As the country emerges from a series of lockdowns and into a new post-pandemic era, one of the most impacted demographics in Irish society – those aged between 16-35 – have expressed their views and concerns in the latest Youth Culture Uncovered Report which is published by Thinkhouse.
This year’s Youth Culture report, Emerging from an Emergency: The Roaring Twenties 2.0 –‘Voicing Out’ in the 21st Century provides a “raw, real perspective on how young people, already understood to be the first generation to not see the same sort of advancement relative to their parents, and further disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, are emerging from the crisis,” according to the report.
“Pandemic history has taught us to expect a post-pandemic radical upheaval and 2021 post-pandemic landscape is not dissimilar, although the flapper flamboyance of the 1920s has been replaced with an unapologetically outspoken youth voice – a now or never attitude and sentiment flowing from young people, because in a world stacked against them, young people have no other choice but to roar,” says the report.
According to the report 49% do not trust the state to actively govern in their best interest while 72% believe younger generations are left to pick up the pieces of older generations’ mistakes. In addition, 41% believe that based on Irish society’s Covid-19 responses, younger generations (16-35 year olds) matter less compared to older cohorts and 61% believe Ireland is a society run “by the old for the old.”
According to Laura Costello, strategy director, Purpose & Planet, Thinkhouse and co-author of the report: “It really does feel like a huge, historic, moment – one where we are being called to carefully listen to others (and our planet) in new ways in order to find the right questions and feed our collective resilience into the future. The post-pandemic world for young people is a groundswell of discontent, combined with a collapse of trust. Youth are up against a bleak today and an uncertain tomorrow. They are feeling both ignored and unsupported, further widening the intergenerational chasm of ‘old’ versus ‘young’ with 61% claiming that ‘Ireland is a society run by the old for the old.’ But it’s not game over. Their pent up energy is manifesting in their voicing out in an unapologetically outspoken way. Expect young people to push all of us out of our comfort zones. This is an invitation to grow together in new ways.”
The report also notes that policy makers, brands and other organisations can expect “a reinvigorated young population to speak their truth and voice out and voice loud for a rebalancing of the social contract with systematic economic and social restructuring at its core – from climate change to housing, toxic work cultures to unsustainable or dishonest business practices, youth are demanding honesty, transparency, accountability and positive action.”
According to the research undertaken by Thinkhouse, 66% claim to have a new perspective on life and how society is organised after going through COVID-19 while 73% believe that society needs systematic economic and societal restructuring. When it comes to change, 59% are energised to fight for more systematic economic and societal change.
With sustainability and climate change high on the news agenda this week, the report also notes that 69% of 16-24 year olds claim to consciously choose to support businesses that deliver more sustainable products and services, (up from 66% in 2019). In addition, 64% of 25-35 year olds claim to consciously choose to support businesses that deliver more sustainable products and services, (up from 53% in 2019).
“Young people’s voicing out is a rallying call of togetherness against the inequalities they face, but it is also a cry for help to older generations to shift old systems, realise new orders and re-balance the social contract in a way that gives young people a fair chance of security, opportunity and happiness. The brands and businesses that take leadership roles in voicing out for young people are those that are likely to resonate with young people. Choose not to act, and it could be a dealbreaker,” says Claire Hyland, Head of The Youth Lab, Thinkhouse.
Thinkhouse will be hosting an online event to discuss the findings of its latest Youth Culture Uncovered report next Thursday, August 19 at 8.30am. To register to attend contact firstname.lastname@example.org