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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 13 November 2019

Saudi millennials more optimistic about the future than global peers

The younger generation worldwide, however, is generally disillusioned with their lives, financial situations and government, Deloitte Global Millennial Survey finds
Saudi millennials scored 51, compared to the global average of 39, in the Deloitte study's Mood Monitor measuring economic, social/political, personal, environmental and business sentiments. Getty Images

Saudi Arabia's millennials are more positive about the future and more ambitious about career and entrepreneurship opportunities compared with the global average, according to a study from global consultancy Deloitte.

The younger generation worldwide, however, is generally disillusioned with their lives, financial situations, jobs, government, business leaders, social media and the way their data is used, the 2019 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey found.

“Millennials make up over a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s population and are playing a hugely significant role in the nation’s socio-economic development,” said Omar Fahoum, chief executive of Deloitte Middle East. “Saudi Arabian millennials are far more bullish about the economic outlook for their own country than global peers, hold a more positive perception of business, and possess the skills and knowledge to find success in Industry 4.0 roles.”

The report, in its eight year, polled 13,416 millennials across 42 countries and 3,009 Gen Z respondents in 10 countries, and included 301 Saudi Arabia respondents for the first time.

Positive economic sentiment among millennials is at its lowest in the six years of the report, with only 26 per cent of respondents saying they expect the economic situations in their countries to improve in the coming year. That figure has never been lower than 40 per cent and stood at 45 per cent in the past two years.

In comparison, 45 per cent of Saudi millennials think the economic situation will

progress. In comparison, 45 per cent of Saudi millennials think the economic situation will improve.

The report’s inaugural Mood Monitor measured attitudes about economic, social/political and personal situations over the next year, as well as environmental and business sentiments. Out of a total of 100, global millennials posted a score of 39 and Gen Z respondents 40, while Saudi millennials scored 51.

While 29 per cent of the global millennial generation said they were satisfied with their life today, 34 per cent of Saudi millennials responded positively.

More than half of Saudi millennials have ambitions to reach a senior level in their chosen career paths, compared to 34 per cent globally. In addition, 58 per cent of Saudi youth aspire to start their own businesses, while globally only 38 per cent have the same goal. Nearly 70 per cent believe their ambition to launch their own business is achievable.

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Globally, opinions of millennials about businesses continue to diminish with many holding the view that companies focus solely on their own agendas, rather than the greater good. About 55 per cent of respondents said businesses has a positive impact on society, down from 61 per cent last year.

In contrast, 65 per cent of Saudi millennials expressed a general belief that companies have a positive effect on the wider society they operate.

Saudi millennials also showed high interest in doing freelance or contract work, with 94 per cent considering the “gig economy", compared to 84 per cent globally. The attractions include the chance to earn more money, flexible working hours and better work-life balance

On a global level, millennial priorities have evolved. Travel and seeing the world was at the top of the aspiration list for 57 per cent of respondents, while 49 per cent said they wanted to own a home. Making a positive impact in their communities or society at large ranked higher at 46 per cent than starting families at 39 per cent.

Concerns about technology and social media are high on the minds of millennials. Only 14 per cent strongly agreed that the benefits of technology outweigh the risks associated with sharing personal data, and 79 per cent are concerned they will be victims of online fraud.

Nearly two-thirds of those polled said they would be physically healthier if they reduced the time spent on social media, and six in 10 said it would make them happier people.

Millennials included in the study were born between 1983 and 1994, while Gen Z respondents were born between 1995 and 2002.

This year’s Deloitte survey was expanded to include a more diverse group of participants, including 31 per cent who did not have full-time employment status, and 34 per cent who did not hold a college or university degree.

Updated: May 23, 2019 08:18 PM