Opinions of Generation Z’s ambitions and priorities differ greatly between the generations

A new Ipsos MORI survey for the BBC seeks to establish the differences in views between Generation Z and Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers.

Opinions of Generation Z’s ambitions and priorities differ greatly between the generations

The author(s)

  • Hannah Whyte-Smith Ipsos Connect, UK
  • Emmeline Boreham Ipsos Connect, UK
  • Vanessa Patel Ipsos Connect, UK
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Almost 4 in 10 Generation Z’s in the United Kingdom would describe themselves as ‘hard working’ (38%), whereas around a quarter of Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers would describe Generation Z as ‘lazy’ (22%, 29% and 23% respectively), according to an Ipsos MORI survey carried out on behalf of the BBC.

Participants were asked what achievements would make Generation Z happiest in life, what is most important to Generation Z and whether they’ll have a better or worse life than the generation before them. The results are as follows:

  • Having a job they love is most important to Generation Z, followed by 17% who said having a family with kids would make them happiest in life. In contrast, only 1% of Generation X and Baby Boomers agreed that having a family with kids is important to Generation Z, and thought being on TV/famous was more important to them.
  • Older generations thought social media and a phone was most important to Generation Z, when actually 44% of Generation Z’s said their family was most important to them.
  • Generation Z are more optimistic about their future compared to other generations, with 25% saying they’ll have a better life than the generation before them. In contrast, only 15% of Generation Y, 10% of Generation X and 7% of Baby Boomers think Generation Z will have a better life than the generation before them.

The survey also set out to answer which issues were most important to all generations, and while there was agreement, it was apparent that Generation Z are hungry for equality.

The findings show:

  • Improving the NHS was a top priority for all generations (45% Generation Z, 50% Generation Y, 49% Generation X and 48% Baby Boomers).
  • Preventing acts of terrorism and making Britain’s economy work after Brexit were also in the top 3 priorities for all generations.
  • There were notable issues that Generation Z listed as more important to them compared to other generations - prejudice towards LGBTQ+ people (10% of Generation Z vs 1% Baby Boomers), gender equality (13% Generation Z vs 1% Baby Boomers) and racism (20% Generation Z vs 6% Baby Boomers).
  • Generation Z were more open to free movement, with a significant amount saying there should be no control on the free movement of people between different European countries (10% vs 7% Generation Y, 5% Generation X and 4% Baby Boomers). Over half of Baby Boomers think there needs to be greater control on the free movement of people (52%), compared to Generation Z (28%).

Technical note

The survey was carried out online by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the BBC. Interviews were conducted among a representative quota sample of 3,007 adults aged 16-65 in the United Kingdom between 24th August and 4th September 2017.

Data has been weighted by age, gender and social grade to the known online population profile.

The author(s)

  • Hannah Whyte-Smith Ipsos Connect, UK
  • Emmeline Boreham Ipsos Connect, UK
  • Vanessa Patel Ipsos Connect, UK

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