PH millennials less optimistic on economy, business – survey

Published July 15, 2021, 12:56 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Filipino millennials believe the country’s economic prospects to worsen in the next twelve months while their view on business’s impact on society also declined, indicating signs of waning optimism among the youth as the pandemic enters its second year, a survey showed.

Deloitte’s 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey, now on its 10th year, once again asked thousands of individuals belonging to these generational cohorts (14,655 millennials and 8,273 Gen Zs) for their views on the issues shaping their environment, the impact this pandemic has had on them, and their expectations for the future. In the Philippines, 300 millennials and 100 Gen Zs were polled in the first quarter of 2021. Millennials are those born from 1981-1996 or under age bracket 25-40 while the Gen Z is the newest generation, born between 1997 and 2012.

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As gleaned from the survey results, there has been deflated expectations of the youth on the country’s economic prospects in the near future. The survey showed that 24 percent of Filipino millennials expect the Philippines’ overall economic situation to worsen in the next 12 months, compared to 14 percent last year, while 33 percent of their Gen Z peers expect that same decline.

With regard to the Philippines’ overall sociopolitical situation, 21 percent of Filipino millennials (compared to last year’s 11 percent) and 34 percent of Gen Zs expect it to worsen in the next few months.

In addition, the survey showed growing pessimism on millennials’ views on business’s impact on society.

In 2019, the survey noted that 76 percent of Filipino millennials thought business has a “very” or “fairly positive” impact on society. That figure went up to 82 percent last year but has gone down to 62 percent in 2021. An even smaller fraction of Filipino Gen Zs – 57 percent – believe in business’s positive impact on society. Globally, about 47 percent of millennials and Gen Zs hold this view.

The young generation has also showed higher awareness on other issues. Asked about their greatest personal concerns, Filipino millennials, like their global peers, pointed to healthcare and disease prevention and unemployment.

But for Filipino Gen Zs, corruption within business or politics emerged as the most concerning issue, one that did not figure in the top three issues of either millennials or Gen Zs globally. Global Gen Zs cited climate change/the environment as their topmost concern.

When asked on the compliance of respective governments’ health and safety guidelines, the results showed that 9 out of 10 millennials and Gen Zs said they regularly wore facemasks when out in public, while 70 percent of millennials and 69 percent of Gen Zs said they avoided public transport and other crowded places.

Two-thirds of Filipino Gen Zs report feeling stressed most of the time, compared to 46 percent of millennials.

The wear and tear of the past year looks to have had varying effects on millennials and Gen Zs: 46 percent of Filipino millennials report feeling anxious or stressed all or most of the time, an improvement from last year’s 57 percent, and about at par with this year’s global figure of 41 percent.

Alarmingly, 67 percent of Filipino Gen Zs report feeling stressed most of the time compared to 47 percent of their global peers. This figure grows further when one considers only women Gen Zs in the Philippines: nearly 8 out of 10 of them report feeling anxious most of the time.

Both millennials and Gen Zs in the Philippines cited the welfare of their families as top contributors to their feelings of anxiety. But while this was followed by longer-term financial future for millennials, Gen Zs cited their physical and medical health as their next major stressor.

On bigger issues such as societal inequalities and injustices that have become more pronounced during the pandemic, survey results showed that 4 out of 10 Filipino Gen Zs said they frequently feel discriminated against on social media, by their own government, and by businesses because of some aspect of their backgrounds.

People’s ethnicity or race are the most common cited causes for discrimination, but there are multiple reasons that also include socioeconomic status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identification, and sex.

Over 60 percent of Filipino millennials and Gen Zs also believe that systemic racism is fairly widespread in media, in society in general, in the political system, and in the police force. Although both Filipino millennials and Gen Zs consider the workplace as the setting where they are least likely to experience discrimination, over 50 percent of them hold the belief that racism is widespread there as well.

Despite the waning optimism among the youth on the country’s economic outlook, the survey showed that Filipino millennials and Gen Zs are still able to see the silver lining in this crisis.

Nine out of 10 Filipino millennials and Gen Zs say this pandemic has inspired them to take positive action to improve their own lives, and 8 out of 10 say they have already taken action to try and have a positive impact on their communities, compared to just over half of their global peers. Eighty-five percent of Filipino millennials and 79 percent of Gen Zs report a strong sense that everyone around the world is “in this together,” compared to 63 percent of millennials and 60 percent of Gen Zs globally, suggesting that the Filipino youth have more hope that the world in general will emerge from this crisis as a better, more compassionate society.

Meantime, Eric Landicho, Deloitte Philippines Managing Partner & CEO, cited the impact of the pandemic on women, who have had to disproportionately take on additional household and caregiving responsibilities.

Landicho also pointed out that 64 percent of the Gen Z respondents from the Philippines were actively enrolled – either in university or in high school – when the survey was conducted. The difficulties that the local academic community experienced in shifting to remote learning may have also contributed to these feelings of distress.

“These results reflect the tumultuous world these two generational cohorts are growing up in and perhaps also point to their distrust of established institutions. As we have seen during this pandemic, though, this hasn’t stopped them from taking action. If anything, it may have even fueled their sense of activism as they mobilized to address the problems they were seeing in their communities, such as growing hunger and unequal access to education,” said Landicho.

“Our years of research have shown us that millennials and Gen Zs are generally values-driven, action-oriented generations, so even in the face of great disruptions and challenges, they are undeterred in their efforts to make positive changes in their communities. The businesses that match that motivation with their own commitment to positive, societal impact are in a better position to attract and retain these movers and future leaders.”

 
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