It was a pleasure to partner with Urban Taskforce Australia to produce the “Sydney Lifestyle Study”, launched to a room of urban developers, government representatives, and industry stakeholders this week.
The 2017 Sydney Lifestyle Study is a first-ever research study on Sydney’s apartment dwellers. Insights from the ABS and a new survey of 1,503 Sydney residents shed light on the different demographic segments in Sydney apartments and their lifestyle choices, habits, motivations and reasons for choosing apartment living.
A lot has changed in Australia over a very short period of time. Over a quarter of a century ago, in the year 1991, the population of Australia had just surpassed 16 million.
The median age was 32 years old and median individual income was just $13,950 per annum.
More than one in three (36%) Australians lived in New South Wales where individual income was slightly higher at $14,395.
Home owners in New South Wales paid a median monthly mortgage repayment of $627 while renters paid just $128 per week.
Fast-forward to today and the Australian population is on track to reach 25 million persons in early 2018.
That’s more than 50% higher than in 1991.
Our population has increased our median age to 38, both nationally and in New South Wales.
Today, median personal income in New South Wales has reached $34,528 per year while median mortgage repayments have more than doubled at $1,986 per month.
Median rent has nearly tripled to $380 per week.
Sydney’s urban lifestyles
Such population growth is changing the housing stock in Sydney. Sydneysiders have been trading traditional detached homes for apartments at an increasing rate. Currently, 30% of all households in Sydney’s urban area now live in apartments.
Sydney’s growing apartment market is comprised of nearly half a million households, representing many diverse cultures, languages and backgrounds.
McCrindle has identified four emerging urban family household types within Sydney’s apartment market. These are Vertical Families, Cosmo Couples, Solo Metropolites and One-Parent Households.
Vertical families make up one in five apartment households (20%).
They are most likely to be young Gen Ys as nearly two in three (64%) are aged between 23 and 37.
The second emerging family type who are increasingly adopting the apartment lifestyle are urban couples.
The number of couples with no children living in apartments has increased by 21% since 2011 and now represents over one quarter (27%) of apartment households.
Sydney’s largest apartment segment is made up of lone persons (34%).
Three in five are renters (63%) and the largest generation represented are Baby Boomers aged between 53 and 71 (37%).
The fourth urban segment is one of the smallest but by no means insignificant. Single parents with children comprise one in 12 apartment dwellers (8%) in Sydney.
Single parents living in apartments are most likely aged between 38 and 52 (49%).
Sydney’s future forecast
Sydney in 2024
If the current trends observed across Sydney over the past five years continue, the number of traditional detached houses could drop to 49% by as early as 2024.
Filling the gap apartments would then make up 34% of Sydney’s total housing stock. The remaining housing stock (17%) would be made up of semi-detached or terrace housing.
The launch of the iPad in 2010 coincided with the beginning of our current generation of children, Generation Alpha. There are now 2.5 million Gen Alphas being born around the globe each week.
We named them ‘Generation Alpha’ to signify not just a new generation, but a generation that will be shaped by an entirely different world. That is why we moved to the Greek alphabet, to signify this different generation that will be raised in a new world of technological integration.
How will Gen Alpha's experience of technology differ from Gen Y and Z?
Gen Alpha were born into a world of iPhones (in fact the Oxford English Dictionaries word of the year in 2010 when they were first born was “app”), YouTube (where there are now 100 hours of videos uploaded every minute), and Instagram (where life is photographed and shared instantly and globally).
While Gen Y and Z are very tech-savvy and digitally connected, Gen Alpha will be the first entire generation to have technology seamlessly integrated into their lives. Gen Y and certainly some of the older Gen Zed’s will remember a time before iPhones and social media, whereas for all Generation Alpha’s these devices will be a part of their upbringing from a very early age.
What advantages will Gen Alpha’s technological literacy give them compared with the older generations?
Gen Alpha babies will grow up to be smarter, richer, and healthier and will obtain the highest level of formal education in history.
Because their parents will indulge them in more formal education and at an earlier age, Gen Alpha will have access to more information than any other generation. Their formal education has never been equalled in the history of the world, with a predicted 1 in 2 Gen Alphas to obtain a university degree.
As a result of seamlessly integrating technology and devices into their lives from such a young age, Generation Alpha will have a better foundation to build their technological literacy.
What technologies shape the lives of Gen Alpha?
Technology has and will continue to change how we, and Generation Alpha communicate. It’s a world of ‘Screenagers’ where not only do they multi-screen and multi-task, but glass has become the new medium for content dissemination. Unlike the medium of paper, it is kinaesthetic, visual, interactive, connective and still portable.
Glass was something that Gen Y’s were told to look through and keep their fingers off. For Gen Alpha, glass is a medium they touch, talk, and look at.
Gen Alpha truly are the ‘millennial generation’, born and shaped fully in the 21st century, and the first generation (in record numbers) who will welcome the 22nd century.
Gen Alphas are logged on and linked up, digital natives. They are the most materially endowed and technologically literate generation to ever grace the planet!
About Ashley Fell
Ashley Fell is a social researcher, TEDx speaker and Head of Communications at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a trends analyst and media commentator she understands how to effectively communicate across diverse audiences. From her experience in managing media relations,
social media platforms and content creation,
Ashley advises on how to achieve cut through in
message-saturated times. She is an expert in how to
communicate across generational barriers.
Download Ashley's Speaker Pack here, and view her speakers reel below.
The Greater Sydney Commission has highlighted that the future of Sydney will not be centred around the Harbour and the CBD but rather it will be a city of three cities.
The Plan for a Growing Sydney outlines what Sydneysiders are increasingly doing - living, working and connecting within their region of this global city.
The Commission defines these three “30-minute cities” as the Eastern city encompassing the harbour and CBD all the way west to Macquarie Park; the Central city, which runs from there, west to incorporate Blacktown; and the Western City which extends all the way to Penrith and the foothills of the Blue Mountains.
Not only is the Hills district strategically located in the heart of this Central city, but it is one of the few areas in Sydney outside the CBD which is already achieving the goal of “a city with smart jobs”. The Hills district has more than 80,000 local jobs and a population a bit over 160,000 people.
Therefore, it has one local job for every two residents. Compare this to South West Sydney, Southern Sydney and Greater Western Sydney, which each only have one local job for every three residents.
Based on the current growth, by 2037 the Hills district will have increased its population by almost 100,000 people. To keep this impressive local jobs provision ratio, by then it will have to add almost 50,000 new local jobs.
This entrepreneurial hotspot, located close to the geographical and population centre of Sydney, and with the help of the growing number of small businesses, will probably achieve this goal.
Based on the current rise in the number of businesses in the Hills Shire, growing at more than 4% per year, there will be twice as many businesses locally in 20 years than the 20,000 operating here today.
Twenty years ago, the first stage of Norwest Business Park was just getting underway and Norwest Boulevard did not connect through to Old Windsor Road.
In twenty years’ time, Western Sydney airport will have been up and running for a decade, Norwest Business Park with the Metro and high-rises will feel a lot like a CBD and the local population will exceed a quarter of a million people.
If the current infrastructure investment and local economy keeps pace, the Hills will achieve all the elements of the Greater Sydney Commission vision to be not only a growing city, but an efficient, resilient, diverse, collaborative and equitable one as well.
Black Friday is the retail super-day popular in the US and in 2017 it is November 24. It is the day following the Thanksgiving public holiday and in some states it is an additional holiday.
All of this has combined to make it the unofficial start to the Christmas shopping season, and the biggest single shopping day of the year.
It has grown significantly over the last decade and last year, more than 100 million Americans went shopping on this one day, ringing up sales exceeding US$50 billion. For many stores, Black Friday and the shopping season launches a revenue boon that pushes revenues into the black, thus the eponymous name.
Without the Thanksgiving marker, or any public holidays, Black Friday is currently not a big event in Australia. In fact this national research we have just conducted shows that less than 1 in 20 Australians (4.7%) are expecting sales, and more than 1 in 4 (27%) have never even heard of it.
40% of Australians say Black Friday doesn’t really happen in Australia and another 39% don’t know.
Most Australians (54%) don’t know whether Black Friday is online only or also in stores.
Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday, popular for online shopping super sales, has even lower awareness in Australia. Considering we are in a global marketplace, used to adopting retail trends from the US, the current low awareness of these sale super-days in Australia may be a surprise. However, the mass engagement with Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US is really only a decade old, and so the years ahead will see a higher profile for these sale days in Australia.
Australians are up for a bargain, whatever the day is called, with 1 in 3 Australians (34%) agreeing that they will definitely be looking out for stores offering discounts. Even without the tradition of these sales, or the associated public holidays, late November presents an ideal opportunity for local retailers to kick start their Christmas sales, and so we can expect to hear more about Black Friday in coming years.
What do Gen Z aspire to be when they grow up? Social researcher Eliane Miles was recently asked to unpack the latest findings from the Australian Institute on Family Studies on ABC The Drum.
Gender-based career preferences
The research identified there are significant gender differences among Gen Zs aged 14 and 15 when they think about their possible futures. Boys gravitate most towards engineering (14% of those who stated an occupation), information technology (10%), construction (9%), automotive (8%), or sports (6%), while the top five occupations chosen by girls were medical professionals (13%), education professionals (11%), legal (11%), personal services (7%), and performance arts (7%). Just three occupations (health, design, and performance arts) overlapped among both genders when looking at the top ten list.
Girls need more inspiration to move towards STEM
While are naturally career preferences that appeal to each gender (with Eliane’s commentary highlighting that this is strongly linked to parental influence, as shown in our work with the Career Industry Council of Australia), there are challenges that may emerge for women in future-proofing their careers.
We know that Australia’s workforce is at the cusp of significant change. In 2030, the majority of the jobs that we will do (85%, according to Dell Technologies) are not yet invented. Yet 75% of the fastest growing careers require STEM skills – qualifications and skills in science, technology, engineering and maths. As we look across Australia’s educational landscape, just 16% of STEM graduates in our nation are female, highlighting the continuing need to lift the profile of STEM careers for female school-leavers among parents, educators, and media personalities.
Fantasies or a new work order?
There were a disproportionate number of ‘fantasy-type’ occupations listed in the AIFS study, things like ICT (‘games developer’, ‘YouTuber’, and ‘blogger’), sports (professional AFL player), and performing arts (actor, ballet dancer). And, not surprisingly, 41% of young people aged 14 and 15 didn’t have a clue as to what they want to do when they are older.
This uncertainty of the future is to be expected, and not only among Gen Z. In an era of multiple careers, lifelong learning, the gig-economy, in which digital disruption is bringing whole sectors to an end, and new jobs are emerging each year (nanotechnology, virtual reality engineers, user-experience managers, data designers etc.), what will the future of work look like?
Our average length of job tenure is now less than three years, and three in ten workers now work casually or contractually (up from one in ten three decades ago). Today’s school leaver will have multiple jobs (17) across many (5+) careers, and part of their reality on the job is that they will constantly be learning. We all will be. By 2030, workers will be spending at least 30% more time on the job learning.
As the workforce shifts (with 32% of our workforce comprised of Gen Z in a decade’s time), so will our mindsets in regards to careers and the future of work. Yes, Gen Zs will bring idealism and self-assuredness, but they will also bring a new wave of entrepreneurialism that might just be what we need to face disruption and manage change. They, and we all, will need to increase our level of critical thinking, problem solving, and digital skills as we move towards this new reality.
About Eliane Miles
Eliane Miles is a social researcher, business strategist and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. From the key demographic transformations such as population growth and the ageing workforce to social trends such as changing household structures and emerging lifestyle expectations, from generational change to the impact of technology, Eliane delivers research based presentations dealing with the big global and national trends.
If you would like to have Eliane Miles speak at your next event, please feel free to get in touch.
The latest census data, released last month, highlights how much commuting will be transformed for Australians in the years ahead.
Two in three Australians who work, put in at least 35 hours per week (62%) and half of all couple families are two-income earning households (47.4%). Australians also spend longer in the education system, with one in three adults having attained a tertiary qualification, and more than one in five (22%) have a university degree.
However, most of the commuting to work and university relies on driving. Of the nine million daily commuters in Australia, 7 in 10 workers commute by private car (68.4%), which is half a million more than in 2011. Just 1 in 8 (12%) get to work by public transport, and 1 in 20 (4.7%) work from home.
Given the increase in car usage over the last half decade, it is unsurprising to see therefore that most Australian households have at least two cars (54.3%) which is higher than in 2011 (52.6%).
However, nationally the combined public transport infrastructure investment currently under construction is the biggest in Australia’s history and will clearly provide a massive uplift in commuting options in our capital cities. In addition to this, the decade ahead will bring autonomous vehicles, driverless shuttle busses, and electric share bike and scooter options which will help us journey “the last mile” from public transport hubs to our final destination.
The coming decade of transformed transport will facilitate behaviour change and provide our cities with a faster, cheaper, and less car-reliant future.
Sydney is Australia’s largest city with a population of more than 5.1 million. One in five Australians live in Sydney, and two-thirds of the population of NSW, our largest state, lives in this one city.
Sydney’s population is growing through record annual births, life expectancy increases and through arrivals coming to the emerald city from other parts of Australia. Sydney remains the preeminent gateway to Australia and it is this overseas migration that is the biggest source of the city’s growth.
Sydney is Australia’s most culturally diverse capital with over two in five residents (43%) born overseas. Most Sydney siders (61%) have at least one parent born overseas and two in five (38%) speak a language other than English at home.
According the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census data, Sydney is comprised of people from over 220 countries and significant sub-regions, with over 240 different languages spoken and residents identifying with almost 300 different ancestries.
Based on the current growth trends, Sydney will reach 9 million by 2051. While there is much infrastructure under construction to respond to the current growth, the near doubling of the population in less than four decades will require much more.
Mark McCrindle is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, TedX speaker and influential thought leader, and is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations. Download Mark's full speakers pack here.
Australia is in the midst of a massive generational transition.
Today’s grandparents are part of the Baby Boomers, born from the late 1940’s to the early 1960’s. This generation is followed by Generation X, born from 1965 to 1979 who, at the oldest edge, are moving through their mid-life.
Today’s new parents and those entering their peak fertility years are part of Generation Y, born from 1980 to 1994.
Today’s children and teens are Generation Z, born from 1995 to 2009 and Australia is home to more than 4.5 million of them.
From 2010 Australia has seen the start of a new generation and having worked our way through the alphabet, we call this new generation, the first to be fully born in the 21st Century, Generation Alpha.
Gen Alpha have been born into an era of record birth numbers, and there are around 2.6 million of them nationally. When this generation is complete, in 2024, Generation Alpha births will total almost 5 million over the 15 years from 2010, compared to 4 million births of the Baby Boomers for the 19 years from 1946.
Generation of 'upagers'
The oldest Gen Alphas commence Year 3 next year and will be the most formally educated generation ever, the most technology supplied generation ever, and globally the wealthiest generation ever.
They are a generation of “upagers” in many ways; physical maturity is on setting earlier so adolescence for them will begin earlier and so does the social, psychological, educational, and commercial sophistication which can have negative as well as positive consequences.
Interestingly for them while adolescence will begin earlier, it will extend later. The adult life stage, once measured by marriage, children, mortgage and career is being pushed back.
This generation will be students longer, start their earning years later and so stay at home longer. The role of today’s parents therefore will span a longer age range and based on current trends, more than half of the Alphas will likely be living with their parents into their late 20’s.
'The great Screenage'
Generation Alpha have been born into “the great screenage” and while we are all impacted by our times, technology has bigger impacts on the generation experiencing the changes during their formative years.
The year they began being born was the year the iPad was launched, Instagram was created and App was the word of the year. For this reason, we also call them Generation Glass because the glass that they interact on now and will wear on their wrist, as glasses on their face, that will be on the Head Up Display of their driverless cars, or that will be the interactive surface of their school desk, will transform how they work, shop, learn, connect and play.
Not since Gutenberg transformed the utility of paper with his printing press in the 15th Century has a medium been so transformed for learning and communication purposes as glass- and it has happened in the lifetime of Generation Alpha.
About Research Visualisation
In a world of big data, we’re for visual data. We believe in the democratisation of information, and that research should be accessible to everyone, not just to the stats junkies.
We’re passionate about turning tables into visuals, data into videos and reports into presentations. As researchers, we understand the methods, but we’re also designers and we know what will communicate, and how to best engage.
Whether you’re looking to conduct research from scratch, or if you have existing data that you want to bring to life – get in touch with the McCrindle team.
The Business Performance Sentiment Index (Business PSI), designed by McCrindle, is an ongoing measure of business conditions, performance and sentiment. The Lower Hunter PSI is an initiative of Maxim Accounting with support from NAB.
The Business PSI takes the pulse of business across a region and tracks changes in the health of the local and national economy over time. This edition of the Business PSI (2017) features the latest results for the Lower Hunter region. This report also features longitudinal comparisons to last year’s deployment of the Business PSI (2016).
The Business PSI measures three core business characteristics: business conditions, performance and sentiment. The PSI uniquely charts these measures on a scale that ranges from accelerating on the extreme positive to collapsing on the extreme negative. Each of the three core measures (conditions, performance, and sentiment) are comprised of three sub-measures which are derived from the results of several individual survey questions.
The Lower Hunter region continues to show strong, consistent growth and an optimistic outlook.
One in three households (34%) own their home outright (compared to 32% in NSW and 31% nationally) and the region reports a rise in household income of 45% from 2006 to 2016, compared to Australia which has seen a rise of 39%.
Impressively, this year’s PSI results show that the positive operating condition for businesses in the Lower Hunter have further increased since last year.
This year’s results highlight a continued struggle for businesses against red tape and regulation as well as an expressed concern for local infrastructure provision. These challenges are offset, however, with the expectation of business expansion in 2018 and this positive sentiment in the Lower Hunter economy is the dominant theme in this year’s Business PSI report.