Generation Alpha: Q&A with Ashley Fell

Friday, December 08, 2017

How do you define Generation Alpha?

The launch of the iPad in 2010 coincided with the beginning of our current generation of children, Generation Alpha. There are now 2.5 million Gen Alphas being born around the globe each week.

We named them ‘Generation Alpha’ to signify not just a new generation, but a generation that will be shaped by an entirely different world. That is why we moved to the Greek alphabet, to signify this different generation that will be raised in a new world of technological integration.

How will Gen Alpha's experience of technology differ from Gen Y and Z?

Gen Alpha were born into a world of iPhones (in fact the Oxford English Dictionaries word of the year in 2010 when they were first born was “app”), YouTube (where there are now 100 hours of videos uploaded every minute), and Instagram (where life is photographed and shared instantly and globally).

While Gen Y and Z are very tech-savvy and digitally connected, Gen Alpha will be the first entire generation to have technology seamlessly integrated into their lives. Gen Y and certainly some of the older Gen Zed’s will remember a time before iPhones and social media, whereas for all Generation Alpha’s these devices will be a part of their upbringing from a very early age.

What advantages will Gen Alpha’s technological literacy give them compared with the older generations?

Gen Alpha babies will grow up to be smarter, richer, and healthier and will obtain the highest level of formal education in history.

Because their parents will indulge them in more formal education and at an earlier age, Gen Alpha will have access to more information than any other generation. Their formal education has never been equalled in the history of the world, with a predicted 1 in 2 Gen Alphas to obtain a university degree.

As a result of seamlessly integrating technology and devices into their lives from such a young age, Generation Alpha will have a better foundation to build their technological literacy.

What technologies shape the lives of Gen Alpha?

Technology has and will continue to change how we, and Generation Alpha communicate. It’s a world of ‘Screenagers’ where not only do they multi-screen and multi-task, but glass has become the new medium for content dissemination. Unlike the medium of paper, it is kinaesthetic, visual, interactive, connective and still portable.

Glass was something that Gen Y’s were told to look through and keep their fingers off. For Gen Alpha, glass is a medium they touch, talk, and look at.

Gen Alpha truly are the ‘millennial generation’, born and shaped fully in the 21st century, and the first generation (in record numbers) who will welcome the 22nd century.

Gen Alphas are logged on and linked up, digital natives. They are the most materially endowed and technologically literate generation to ever grace the planet!

About Ashley Fell

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. 

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. 

The Millennial Workforce; Creating Culture Purpose and Impact

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Recently our Head of Communications Ashley Fell delivered a presentation titled, The Millennial Workforce; Creating Culture, Purpose and Impact at a range of conferences. From a state-wide aged care conference through to a Millennials marketing event.

Also known as Generation Y, Millennials are born between 1980 and 1994. They are those who lived their formative years or began their careers in the new Millennium.

Millennials seek leadership involvement and career opportunities rather than job security and a stable work environment. What is important to this generation of emerging workers is CPI - Culture, Purpose and Impact.


Millennials thrive on a healthy workplace culture. In addition to training, varied job content, an accessible management style and work/life balance, is a workplace culture and sense of community. Workplace cultures that are fun, inviting, inclusive and provide a sense of community are highly valued by a generation who are delaying traditional life markers, such as getting married and starting a family.


In addition to an engaging workplace culture Millennials are seeking places of employment where they resonate with the values and purpose of the organisation. If the culture is the ‘how’, the purpose is the ‘why’.

Millennials are seeking a higher order than previous generations. When looking for a job, it is about more than just survival and security (remuneration, employment conditions, superannuation, worker entitlements, role description, tenure and job security).

The social aspects – such as opportunities for collaboration, social events, co-working spaces and team building – are even more important. 

What Millennials consider most important when looking for a job are the ‘higher-order drivers’, such as the triple bottom line (people, profit and planet), volunteer days, organisational values, corporate giving programs, career pathways, further study, training and personal development.


In addition to culture and purpose, Millennials are looking for an organisation where they can have an impact. Millennials want to contribute to something bigger than themselves. They want to be challenged in their work, make a contribution and celebrate the wins.

As different sectors seeks to attract, recruit and retain this emerging generation of employees, remember that Millennials are looking for an engaging workplace, inspiring values which connect with their own, and employment opportunities where they can make a difference. In short they are looking for Culture, Purpose and Impact.


Ashley Fell is a social researcher, TEDx speaker and Head of Communications at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a trends analyst she understands the need to communicate with the emerging generations to effectively engage them. 

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. 

From generational change to the impact of technology, key demographic transformations to social trends, Ashley delivers research based presentations dealing with global and national trends.


To find out more, check a date or make an enquiry, please get in touch:

P: 02 8824 3422


McCrindle NBRS SMART Breakfast Seminar

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Next Friday, 12th May 2017 we are looking forward to co-hosting the SMART Breakfast Seminar alongside NBRS Architecture at Macquarie University.

Be amongst the first to experience the newly opened roof-top conference facility at the re-generated Mitchell building. NBRS, the architects of this project, will share the story of how this original campus building was re-imagined for its new purpose. They will also give insights into the elements of effective workplace design. 

In addition, Mark McCrindle will deliver an overview of the newly released Census data regarding workforce demographics, generational change and the future of work. Ashley Fell from McCrindle will also be sharing about the importance of creating workplaces that engage a multigenerational workforce, and in particular the Millennials.  

Event Details

Date: Friday, 12th May

Time: 7:00am – 8:45am

Location: Macquarie University E7A Building, No. 12 Wally’s Walk, Level 8


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.


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