Gen Alpha and consumerism

Monday, February 13, 2017

Our current generation of children, Generation Alpha (born since 2010), are the most materially endowed and empowered generation ever. They have been shaped in an era of individualisation and customisation where they can get their name printed into the storyline of books, embroidered onto their shirts or put on the jar of Nutella. Below, we share some insights into the consumerism trends of the emerging Generation Alpha.

Is the future of successful brands just tech-enabled toys?

Parents are increasingly aware of the negative consequences of too much technology time - the isolationism and anti-social impacts. However, there is a halo-effect for tech-toys which increase connectivity, facilitate community and develop social and global skills.

What kind of 'play' is most useful for brands to deploy now, in the digital age?

Parents are becoming aware of the life-skills deficit evident amongst the next generation. They are more formally educated, yet less proficient in practical skills, assessing (and when appropriate confidently approaching) risk, setting and achieving goals (whether sporting or otherwise), and developing hands-on competencies. Fun toys which develop specific skills such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths), social competencies, entrepreneurial skills, strength and coordination, financial literacy, innovation and resourcefulness will be favoured by parents and educators.

What are the drivers that are impacting how toy brands engage with their consumers?

Educational toys - the future of toys is not just in the home but the classroom and the childcare centre. Education is beginning earlier with 3 and 4 year olds spending more time in childcare- and in facilities that have a focus on education and development. Therefore toys, of educational benefit are an essential part of the focus. Free toys - another change we are seeing is that sponsored educational materials - once anathema to educational institutions, are becoming more acceptable as the barriers between education, business, and community blur. With education (and household) budgets under strain, corporations for altruistic and well as commercial motives, will increasingly be part of the education, community and child-rearing domains- with branded toys a means by which this support is delivered.

Future Careers for the Emerging Generations

Thursday, January 05, 2017

In Australian there are more than 3.7 million school students around 1.5 million university students with another 1.2 million tertiary students in the vocational education sector. This means that more than 1 in 4 Australians are students and so an understanding of the future of work is an important area. 

Based on the current trends, almost half of the Year 12 students about to complete their exams will end up with a university degree. While they will start their earning years later, they will live longer and work later in life than any previous generation – on average, into their late 60’s. They will stay on average 1.8 years per job early in their career and average about 3 years per job over their working life which means they will have 17 different jobs in their lifetime, across an estimated 5 careers.

Some of the jobs they will hold don’t currently exist, just as mainstream jobs today such as app developer, social media manager and cyber security professional didn’t exist when they began their schooling. Already, working as a virtual reality engineer, cognitive computer expert, data visualisation designer or medical nanotechnologist is nothing unusual. This is very relevant in an area where almost 2 in 3 workers (63%) are white collar, employed in professional, managerial and administrative roles compared to less than half the workforce nationally (49%).

The last few years of disruption has shown us that any role that can be replaced by technology will be. While technology is great for automating systems and replacing repetitive functions, it is not strong at adapting to complex change and engaging with people. Therefore, to future proof careers and skills, today’s young people will need to develop their social interactions, their creative problem solving and their resilience to adapt to a constantly changing workplace. In other words, by being collaborative, responsive and innovative, today’s local students will be enabled to thrive in global careers, now and over the decades ahead.

WATCH MARK MCCRINDLE ON THE DAILY EDITION SPEAK ON THE JOBS OF THE FUTURE

1. Let’s look at education in Australia, how many students are there?

A total of 6.4 million students in Australia. 3.7 million school students, 1.5 million uni students and 1.2 million tertiary students in the vocational education sector.

2. So how will employment and careers look in the future for these current students?

Firstly, they will live longer than previous generations, work a lot later as well – into their late 60’s, they will move jobs more frequently, staying about 3 years per job, which means they will have 17 separate jobs in their life time and work in an estimated 5 careers. They will be a generation of lifelong learners having to plug back into education to upskill and retrain throughout their lives. In this era of online services like Uber, Airtasker and delivery services, we have seen the rise of the “gig-economy” and more of this generation will end up being freelancers, contractors or contingent workers than ever before. Recent research shows that a third of the national workforce currently participates in contingent work, and more than 3 in 4 employers believe that it will be the norm for people to pick up extra work through job related websites or apps.

3. So what are some of the jobs of the future and what is creating them?

Technology is the first driver. While it is replacing many jobs as seen in manufacturing sector it is also creating many new jobs such as virtual reality engineers, cyber security, nanotechnology digital services, block chain engineers.

4. Are there other factors that are creating emerging jobs?

Yes, the demographic change is creating new opportunities. Australia is growing and the ageing population means that we will need more people in health care aged care and retirement services than ever before. Our increasingly culturally diverse population is creating greater opportunities for people working human services, social work and translation services. And social trends and generational changes are creating new opportunities too. It’s a visual area, so data visualisation or indeed virtual reality applications have created new and emerging roles. Our lives are more complex and in an era of mobility, app development, user experience manager and online shopping experts have emerged to respond to our new customer needs.

5. So how do we future proof our careers in times of great change?

Firstly, be responsive. Everything that can be automated will be and if a job can be done more efficiently through technology, outsourcing or offshoring then it will be. Therefore we need to look at our industry and career and respond to the trends both local and global and upskill and retrain to remain relevant.

Secondly, be innovative. Computers are great at doing repetitive tasks but they are not designed to being creative or add innovation. If we can develop the ability to solve problems, improve systems, be proactive and add value our roles will be indispensable.

Finally, be collaborative. Future careers involves not just an understanding of technology but an understanding of people. Those who can effectively communicate, deal well with others, create a collaborative environment, lead people and motivate teams will always be in demand, and these are areas that computers cannot replace.

Results from the Education Future Report 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Australians are more educated today than they have been at any other point in history. The number of students completing undergraduate and postgraduate courses today is on the rise and for the first time in Australian history more than half the population aged 15-64 have a post-secondary qualification (51%). Over 70% of the newest wave of high school graduates, Generation Z, are pursuing further education and training, with almost half of them going on to university. How is today’s education system providing for this Generation of lifelong learners? This Friday we are looking forward to co-hosting the Education Future Forum with SCIL, to provide an overview of the current and future trends impacting the Education Sector. Here is a snapshot of some of the current and future trends in primary and secondary schools across Australia, from our Education Future Report 2016, which will be shared in detail at this Friday’s event.

MORE STUDENTS THAN EVER BEFORE

Australia currently has more students enrolled in full-time education than ever before. In 2015 there were 3,730,694 students enrolled in Australian schools. This is a 1.5% increase from 2014 and a significant 14% increase from 2001.

Since 2001, the growth in the total number of students (14%) has far outweighed the growth of actual schools (2%), the result of which has been growth in larger schools (801+ students for primary and 1200+ for secondary). The nature of these growing schools is changing as well, with more students enrolling in Independent schools than ever before.

INCREASING NUMBER OF PRIVATE SCHOOL ENROLMENTS

Since the 1970s there has been a significant rise in the proportion of students enrolling in non-government schools. Whereas non-government schools educated only 22% of all students in 1970, by 2015 that figure had risen to over a third (35%).

While government schools continue to educate the majority of Australian students (65%), enrolments at Catholic (21%) and Independent (14%) schools are on the rise and show that Australians value choice, and today’s parents are prepared to pay for an education if they feel it will align more closely with their values, expectations, and aspirations.

13% GROWTH IN TEACHERS SINCE 2005

In 2015, there were 382,687 full-time equivalent teaching staff over primary and secondary schools in Australia, which is a growth of 13% since 2005. Of these, 240,882 (63%) taught in Government schools, 72,812 (19%) taught in Catholic schools and 68,994 (18%) in independent schools.

The total number of male teachers has grown between 2005 and 2015 by 3% compared to 18% growth in female teachers over the same period. Comparatively, Government schools have a lower percentage of male teachers than Catholic and Independent schools.

THE EDUCATION FUTURE FORUM

Bringing together the best of McCrindle's research and analytics with SCIL's hands-on experience and innovation, the Education Future Forum is an opportunity for educational leaders and practitioners to engage in the dialogue around the future needs, trends and directions in education. The day will inform and inspire those who are seeking to understand this generation and simultaneously envision a school where the learning captures the hearts and minds of young people. There will also be the opportunity to tour Northern Beaches Christian School, to see students and teachers in action and view the learning spaces.

View the full program
& purchase your ticket here.

Digital Thumbprint; Social Media Trends Study

Monday, July 04, 2016

We were delighted to have been commissioned by Optus to conduct research into the increased use and implications of online selfies with a focus on the role played by parents in guiding their children’s online behaviour. This national research has been launched in partnership with Optus and their Digital Thumbprint Education Program, and revealed some interesting insights into the attitudes of Australia's next generations towards online safety and selfie regret.

Social media has taken the world by storm, with Facebook reaching 1 billion active users in 6 years. Today, Facebook has already exceeded the population of China at 1.4 billion users, while YouTube boasts 4 billion views per day. The report reveals that young adults (aged 18-25) and parents in Australia share in this statistic, with over 9 in 10 (93% and 92% respectively) of those who have at least one active social media account being active on Facebook.

The research found that one in four parents (25%) own a social media account to monitor their child’s online activities.

It also found that teens say they obsessively compare their life and achievements with others, with one in three admitting they regretted one or more selfies they had shared online. A quarter of 18 to 25-year-olds said they were affected by FOMO – the fear of missing out – and so were hooked on social media. 

"While at first it may seem self-obsessed to put photos up on Instagram of yet another selfie or the lunch we are about to eat, there is actually more to it than that. Individuals are taking photos of themselves to share their experience with others – it’s keeping in touch, trying to connect and communicate.” - Mark McCrindle.

 Find out more about the findings of the study in the below infographic:



Homes of the Future: Mark McCrindle discusses housing trends

Thursday, June 16, 2016

What is shaping our built environment?

The first is population growth. Australia has just reached 24 million which means we have added an extra million people in less than 3 years, and most of this growth is in our larger capital cities. This is creating a shift from suburban to urban living; from the traditional horizontal communities to the new vertical ones. In our largest capital cities, two-thirds of all new housing approvals are high or medium density rather than detached homes. This densification is creating walkable communities, multi-use areas where people live, work and play in a more localised space, and of course increased access to transit and transport hubs. The other factor shaping developments is affordability. With rising house prices, Australians are looking for financially sustainable options which meet the needs of both lifestyle and affordability, and create the flexibility for our homes to change in tune with our needs and lifestyles.

What are the current trends and will they last?

While design trends come and go with the changing fashions, there are some broader development trends that are here to stay. The increased access to open spaces, in-door out-door areas, balconies, natural light and bringing vegetation into urban environments are all timeless trends that resonates with our temperate climate and needs. Similarly, with food central to our social environment, open-plan kitchens and meal areas in homes and open social spaces in offices are trends we will see continue.

How is technology affecting it?

Today’s technology is seamlessly integrated into our lives, and we are seeing the same seamless integration into our homes. The internet of things means that lighting, sound, temperature, entertainment and security in our domestic environments are all manageable through our personal devices. The decade ahead will see our pantries and fridges talk to our devices to update shopping lists, our home entertainment experience continue playing seamlessly on our portable devices and our hydrogen cars help power our homes.

Image source: The Clipsal Smart Home range (courtesy of www.clipsal.com)

What are the demographic trends?

Homes of the future will have the flexibility to accommodate multiple generations living under the one roof. They will meet the changing needs of a more culturally diverse community and have clever innovations to facilitate support to Australians living independently in their homes to a much older age than we currently see.

What does the future hold?

While Generation Z, who are just starting their careers, will have to pay more for their homes in the future, these buildings and the built environment in which they sit will far exceed what their parents experienced in their first homes. Not only will the technologies and fittings in the home be exciting but the community spaces, café culture and neighbourhood amenities will continue to adjust and adapt to meet the lifestyle expectations of the 21st Century generations.

Sydney's Rising Star Suburbs

Monday, January 04, 2016

Analysis of the Urban Living Index shows the
top 3 growth areas to watch


The Urban Living Index rates each of Sydney’s suburbs based on five key liveability factors: Community, Employability, Amenity, Accessibility and importantly, Affordability.

While some of Sydney’s most glamorous suburbs such as Bondi, Neutral Bay and Manly did very well on the first four measures, they did not do well in the affordability category. The cost of living and the cost of housing are currently red-hot issues for Sydney siders and so affordability is in many ways the priority issue with the other lifestyle measures remaining purely theoretical for those priced out of an area.

The majority of Sydneysiders (51%) believe that their area will be even less affordable in three years’ time than it is today- which is almost five times as many as those who believe their area will become more affordable. And most strikingly, almost 9 in 10 Sydney residents (88%) state that housing affordability will be a massive or significant challenge for the next generation.

With this in mind, we have analysed the Urban Living Index data of all Sydney suburbs to find the areas that have excellent affordability- but also rate very well on the other lifestyle measures.

While there are 25 suburbs that score 15 or above (out of 20) for affordability, there are three areas in this list that have great results in the other liveability categories as well.

1st Lalor Park

Lalor Park and the adjoining Kings Langley toped our hot spotting list. The affordability score (15) was excellent, and these suburbs have an amenity score (a measure of the number of shops, restaurants, arts and recreation facilities and educational options in the suburb) which was very good. In fact these suburbs scored higher on the local amenity provisions than suburbs including Newport, Wahroonga and Frenchs Forest. Similarly Lalor Park and Kings Langley scored well on accessibility (a measure that looks at public transport, employment access and walkability of an area) and above beach and harbour side suburbs like Avalon and Rose Bay.

While the overall score for Lalor Park-Kings Langley is in the “Very Good” category, its excellent affordability ranking makes it a suburb likely to boom.

2nd Menai

Menai and the adjoining suburbs of Lucas Heights and Woronora are the next suburbs set to take off based on this analysis. Relative to other Sydney suburbs, the affordability is in the excellent category and this is matched by the employability category. So the combination of good employment numbers, a significant local economy and access to housing more affordable than much of Sydney, this area in Sydney’s south is a clear hotspot.

3rd Blaxland

The third most rated area from this affordability and liveability analysis is Blaxland at the foot of the Blue Mountains and the adjoining suburbs of Warrimoo and Lapstone. Just 8 minutes from the M4 motorway, and less than 10 minutes from the Western Sydney suburbs of Penrith and Emu Plains, this area has become part of Sydney’s greater west yet the affordability, along with the community and amenity scores lift it above many areas in the outer western Sydney ring.

As the urban living index data shows, liveability depends on more than just water views and beach access- the practical factors of educational options, employment access, public transport and other built amenity and of course affordability all make an area desirable and facilitate lifestyle. That is why each of these areas have rated on the Index above the well-heeled suburbs of Palm Beach, Belrose and Vaucluse and it is why they stand out as rising stars.


This research we conducted for Urban Taskforce Australia is an example of robust research generating significant media activity and reader interest. This particular piece was summarised in the Sydney Morning Herald here, and as you can see from the image below was in the top 5 most read columns on the day in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Melbourne Age and the Brisbane Times.

For more information

The Urban Living Index was developed by McCrindle for Urban Taskforce Australia. More information and interactive maps are available at www.urbanlivingindex.com

McCrindle in the Media

Friday, December 18, 2015

As Australia’s leading social researchers, the senior research team at McCrindle are actively involved in media commentary. From demographic analysis and future forecasts, to communication of key research findings and the identification of social trends, at McCrindle we are passionate about communicating insights in clear, accessible and useable ways.

Here are some of the most recent media pieces our research and team have been cited in:


Generation Alpha is coming

Futurist, demographer, and TEDx speaker Mark McCrindle is leading the campaign to call anyone born after 2010 a part of Generation Alpha. According to him, 2.5 million Alphas are born around the globe every week.
Alpha kids will grow up with iPads in hand, never live without a smartphone, and have the ability to transfer a thought online in seconds. These massive technological changes, among others, make Generation Alpha the most transformative generation ever, according to McCrindle.
“In the past, the individual had no power, really,” McCrindle told Business Insider. “Now, the individual has great control of their lives through being able to leverage this world. Technology, in a sense, transformed the expectations of our interactions.”

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE 



Educating Generation Z: Let Them Color Outside the Lines

I am a Generation X mother attempting to raise a Generation Z daughter. I recently read a statistic by social researcher Mark McCrindle which set off an internal monologue that ended in a migraine: my daughter's generation will have "17 employers across 5 separate careers, working in jobs that don't even currently exist."






Sydney's most liveable suburbs: the Urban Living Index

The new index, which ranks the liveability of 228 suburban areas in Sydney, was produced by social research firm McCrindle for the Urban Taskforce Australia, an industry group representing property developers. Rating the liveability of suburbs will always be contentious. An attribute one person loves about a neighbourhood might be repugnant to another. No measure will ever be perfect and the findings of the Urban Taskforce's index are bound to spark debate.
The data on 20 separate indicators was used to assess the affordability, community, employability, amenity and accessibility of a suburb to determine how liveable it is.





Top five baby name trends for 2016

It's become something of a tradition for me to pick the knowledgeable brain of demographer and social researcher Mark McCrindle at the end of each year regarding baby-name trends for the following one. Here’s what he has to say about 2016.
“A name is popular for about a decade, and then it starts to fade,” says McCrindle. “A classic example is Jack. It dominated most years in the first decade or so of the 21st century, but now it’s starting to fall down the list. It became a victim of its own success. Lachlan is another name that was often first or second on the list, but is now starting to fade.






Researcher Mark McCrindle delivered the results to business leaders yesterday, revealing a PSI index score of -12. Nearly 200 Hills businesses, covering 15 sectors, responded to 21 questions rating their opinions on business conditions (current economic conditions, regulatory settings and infrastructure), performance (earnings, expenses, employment) and sentiment (cost, growth and economy in six months).


CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE






THE best stocking stuffers this Christmas are tech gifts — or wrap yourself up as a present. That’s the finding of McCrindle Research who surveyed 1012 Australians to discover their sentiment and spending intentions for this festive season. They found that this year Aussies plan on saving money, staying at home with family and friends and are hoping for technological gifts under the tree. Best-case scenario the gift gets used, at least until boredom sets in or the latest gadget hits the market. Worst-case scenario it gets binned, stuffed way way back in a cupboard — or sold.

Aussie Sentiment to the Christmas Season

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

In the lead up to Christmas, we surveyed 1,012 Australians to discover their sentiment and spending intentions for this Christmas season.

This year, Aussies plan on saving money, staying at home with family and friends and are hoping for technological gifts under the tree.

28% Aussies will do at least half their Christmas shopping online


While online shopping has become an increasing trend, with more than a quarter (28%) of Aussies planning on to complete at least half of their Christmas shopping online, there is still a desire among Australians to complete their Christmas shopping in actual stores, with 39% not doing any shopping online and 34% buying most of their gifts from actual stores.

Comparatively, while the majority of Australians will do their Christmas shopping in-store, the number of Australians who will buy most or all of their Christmas shopping online this year (12%) has increased by 2% since 2013 (10%).

Family and friends are our favourite part of Christmas


The number one thing Australians look forward to about the 2015 Christmas season is spending time with family and friends, indicated by 7 in 10 (69%). Over 2 in 5 (44%) Australians also say that shopping, gift-giving and the Boxing Day sales is what they look forward to most about the season.

Aussies plan on staying at home this holiday season


More than half (54%) of Australians will not be holidaying during this Christmas season. Of those that will be, almost a quarter (23%) will be holidaying within their home state, while 16% will be travelling interstate and 6% overseas.

Technology and clothing high on the wish list, but for many it’s not about the gift


16% of Australians who know what they want for Christmas are most hoping for a technological present of some kind, making it the most hoped for gift of 2015.

The second most hoped for category is clothing/shoes/accessories (14%) followed by experiences (12%) and then food or beverages (11%).

Of the Australians who selected ‘other’ (29%), the majority of them (which comprised 24% of total responders, or almost 1 in 4 Australians) indicated that they did not want any particular present. Of those who indicated that they did not want a particular material gift, but expressed a desire for something, 51% stated it was time with family, 31% were hoping for health / happiness, and 18% peace.

1 in 5 Aussies plan to spend more this Christmas than last year


While Australian’s are more likely to save this Christmas season, Australian’s have a higher likelihood to spend more this Christmas compared to the previous three years, with almost 1 in 5 (18%) planning on spending more this season compared to last year.

Australians who plan on spending less this Christmas season intend to do so by reducing the amount of money spent on gifts. Another method is to buy Christmas supplies in advance when they are on sale, while some Australians will not celebrate Christmas at all to converse their cash.

The top 7 most featured answers included:

  1. Spending less money on presents for family and friends
  2. Buy Christmas supplies when on sale
  3. Making hand-made presents for friends and family
  4. Simply not celebrating Christmas
  5. Cooking less or buying less food for celebrations
  6. Getting organized and buying presents early before the Christmas season
  7. Buying presents only for children.

Download the Australian Christmas Attitudes 2015 report. Click here to download the full report.

Q and A: Offline Parenting in an Online World

Friday, October 02, 2015

What are the key strategies to offline parenting in an online world?

Parents today are faced with an unprecedented challenge of raising their children to be engaged offline in a world dominated by online options. A recent study conducted by McCrindle Research showed that whilst 44% of the older generations see the benefit of technology to children in enhancing learning and productivity, two thirds (65%) said that they believe that school aged students today spend too much time on technology.

In a society where digital is default, parents often feel the tension of raising their children in these technologically saturated times yet ensuring that they have the timeless characteristics and qualities to thrive in the offline environment. Parents see firsthand the extraordinary opportunities that technology facilitates, yet their experience tells them that managing their children’s screen time and ensuring they gain life skills and social skills is also essential.

We often forget how quickly this great screen age has emerged. Facebook went public just a decade ago and the tablet devices which facilitate so much learning and interaction such as the iPad arrived just half a decade ago. While many of the benefits to this first-ever digitally-based, wif- connected, social-media driven, global generation are evident, so are some emerging challenges. 1 in 4 Australians aged 15-17 have not participated in any form of physical recreation or sport in the last 12 months and for those aged 18-24 it is 1 in 3. These “screenagers” have a propensity towards increased sedentary lifestyles and based on the current overweight trends amongst Australia’s youth, by 2027, when all of Generation Z have reached adulthood, 78% of males and 62% of females in this generation are likely to be overweight. Young people spending hours in front of screens is not new. Today’s parents averaged around 3 hours of TV time per day during their formative years. However the TV screen is a “lean back” screen and did not generate the same levels of time use, sleep impediments and addictive patterns of the portable, interactive and connected “lean forward” screens of today.

Parents are the key influencers when it comes to shaping the priorities and lifestyle habits of their children, so households where active offline activities are modelled, prioritised and encouraged are likely to see the rewards of these behaviours established in the next generation. Parents have the opportunity to encourage their children to engage in physical recreation not just virtual entertainment, in offline communities’ not just online networks, and face to face interaction not just screen-based communication. And if the modelling and encouraging is too subtle, parents ought remember that they are paying the internet and mobile accounts and they are in charge. Oh, and every modem comes with an off switch!

More on effective parenting strategies can be found in Mark McCrindle’s book The ABC of XYZ: Understanding The Global Generations.


The future of work: Technology, Innovation & Collaboration

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

GENErational transition in the workplace

We’re on the brink of significant generational transition in the workforce, as the Baby Boomers (born 1946-64) who make up a quarter of today’s workforce and hold a lot of the leadership roles are reaching retirement age and will be just 8% of the workforce in a decade’s time. 

At the other end of the spectrum, as the Baby Boomers are phasing out of the workplace, the most materially endowed, technologically literate, formally educated, globally connected generation to ever grace the planet enter the workforce – Generation Z. 

Future Workforce Generations

Generation Z, born 1995-2009, make up 18% of our population, 9% of the workforce but in a decade’s time will make up 31% of the workforce.

Whilst they will spend 14,000 hours in face to face classes in their schooling and for a degree, they’ll spend 6 times this in the workforce – an estimated 84,000 hours.  But what will the future of work look like?

Generation Z bring new approaches to work, problem solving, innovation and collaboration.  They have been born into an era of unprecedented change – this will be reflected in their approach to their careers. Today’s annual turnover rate is 15% per annum which equates to people staying in their roles for approximately 3 years 4 months. Projected over the lifetime of a school leaver today it is estimated they will have 17 jobs across 5 careers in their lifetime. 

social trends transforming the future of work

The Intergenerational Report by the Australian Government outlines three major social trends which will transform the future of work as we know it- population, participation and productivity.

population

Australia’s population is growing at 1.4% per annum, and we will reach 24 million people by the end of 2015.  We have doubled both our national and our global population since 1966.

However our population is not only growing but also ageing.  Our population pyramids visually communicate our growth – in 1985 it was a pyramid as there were more younger people than older people, however today it is becoming more rectangular and demonstrates how we are on the brink of massive ageing.   As we project to 2045 our population pyramid will start to become inverted as we will have more people aged over 60 than under 18 for the first time.

There are not only more older people but we are living longer than ever before, having added 10 years of life expectancy in the last four decades.

Our population is also changing, and we are more culturally diverse than ever before with 58% of Australia’s growth attributed to net overseas migration. We are increasingly generationally diverse with six generations represented in our communities today. 

PARTICIPATIon 

In the years ahead we will see the female workplace participation rate continue to increase.  And we will be working later in life with the retirement age being pushed back. Even so, because of the impact of the aging population our workforce participation rate will actually decline, with today’s participation rate at 65.1% projected to decline to 62.4% in 2055.

The ratio of Australians in the workplace to retirees is also radically changing.  In 1975, there were 15 people of working age (aged 15-64) for every couple of retirement age (aged 65+).  Today there are just 9 people of working age for every couple of retirement age, and by 2055 it is projected to be just 5.4 people of traditional working age for every couple of retirement age. 

Productivity

Due to the declining ratio of people of working age to those in retirement, there is going to be a greater need for productivity from the labour force.  The workforce of the future will need to do more with less.  This final defining social trend, productivity, is the only one not based on demographic realities.  

The Intergenerational Report outlines that for every hour an Australian works today, twice as many goods and services are produced as they were in the early 1970s. One of the contributors to this is technology which has enabled greater efficiencies. 

the future of work

It is not just technology which has increased productivity outcomes over the years.  Productivity is maximised by people and organisations who can innovate, and communities who can collaborate.  Effectiveness, innovation, productivity comes when it is in the hands of people who can see solutions, generate ideas, solve problems and facilitate innovations. 

Technology, innovation & collaboration 

Sectors have been transformed where there’s the intersection of technologies with innovation and collaboration. 

For example, AirBnB has challenged the traditional approach to accommodation solutions.   Their innovative approach to accommodation has been released to the collaborative power of the community to become accommodation providers, and has been leveraged through the technology platforms.   

Similarly, the network transportation company Uber has transformed the approach to transportation.  Launched internationally in 2012, Uber is in 58 countries, worth an estimated $50 billion yet doesn’t own one car.  An innovative approach, released to the collaborative community, leveraged through technology. 

Cancer Research UK provides another creative example of this.  They created a computer game Play to Cure: Genes in Space’. By playing it you analyse significant amounts of genetic data which would have taken scientists hours to do and can help beat cancer sooner. Leveraging technologies, fostering innovation and embracing collaboration.

effective leaders of the future

The effective leaders of the future will not be those necessarily with the most developed skill set but those who can effectively create a culture of collaborative innovation. 

Traditional leadership models have been based on position, hierarchy, command and control.  Whilst leadership remains essential, the styles of leadership the emerging generations respond best to are those that foster a context for them to connect, create and contribute. 

A workplace culture of collaborative innovation is inclusive of a multicultural, multigenerational, multigifted community – it draws on the strengths of the diversity through positioning people in contexts which foster growth, innovation and collaboration.

creating a culture of collaborative innovation

A culture of collaborative innovation requires focusing on the people not just the process. On shaping a team not just spending on technologies. It requires building on a foundation of shared values such as humility, respect and honesty.  It’s where leaders create autonomy supported inclusive multigenerational workplaces. 

Productivity and outcomes are important.  Essential in fact.  But perhaps as we shift our focus from process to people, from transactional to transformation leadership, and create vibrant, healthy, dynamic workplace communities – the productivity, innovation and output is likely to be greater than ever and flow simply as by-product - of people investing the 84,000 hours of their working lives in a rewarding way and in a thriving culture of collaborative innovation.

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