Work, housing, consumption: A study carried out by the Schörghuber Group with scientific support sheds light on the expectations for the future of young people between the ages of 16 and 35
Munich, 25 January 2024. Ongoing wars, the recent pandemic, and economic crises cannot dampen optimism about the future among young people living in Germany. A solid foundation comprising traditional values and very precise ideas about the options open to them when it comes to shaping their own future means that the Generation Future is taking an optimistic view of the coming years. This is the key finding of a study carried out for the first time this year by the Munich-based Schörghuber Group. Four renowned professors lent their support to the study. The study surveyed 2,000 people aged between 16 and 35, who represent Generations Y and Z and thus the group of people who will have a decisive impact on our society in the decades to come.
The study, which covered the five subject areas housing, work, mobility and travel, consumption and future expectations, paints a picture of a generation that is aware of the challenges of our time but views its future as something they can shape. It has concrete ideas about what role work should play in their lives and what an attractive employer must offer. And it provides insights into the levers that can be used to tackle climate change.
Housing: Are the real estate industry and the world of politics on the wrong track?
When asked what type of housing they prefer, most gave a quite traditional response: either a rented apartment, which is seen as an interim solution, or their own home. This is where Prof. Dr. Hanspeter Gondring, an expert in real estate economics, sees a discrepancy between young people's ideas and current practice in the real estate industry. "Particularly noteworthy is the clear preference given to traditional types of housing, while cooperative housing options, multi-generational forms of housing and shared apartments are rarely seen as alternatives."
There is something else that young people want that the real estate industry has yet to give due consideration: The study indicated that the majority of those surveyed could not imagine living in the future in a space smaller than the German average of 47 square meters. This is all the more remarkable in light of the fact that until now established real estate practice thought a decline in the required amount of space per person more likely.
Work: Work should be fun, but it's not!
Work should be fun – 85% of respondents agree with this statement. At the same time, three-quarters consider work a 'necessary evil' needed to earn money. Fewer than half say that they are working in the job of their dreams, while over 50 percent admit that they do not identify with their job to any great extent. What conclusion can be drawn? Jobs in Germany need to change in terms of flexibility and meaningfulness if they are to remain attractive to young people in the domestic labor market over the long term. "Contrary to numerous public preconceptions, members of the younger generations are highly motivated when it comes to work and a career," concludes Prof. Dr. Klaus Hurrelmann. The renowned youth researcher thinks that companies that respond to the desire for flexible working hours have a good chance of scoring points, especially with young women. "In recent years, young women have become increasingly better qualified and are therefore of great interest to companies."
Mobility: Is transport policy drawing the right conclusions?
The study also sheds light on differences between people who live in more rural areas and those who live in the city. They all however have one thing in common. They do not want to or cannot do without a car. This means that there is an overwhelming majority who use their (own) car for both getting to work and for other purposes. Although public transport is more popular with Generation Z in general, it still unable to keep pace with cars. Prof. Dr. Stephan Rammler sees these results as clarion call to those responsible for transport policy. "The structural dominance of the car overall is evident and it won't decline significantly in the foreseeable future. This means that, from a transport and climate policy perspective, automobility needs to be optimized technically (increased efficiency, e-mobility) without calling it into question as a whole," says the mobility researcher and futurologist.
Consumption: Make a sacrifice for climate protection? Only if it doesn't hurt
The majority of respondents have already changed their consumer behavior with focus on sustainability. Their willingness to make significant sacrifices to protect the climate, however, appears to have its limits, as preference is primarily given to everyday things such as waste recycling. As soon as a sacrifice is associated with costs or restrictions, for example price increases aimed at improving animal welfare or more expensive air travel, willingness drops significantly. "This could mean that alternative economies, such as the post-growth economy, the economy for the common good and the sharing economy, are coming up against their limits," says Prof. Dr. Konstanze Senge, professor of economic and organizational sociology. She also finds it striking that, when it comes to sustainable consumer behavior, the highest level of rejection is in the context of mobility. "That's astonishing in view of the fact that e-mobility is supposed to be one of the key technologies of the future."
Expectations for the future: a positive outlook
Generation Future's overall view of their future is surprisingly optimistic. A clear majority takes a positive view of the future, while fewer than one-fifth have a negative view. One might well have expected otherwise. In a time in which existence-threatening crises are piling up, one on top of the other, young people under the age of 35 appear to be much more resilient than is often assumed in the political debate. But what is the basis for this optimism? According to the researchers, it is robust ideas about how this generation wants to shape their private lives, in combination with traditional family and relationship values that provide clear, reliable structures in challenging times. Most of those surveyed want a family with which they also want to live together. The majority of Generation Future also see a positive future for any children they might have.
"The study paints a fascinating picture of Generation Future, a kind of 'modern Biedermeier' that indicates that people are increasingly taking refuge in the private sphere and placing greater emphasis on traditional values in times of complex crises," concludes Florian Schörghuber, co-CEO of the Schörghuber Group. "This study also provides many valuable insights for us as a company, be it in the context of developing real estate projects, new products and services, or positioning ourselves as an attractive employer. The question as to how our society will change in the coming years and decades is of vital importance to us. After all, how we live, how we work and what we consume are all topics that we are examining closely in the five areas of business in which we operate, with the aim of enjoying continued success in the future and contributing to improving people's quality of life."
About the study
The Schörghuber Group commissioned Kantar to conduct a representative survey of 2,000 people living in Germany aged 16 to 35 for its study on the Generation Future. The survey comprises approximately 50 questions and is divided into five sections: housing, work, mobility and travel, consumption and future expectations.
The study with figures, charts and other results can be downloaded free of charge at www.schoerghuber.group
About the Schörghuber Group
The Schörghuber Group was founded in 1954 and is now in its third generation of family ownership. The group has its headquarters in Munich and enjoys success in both the national and international markets with its five business divisions Development, Real Estate, Beverages, Hotels and Seafood. The group includes Bayerische Hausbau GmbH & Co. KG, Paulaner Brauerei Gruppe GmbH & Co. KGaA as a joint venture with Heineken International B.V., Arabella Hospitality SE and the Chilean company Productos del Mar Ventisqueros S. A. The holding company assumes responsibility for strategic management of the group in line with the three family values quality, innovation and sustainability. The Schörghuber Group has a workforce of over 5,200 employees worldwide. www.schoerghuber.group
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