Gen A rejects designer brands

9 July 2013
LONDON: Teenagers in the UK have markedly different views to their older siblings, with a new survey indicating they are less materialistic and more interested in working hard and having a job they enjoy.

Britain Thinks, the strategic advice business, carried out focus groups and interviews in three English cities, London, Coventry and Leeds, with 649 young people aged 14 to 18 and their parents.

Deborah Mattinson, co-founder of Britain Thinks, told the Observer that, despite what people might think, today's teenagers, dubbed generation A, were not hooked on becoming pop stars or footballers.

"Being famous and on the telly and owning designer brands are dismissed by almost all in our survey," she said. "I see celebrity as a zoo," added one 14-year-old. "Why would I want to be in a zoo?"

"They are not afraid of hard work either," Mattinson said. "Two thirds say they'd rather work than be on benefits, even if it paid less."

In addition, 78% said they would still choose to work even if they were rich enough not to have to. And 70% saw their most important achievement in the next decade as having a job they loved.

This was far ahead of the next most-cited potential achievements of having a university degree (35%) and owning their own home (29%).

The Observer noted a "potential disappointment gap", as half the young people surveyed expected their parents to help them buy a home but only 30% of parents thought they would be able to do so.

None of the teenagers expected to be out of work, even though the current youth unemployment rate is running at 20%.

There was widespread anticipation, however, that opportunities might be found beyond the UK. Some 65% were concerned they would find few opportunities in the UK, while 45% thought that living and working abroad would improve their chances of living the life they wanted.

Mattinson also remarked on the democratic deficit apparent in the survey, as only a third of respondents said they thought that a political party could help them to achieve their aims, while just 55% thought they had an obligation to vote.

"It's a generation in danger of giving up on party politics," said Mattinson.

Data sourced from the Observer; additional content by Warc staff
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