YOUTH 2018 – What are they up to?
I attended the UCT Unilever Institute Youth Report 2018 workshop in Durban last week. The objective of this intensive in-depth research was to “understand what it is like to be a South African youth in 2018”
Good question – is it all doom and gloom?
The Stats – Quite scary
- Half of South Africa’s population is under 24 years old, in Japan the equivalent figure is 47, in Nigeria 18
- 64% of South African youth are considered poor, not living in poverty, but poor living in the bottom two quintiles or in LSM’s 1-4.
- The number of social grant recipients in 1999 was 22,000, now in 2018 the number is just over 12 million children receiving R410 a month
- Only 35% of South African children live with both parents, 40% with their mother only, 3% with their father only, and 21% in child headed households
- Currently 120,000 schoolchildren have fallen pregnant, 3500 are under the age of 14
- Education has improved in terms of access, but still 70% of schools have no functioning library, 60% of schools do not have a computer lab. But 92% of children attend an Early Childhood Development facility.
- Of 1 118 690 children entering school only 455 825 pass matric, and only 349 983 achieve a university exemption. But since 1996 attendance at tertiary institutions as grown by 445%
- Youth unemployment is a problem worldwide, the number of South African NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training – NEET) between 21 and 24 is estimated at 51%.
- Automation and the decline of the manufacturing sector in SA is a major challenge
The Future – Not without Hope
- Education is a major game changer; The number of graduates has grown from 400,000 in 1995 to approximately 1.1 million in 2011, contrary to popular opinion very few are unemployed
- Micro – privilege is a major game changer; living in the middle class, having access to a decent school, books and a culture of learning and achievement makes a considerable difference
- Proximity to opportunity is a major game changer; those use that grew up in an urban environment have considerably more opportunity than those in rural areas
- Use of social media is a major game changer; 93% have a social media account, 53% are spending more than two hours a day on social media, new trends are emerging that engage the youth, 59% feel that data costs are restricting their lives
- In 2018 the youth are living at home longer, studying longer, taking longer to find a job, and depending on their parents and family longer
- More so than previously youth feel under pressure from family, community, peers, remaining relevant, lack of money and securing a job.
And on the positive side
- 64% of youth feel generally content, 43% are using social media to find goods and services suited to themselves
- Short-circuiting the system has becomes a way of life
- Becoming socially conscious, particularly with regards to social causes is a major source of identity called “Staying Woke”
- Sustainability is a hot topic
- ‘Ownership of goods’ is giving way to seeking authentic and original experiences
- A growing belief, inspired by the failings of previous generations, that the future will be built on their own individual efforts
- 80% believe they have the ability to change their current circumstances
The Youth 2018 Mantra for getting ahead
- Be real – don’t downplay the pressures of today
- Be fluid – one size won’t fit all
- Be honest – ‘fake’ is easily exposed
- Be hopeful – today’s youth need you to believe in them
- Be proactive – it’s easy to be forgotten, change must be intentionally driven and visible
- Be brave – don’t get caught up in generational angst
The UCT Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing’s Youth 2018 report was most interesting and very informative
I came away feeling anxious but nevertheless hopeful.