Thinkhouse’s Youth Lab insights, strategy and planning division has launched ‘Emerging in an Emergency’, the 2021 Irish edition of Youth Culture Uncovered, its fifth annual youth culture investigation exploring the hypothesis, “what’s it like to be young today?” The investigations incorporate both qualitative and quantitative research studies.
The studies are designed to understand life through the lens of 16-35-year-olds, providing brand owners with insight and intelligence to resonate better with youth audiences, respond to their challenges and ensure continued relevance in the long term. The 2021 version provides a raw, real perspective on how young people are emerging from the crisis.
Young people are 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. The investigation challenges the idea that 16-35 year olds will simply bounce back back into a pre-Covid ‘normal life’ existence.
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 1920’s 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.
- 49 per cent do not trust the state to actively govern in their best interest
- 72 per cent believe younger generations are left to pick up the pieces of older generations’ mistakes
- 41 per cent believe that based on Irish society’s Covid-19 responses, younger generations (16-35 year olds) matter less compared to older cohorts
- 61 per cent believe Ireland is a society run “by the old for the old”
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.
- 66 per cent claim to have a new perspective on life and how society is organised after going through COVID-19
- 73 per cent believe that society needs systematic economic and societal restructuring
- 59 per cent are energised to fight for more systematic economic and societal change
- 69 per cent of 16-24 year olds claim to consciously choose to support businesses that deliver more sustainable products and services, (up from 66 per cent in 2021).
- 64 per cent of 25-35 year olds claim to consciously choose to support businesses that deliver more sustainable products and services, (up from 53 per cent in 2019).
As young people voice out to fight for themselves and other unequals, The Youth Lab highlights the opportunity for brands, businesses and organisations to emerge from this period of upheaval with a re-imagined sense of their own voice, and a conviction to use it with positive intent. The findings highlight that to be relevant to this generation of young people during this period of upheaval, the immediate opportunity is to be “a voice for youth”, suggesting three pathways to relevance:
DISMANTLE THE OLD –
Be a voice for change: be a transformer pushing for radical change
Be a voice for hope: be a beacon of hope and optimism amidst uncertainty
DELIVER THE NOW –
Be a voice for authenticity: be who you are supposed to be, delivering on your promise
Be a voice for proximity: be accessible and a quick problem-solver
WELCOME THE NEW –
Be a voice for escape: be a purveyor of escape giving young people a break
Be a voice for innovation and difference: be new and different, bring new culture makers into the mix
The investigation challenges the idea that 16-35 year olds will simply bounce back back into a pre-Covid ‘normal life’ existence, and explores how youth’s pent up energy is manifesting into a brave confidence to “voice out” – challenging society’s expectation of young people and society itself.