A new study by Dell Technologies gives Generation Z a pragmatic view of the problems facing us today. And the internationally conducted survey at least gives reason for hope, because the study’s most important finding is probably that sustainability is becoming increasingly important for „Generation Z,“ people born between 1997 and 2012.

The top priorities are: More sustainability in energy supply and public transport, and the promotion of the circular economy.
Digital know-how must be imparted and promoted at an earlier stage in order to implement these priorities in practice.

Sustainability in energy supply and public transport

The „Future Proof“ report shows that Generation Z certainly gives decision-makers time to develop and implement strategies for sustainable economic growth. However, in their eyes, a prerequisite for this is a convincing, long-term plan for a sustainable digital future.

Almost half (47%) of Generation Z worldwide and in Germany would accept short-term sacrifices to give governments time to plan a sustainable and digitally inspired future. This is confirmed by the results of the latest study for which the company surveyed more than 15,000 young adults of Generation Z (18 – 26 years) in 15 countries.

Trend-Studie zur Generation Z- Stets digital vernetzt mit Smartphones. Nachhaltigkeit wird wichtiger. Foto- Envato
„Future Proof“-Studie: Generation Z setzt auf Nachhaltigkeit. Foto: Yang Miao via Unsplash

Greentech for overcoming the climate crisis

Almost two-thirds of the participants (64%) believe that technology will play a key role in overcoming current problems such as the climate crisis; in Germany, the figure is 60%.

For the participants in the study, sustainable energy supply (42 %, Germany: 39 %), the promotion of circular economy (39 %, Germany: 29 %) and more sustainability in public transport (29 % worldwide as well as in Germany) are the three most important task areas for governments. A quarter of respondents (25 % worldwide and also in Germany) were also in favor of appropriate training programs for citizens on the subject of sustainability.

Sustainable future needs trust and security

However, confidence that public investment in a sustainable future will allow the economy to flourish within 10 years is not very strong among Generation Z: globally and in Germany, almost one-third (32%) have little or no confidence, 38% (Germany: 42%) are still uncertain, and only 30% (Germany: 26%) have high or absolute confidence.

For more than half of respondents (56%, Germany: 54%), cyber security is a prerequisite for a prosperous digitally driven future. Reliable legislation and higher investment are needed to protect national infrastructures and ensure that companies meet high security standards. 38% (Germany: 34%) would like to see close cooperation between the private and public sectors to achieve this.

Trend-Studie zur Generation Z: Stets digital vernetzt mit Smartphones – und Nachhaltigkeit wird wichtiger. Foto: Envato

 

Overcoming the „digital gap“

Generation Z is aware of how important it is to learn the necessary digital skills for their own professional future. More than three quarters (76%) worldwide and in Germany see this as elementary for their careers. However, they see training as ill-equipped for this: At 37%, more than a third believe that schooling under the age of 16 has only insufficiently familiarized them with the necessary technological and digital skills.

44% (Germany: 47%) were taught only rudimentary IT skills at school, and 12% worldwide and in Germany even had to do without them altogether, according to their own statements. Around a third (34%, Germany: 31%) of respondents therefore believe it is necessary to make technology courses more interesting and more widely available at all levels of education. Around a quarter (26%, Germany: 23%) believe mandatory courses for students under 16 could inspire them to pursue technology-related careers.

When asked what they would prioritize for government investment to overcome unequal access to digital knowledge, respondents primarily mentioned better equipping disadvantaged groups with devices and network access (33%, Germany: 20%) and improving network coverage in rural areas (24%, Germany: 33%).

For the „Future Proof“ report, 15,105 Generation Z adults (18 – 26 years) were surveyed in 15 countries worldwide, including over 1,000 in Germany. More information at: