improvement politically and again a minority- only 1 in 3 believe we will see an uptick economically.

Where’s our share?

While it is little surprise that their number one concern is terrorism/political tension (56% are concerned), the second biggest concern (43%) is income inequality. There is a strong feeling amongst Generation Y (Millennials) that they are being left behind in this era of flat wages growth and massive home and living cost increases. Our recent ABS income and wealth analysis shows that Gen Y as a whole have 7% of Australia’s private wealth while they are more than twice this (15%) of the population while the older Boomers have an economic share three times that of their population share. There is a growing series of forecasts indicating that this may well be the first generation since the Great Depression which will end up behind their parents economically.

Big challenges but are they too big…

This study shows that Millennials, particularly in the developed world feel somewhat disempowered with a sense of high responsibility yet low influence to shape the challenges of the environment, social equality and direction of the country. They are key contributors to society and believe that working within the system rather than radically fighting against it in a revolutionary approach is the best way forward.

Moving on…but to full time roles

Almost 1 in 2 (48%) expect to leave their current role within 2 years while less than 1 in 3 (31%) plan on still being there in 5 years. While the gig economy sounds exciting, almost three times as many (70%) would prefer full time work than a freelance work life (25%). Yet the challenge for Australian Gen Y’s is that while unemployment is still quite low (5.7%), the workforce is trending away from full time roles. In the last year, the Australian economy has added 130,000 part time roles but lost 40,000 full time roles.

The dot com kids see the downside of tech

Millennials are more negative than positive when it comes to technology particularly regarding the impacts it is having in the workforce. While it aids productivity, economic growth and flexibility, the majority of this generation believe that it will force them to retrain (51%) and that it is making the workplace more impersonal and less human (53%).

But they are warm towards Gen Z

The new next generation (Gen Z, born since 1995) is well regarded by Gen Y with most Y’s (53%) believing that the next generation will positively transform the workplace. They also believe that Gen Z are well equipped and “futureproofed” in the workplace because of their creativity, flexibility and engaging leadership style.


The Average Australian on Australia Day 2017

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

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.

Happy Australia Day, Australia!

We are a bunch of pikers… and we’re ok with it!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

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.

Dropping in

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.

Dropping out

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%).

Excuses, excuses

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.

New research reveals Aussies are 'faux-cialisers'

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

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:

The Socialites

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).

The Bailers

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%).

The Homebodies

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. 

Plans Schmans

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.

Dropping in

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.

Me time

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.

Generation Y and Housing Affordability

Monday, October 24, 2016

As Australia’s leading social researchers, the senior research team at McCrindle are actively involved in media commentary. Last week our Principal, Mark McCrindle and Team Leader of Communications, Ashley McKenzie were featured in the media about Generation Y and their ability to access the housing market in Sydney.

Generation Y are today’s 22 – 36 year olds, and make up 22% of the Australian population (5.22 million). They also make up the largest cohort in the current workforce (34%). Gen Y’s are comprised of today’s parents, senior leaders, influencers, and increasingly wealth accumulators. With 1 in 3 being university educated (compared to 1 in 5 Baby Boomers), they have grown up in shifting times and are digital in nature, global in outlook and are living in accelerated demographic times.

While Generation Y are often accused of living a lavish lifestyle, which supposedly locks them out of the property market, it is important to remember that traditional expense categories such as food, transport, health and housing costs are higher for younger people today than that experienced by their parents at the same age. A generation ago the average house price was 5 times annual average earnings while today the average house price is 13 times the average annual full-time earnings.

Here is a quick snapshot of last week’s media coverage:

Housing Affordability Debate

"From the Baby Boomer perspective, they worked hard, they earned what they had but I can also see the Gen Y perspective. The reality is that it's a lot harder to buy a home, the costs have gone up. Gen Y do have to pay off the debt of their degree and there are new categories of spend; technology, internet and phone, costs that their parents didn’t have."  

Parental help becoming essential for young people trying to buy property

"Ms McKenzie, who works for social researcher Mark McCrindle, said borrowing from parents was becoming Sydney’s “new normal”. “Baby Boomers control about 50 per cent of the nation’s wealth so it makes sense young people look to their parents for help,” she said." 

For any media enquiries please email us at, or call our offices on +61 2 8824 3422. To arrange a media interview or if you are a journalist and would like to receive our media updates, please email

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