LONDON: Young people globally recognise the future is likely to be less secure and more competitive for them than their parents experienced, yet they approach the challenge with optimism and see happiness as a key goal, a new survey has shown.

As many as 77% of millennials defined success as being happy and regarded wealth as being less important than emotional success, according to the "MTV Knowing Youth: 2020 Vision" report from Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN).

Its survey of 6,800 young people aged 15 to 24 covered 34 countries and found that this age group shared similar views about their prospects for the future irrespective of which country they came from.

They were acutely aware that they live in a very competitive world and to succeed they have developed a strong sense of personal responsibility, which the report described as the "key differentiator" for this generation.

They recognised that, unlike their parents, they were more likely to hold down a series of jobs rather than have a job for life and securing a fulfilling job during their portfolio career was regarded as more important by them than salary alone.

VIMN noted that a portfolio career would make the most of millennials' creativity and adaptability and that they regarded it as giving them more choice and control over their lives.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the younger generation was keen to travel, but they also revealed a strong global and societal outlook.

Over four-fifths (84%) said their generation has the potential to change the world for the better while the environment, world peace and the desire to keep expanding their social circle also scored highly among their priorities.

Millennials took a global view of connectedness and culture, the survey found, and were motivated by volunteering to help solve local problems as a way of making an overall positive change to the world.

Finally, while they expected advances in technology to make life easier in the future, they continued to place a premium on human contact and didn't want this jeopardised by scientific advances.

Data sourced from VIMN Insights; additional content by Warc staff