Under pressure? You must live in Asia not Europe

According to the new Ipsos MORI Global Trends Survey, many countries around the world have seen an increase in the number of their citizens who feel under pressure to be successful and make money.

Under pressure? You must live in Asia not Europe

The author(s)

  • Ben Page Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI
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  • Emerging markets most likely to feel pressure and to value material success – while established economies less optimistic for the future
  • Strong belief in the importance of a good work-life balance
  • Also increase in proportion who feel they have enough trouble worrying about their own problems to worry about other people’s

According to the new Ipsos MORI Global Trends Survey, due to be launched in May 2017, many countries around the world have seen an increase in the number of their citizens who feel under pressure to be successful and make money.  Overall, the survey, conducted among online adults aged under 65 in 23 countries around the world, found on average 54% felt that they felt under a lot of pressure to be successful and make money, an increase of seven points on a like-for-like basis between 2014 and 2016.  The survey also finds continued high levels of support for the idea that it is more important to have a good work-life balance than a successful career, with 81% agreeing across the 23 countries.

The survey finds that 15 of the countries covered have seen a rise between 2014 and 2016 in the number of people feeling under pressure to be successful.  All parts of the world are seeing an increase in their citizens feeling under pressure:

  • In Europe – Belgium (up 16 points), France (up 10), Sweden (up 10), Germany (up 8), Britain (up 7), Spain (up 6) and Italy (also up 6)
  • In North America – the United States (up 10) and Canada (up 8)
  • In Asia-Pacific –Australia (up 15), South Korea (up 11), and Japan (up 8)
  • In emerging economies in the rest of the world –Brazil (up 15), India (up 11) and South Africa (up 9).

Overall, emerging markets are more likely to feel under pressure than established economies (by 62% to 49% - especially in countries such as South Africa, India and China, compared with European countries such as Italy, Sweden, Spain and France), and younger generations (Millennials and Gen Z) are more likely to feel the pressure than older generations.  There is little difference though by level of income.

Ipsos Global Trends 2017

Of course, most people want to achieve success – even if that means disruption to their current lives – but that does not mean that the majority only value success by material possessions.  On average, two in three agree that they want to “achieve success personally and professionally, even if I have to totally change the way I live”, but only a minority (37%) say they measure their success by the things that they own.    Again, in both cases, these apparently materialist views are much higher in emerging markets than in established economies.  For example, the desire for success even at the cost of personal disruption is highest in India, Mexico, South Africa, Peru and China, and lowest in Italy and Sweden, while material success is valued most in China, India, Turkey and Brazil, and least in Spain, Sweden, Britain and Canada (and Argentina).  Younger generations, too – the Millennials and Gen Z – are more likely to say they measure success in material terms.

Ipsos Global Trends 2017

Ipsos Global Trends 2017

Perhaps related to the pressure that many people are feeling, there is strong belief in every country in this study in the importance of a good work-life balance.  On average, 81% agree that “it is more important to have a good work-life balance than to have a successful career”, and in no country does agreement dip below 70%.

Ipsos Global Trends 2017

Alongside this increase in pressure, many countries around the world see an increase in the proportion of their citizens who say “I have enough trouble worrying about my own problems than worrying about other people’s”.  There has been an increase in 16 of the countries surveyed, again from around the world: Belgium (up 9 points since 2014), Brazil (+7), Canada (+5), China (+7), France (+9), Germany (+10), India (+9), Italy (+9), Japan (+7), Poland (+7), Russia (+8), South Korea (+8), Spain (+12), Sweden (+13), Turkey (+18), and the US (+9).

Ipsos Global Trends 2017

Overall, 56% across the 23 countries feel they have enough trouble worrying about their own problems, but in this case established economies tend to be more caught up in their own issues than emerging markets (by 57% to 51% - especially in the US, South Korea, Australia, Canada and Belgium while lowest in Peru, Indonesia, Argentina and Mexico).  This may be related to the greater level of pessimism for the future in established economies.  Overall, only 37% on average across the 23 countries say they think today’s youth will be better able to have a successful career than their parents, while 40% think it will be worse.    However, among emerging markets optimists are in the majority at 56% - but in established economies like the UK and France they are very much in the minority at just 24%.

Ipsos Global Trends 2017

Ben Page, Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI said:

“The Optimism Divide is one of the 8 key trends we see across the world, with it looking very different depending on whether you are in London, Paris or Rome compared to Mumbai, Shanghai or Jakarta.  People in emerging markets are most positive about the future, and are embracing the rewards of growth and material success.  In contrast, in many established economies like the UK, there are signs of retrenchment, and real pessimism about the prospects for future generations.  A better work-life balance, though, would be welcomed everywhere in the world.”

Technical Notes

The 2017 Global Trends Survey is an Ipsos survey conducted with 18,180 adults aged 16-64 (in the US and Canada 18-64) between 12 September and 11 October 2016. This is the second wave of the Global Trends Survey – a previous version was run in 2013 with 20 countries and the report was published in 2014.

The survey was carried out online using the Ipsos Online Panel System in 23 countries -Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Japan, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. The 2014 wave covered the same countries, except for Indonesia, Mexico and Peru.

Approximately 1000+ individuals were surveyed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Spain, Great Britain and the United States of America.  Approximately 500+ individuals were surveyed in Argentina, Belgium, Poland, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey.

In established markets with a higher level of internet penetration (more than 60% online), the results can be taken as representative of the general working age population. However, in emerging markets where internet penetration is lower, the results should be viewed as representative of a more urban, affluent and ‘connected’ population.

The results are weighted to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to the most recent country census data, and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe.  Total global data have not been weighted by population size, but are simply a country average.

Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses, or the exclusion of don’t knows or not stated responses. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

The author(s)

  • Ben Page Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI

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