Mark McCrindle Talks: Business, consumer behaviour and how to remain relevant

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Mark McCrindle is a social researcher with an international following. He is recognised as a leader in tracking emerging issues and researching social trends. As an award winning social researcher and an engaging public speaker, Mark has appeared across many television networks and other media. He is a best-selling author, an influential thought leader, TEDx speaker and Principal of McCrindle Research. His advisory, communications and research company, McCrindle, count among its clients more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and leading international brands.

What trends are transforming the business landscape at the moment?

The first would have to be demographic trends, for as our population changes so too does our customer and client base as well as our employment pool. Not only is Australia’s population growing, but with that comes increased densification, new household structures and increased cultural diversity. So from a business perspective we need to make sure that we are resonating with that diversity in our own teams and obviously connecting with a very changing Australia. We are also in the midst of generational change as the Baby Boomers and Gen X’s maintain their leadership, Generation Y are the emerging leaders while Generation Z begin their employment. Thirdly we’ve also got technological change which is phenomenal and which permeates every area of life. Occasionally you get one or two big changes coming together, but now we have four or five colliding and transforming our society in a significant way.

How have you seen these changes impacting consumer behaviour?

Well if we look just over the last 5 years, we’ve seen not only an economic downturn which we remember as the GFC, but which continues on and with that a changing consumer attitude which has become the new norm. Australians are now using new technologies to buy smart, shop around and be more empowered. They’re using technology and the power of social networks to find out ‘what do you think of this brand’, ‘what about that product’, or ‘has anyone got an idea on this?’ We’re even changing where we are buying through the emergence of online buying platforms and use of smart devices on which we can shop or at least investigate what we are going to buy wherever we are. So where we buy, what we buy, how we buy, the brands, discount shopping, the buying on price, the informed consumer – it’s all come about through technology.

How can a business thrive during these times of unprecedented change?

It’s firstly important to observe the changes that we see. Most businesses are primarily focused on their particular industry or sector, which is great and is obviously important – people have to have that domain knowledge and expertise. But we also have to be experts in looking outside the walls of our operation and area to the external environment in which we operate, to observe the trends that are taking place out there, because if something is happening out there then it’s going to impact us in here. If something is happening overseas in the globally connected world then it’s going to hit Australia as well. When we observe the trends, and then understand the trends and thirdly hopefully respond to the trends, that’s when we can thrive.

What are the new keys to communicating with clients, staff or stakeholders in general?

Digital technologies have certainly changed the way we communicate, and I think embracing this is key to effective cut through. If we look at how Generation Z who are now starting work have been shaped, it has been in this great screenage that is transforming our society. As a generation they have only ever known this world of screens, and interestingly their preferred search engine is YouTube not just Google, simply because they don’t want to read an article about something when they can watch a video on it. So that changes the whole communication pattern, and not just for Generation Z but for all generations alike. If we think about a visual, screen based, mobile, video-based generation emerging, then we’ve got to adapt to that, and a lot of people have. So communicating in a way that makes sense visually is key – using the power of symbols, pictures and the power of communicating relationally not just rationally. Using images not just words, information or data. The power of a brand these days is to connect not just with the head but with the heart – a visceral connection beyond just ‘here’s why our product is better’.

How are the emerging generation of leaders going to take into account the needs of others beyond themselves, when they have grown up in such a ‘me’ generation?

For the emerging generations there has certainly been more of a self-focus than previously. The introduction of the selfie stick and even of just the world ‘selfie’ in the Oxford English Dictionary does point to an era of narcissism, as some have called it. But if we think about it, while at first it seems a bit self-obsessed to put photos up on Instagram of the lunch we are about to eat or yet another selfie, actually there is more to it than that. People are taking photos of themselves to share that experience with others, in other words it’s just keeping in touch, it’s trying to connect and communicate. A lot of “selfies” are more “groupies”, there’s a few people in the photo. So it turns out that what’s going on is a lot of social behaviour and a lot of connectivity, highlighting that we aren’t as isolated or self-focused and some of those terms might suggest.

Additionally we have a generation of young people emerging now who are global in their identity and their outlook, who are actually more open and interested in what’s happening in the world. When they get their news feed it’s not just what’s happening in their local area, their state or their nation, but globally what’s happening. So we could actually argue they are more aware in a global sense. They are more aware of the bigger things, they are certainly more connected with others and I think with that connection, they can have an influence. Some have called it slacktivism, where they just click and like this, but it turns out that they are getting involved and are active on different campaigns, having a voice, having a vote, having an influence. This social connectivity, this broader global outlook and this cultural diversity that defines them today is bringing a renewed spirit to democracy and engagement. They are not perhaps as self-focused as we think. Even when it comes to spending money they’re not so much saving up to buy the home or the tangible asset, they’re spending money more on the experience, on travel, on connecting and while saving and planning is important for their future at least it shows an attitude of connecting with others and of experiencing the lives of others rather than it all just be about me and getting my asset base together.

For More Information:

Mark’s understanding of the key social trends as well as his engaging communication style places him in high demand in the press, on radio and on television shows, such as Sunrise, Today, ABC News 24, A Current Affair, and Today Tonight. He is also regularly commissioned to deliver keynote addresses at conferences, as well as workshops for strategic board meetings among other events.

His professional speakers pack below provides more information, or you can get in touch with ashley@mccrindle.com.au for specific enquiries.

40 Years of Change: 1975 to Today

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Since 1975 Australia has seen four decades of massive change – demographically, socially, economically, politically, globally, culturally and technologically.

In such an area it is important to not just observe the changes but to understand the trends and respond, so that we can thrive in these massive times of change.

In this video below Social Researcher and Demographer Mark McCrindle outlines these changes.


Australian population bigger and older

In 1975 the Builders generation was firmly in control, the Baby Boomers were emerging and Generation X were still kids. More than half of Australia’s population wasn’t born in 1975 and since then we’ve seen massive generational change. We’ve also seen massive population change. Back then Australia’s population was 13.7 million and today it’s almost 24 million people, an increase of more than 10 million in four decades.

In the 1970s, the average age of an Australian was in the late 20’s, while today it’s in the late 30’s, such has been the ageing of our population in that time.

Our life stages have also changed in the past 40 years. People were getting married in their early twenties back in the seventies, while now the median age of marriage is approaching the thirties, indicating great social change as well.

Earning more, costing more

Australians are also earning a lot more now than we were back then; the average full time earnings in 1975 was $7,600 per year, today the annual average earnings exceed $72,000 per annum.

And while we are earning more, costs are a lot more today than they were back then. The cost of a loaf of bread today is more than 10 times the price it was in 1975, while a litre of milk today is 3 times the cost it was 4 decades ago.

Four decades ago Sydney had the highest house cost, averaging $28,000 while today it exceeds $850,000. So while earnings have gone up, by almost tenfold, house prices have gone up by more than thirtyfold in that same period of time.

The year of the Dismissal and an end to the Vietnam War


1975 was a year of massive political change as well. The year began with Gough Whitlam as Australia’s Prime Minister, but it was the year of the Dismissal and so it ended with Malcom Fraser as Prime Minister.


Gerald Ford was the president of the United States and it was the year that the Vietnam War ended, a time of massive global change.

Jaws vs The Lego Movie

From a popular culture perspective it was quite a different era. We had harsher tastes back then perhaps because Jaws was the movie of the year compared to The Lego Movie of today. ACDC had the album of the year back then compared to Taylor Swift currently.

1970: The Beatles break up.


1972: M*A*S*H Show premieres.


1972: Terrorist attack at the Olympic Games in Munich.


1973: U.S pulls out of Vietnam.


1975: Pol Pot becomes the Communist Dictator of Cambodia and the Cambodian Genocide begins.


1975: Gough Whitlam is dismissed and Malcom Fraser elected.


1975: NBC's Saturday Night (later known as Saturday Night Live) debuts.


1976: Jimmy Carter is elected President of the United States.


1979: Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman Prime Minister of Great Britain.


1979: Mother Theresa awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


1979: The World Health Organisation certifies the eradication of smallpox.


Popular Movies:


Technological advancements that changed the world


1970: Computer Floppy Disks are introduced.


1971: VCRs introduced.


1975: Microsoft is founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who develop a BSIC program for the Microcomputer Altair 8800, and is released the same year.


1975: The world’s first digital camera is created by Steven Sasson and Kodak Company.


1975: The laser printer is invented.


1977: The first personal computers (PC) are introduced.


1979: Sony introduces the Walkman.


1979: Cell phones are invented.


The speed and impact of these changes remind us to not just observe the changes but to understand the changes and respond so that we can thrive in these times of massive change.

To find out more about how we can help your organisation remain relevant:

McCrindle Omnibus Surveys

Monday, February 02, 2015

What is an Omnibus?

An omnibus is an online survey, distributed to a panel of nationally representative Australian’s, helping organisations get access to what Australians think, with fast turnaround results at a fraction of the cost of a comprehensive study.

Our monthly omnibus yields 1,000 responses (18+) with results in Excel or Word available the same week (other output options available upon request). Results are provided both as a total and broken down by key demographic categories:
  • Male / female
  • Age (by generation)
  • State or territory
  • Level of education
  • Employment status
  • Household composition
  • Five household income categories
  • Other descriptors available on request

Why an Omnibus?

Running an Omnibus provides solutions for:
  • PR and communications agencies looking to maximise media activity
  • Not-for-profit agencies tracking brand awareness and campaign reach
  • Lobby groups and charities seeking to gauge public opinion on a multitude of issues
  • Marketing teams looking to undertake industry snapshots and trends in customer attitudes and behaviours
  • Strategists looking to make well-informed business decisions
  • Brands and organisations looking to develop research-based thought leadership

But how?

It’s as simple as:

  1. Determining how many questions you want to include, and
  2. Developing survey questions (with assistance from our research consultants).

Have you considered output?

At McCrindle we are well known for conducting relevant, world-class and cost effective research, and importantly, communicating the insights in innovative, useable ways. Our output options include:

  1. Let us do the analysis in a top-line or media-ready report
  2. Bring your data to life through infographics or videos
  3. Spread your results with the help of our media spokespersons Mark McCrindle or Claire Madden

What about cost?

Find out more

Download our McCrindle Omnibus Solutions Pack for more information.
McCrindle Research Omnibus

The next omnibus is just around the corner, going out on the 9th of February. Raw data will then be provided by the 13th of February.

For enquiries please contact McCrindle's research contact:
Kirsten Brewer
P: 02 8824 3422
E: kirsten@mccrindle.com.au

Market and Social Research Solutions

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

At McCrindle we are engaged by some of the leading brands and most effective organisations across Australia and internationally to help them 
understand the ever-changing external environment in which they operate and to assist them in identifying and responding to the key trends. 

For us research is not a list of survey methods but a passion to find answers. It is more than a matter of questionnaires and focus groups – it is a quest to make the unknown known. The best research clarifies the complex and reveals insights in a way that can be seen and not just read. 

Only when the findings are visually displayed, engagingly presented and strategically workshopped can they have maximum impact – and be implemented effectively.



For a more in-depth and detailed description of our Research offerings, please download our Market and Social Research Solutions Pack by clicking here.

Australia's Defining Traits

Friday, January 23, 2015
As a nation, there are traits that have defined Australia for decades, but as the times shift and trends emerge we take a look at the extent to which these are still relevant in defining us today.

1. The Lucky Country


Statistics show that Australia is doing better than ever when it comes to health, education, economic opportunities, and even political participation.

The economy is on a steady increase, even despite a recent global economic crisis. Cash flow is increasing with the net disposable income for everyday Australians now $10,000 more than it was a decade ago.

We value independence but in a community-minded way. As Aussies we recognise that individual achievement rarely occurs without a helping hand from others. After all we call this the lucky country—we don’t take the credit for it all ourselves. Despite our differences we know that when adversity strikes, whether in the form of personal tragedy, natural disasters or international conflict, there’ll usually be a fellow Aussie there to help out. It’s the tradition of the digger, the character of mateship, and it’s still the essence of the Australian community.
Fast Facts
  • Compared to the unemployment rate of the US, UK and France, Australia’s unemployment rate is lowest at just 5.8
  • The EU, G20, OECD and USA have all experienced a recession during the last 7 years, whereby Australia has not
  • Over the last 10 years Australia’s life expectancy has increased by 2 years
  • Over the last 40 years our life expectancy has increased by 10 years

2. Big Australia


Australia’s population exceeded 23 million on 23 April 2013. Having doubled since 1966, this rise is fuelled by an increase in birth rate, life expectancy and migration. These factors have allowed Australia to grow at a rate of 1.7% per year, above the world average of 1.0%. Not only is Australia the fastest growing OECD nation, but its population is increasing faster than Indonesia, India, and Malaysia.
Fast Facts
  • Australia’s population is growing by 1.7% annually
  • Australia currently has a population of 23 million people, with an increase of 397,200 people
  • Natural increase accounts for 40% of growth, adding 154,500 people to the population
  • Net overseas migration accounts for 60% of the population increase, increasing Australia’s population by 228,000 people
  • Australia’s population density is 2.99 people per km2
  • Vertical communities - with record population growth comes increase densification, where we now live up and not out
  • Traditional detached homes vs housing approvals. More new homes in greater Sydney are medium density than detached homes

3. The Clever Country


The Top 5 industries 30 years ago were all industrial (mining, utilities, manufacturing, construction, and transport) whereas today there has been a shift to professional industries (Top 5 are mining, technical, IT, financial, and utilities).

While once derogatorily referred to as the world’s quarry, it turns out that we are the clever country after all with more people than ever employed in science and technical roles. The Australian workforce has undergone significant structural change and we’ve moved from an industrial base to a knowledge base.
Fast Facts
  • The average years of schooling Australian’s engage in is 12 years
  • The number of patents granted by Australia annually is 17,877
  • 1 in 5 Baby Boomers, 1 in 4 generation X’s, 1 in 3 generation Y’s have a university degree and 1 in 2 generation Z’s will have a university degree

4. The Land of the Middle Class


Australia is the land of the fair go, where people are taken at face value and class and values based on where people are from or where they were educated don’t rate highly in interactions. Lifestyles are busy and our lives are complex but our culture is down-to-earth, and mainstream recreations are simple. Regardless of income or social status, there are rich pleasures offered in Australia, and these are all the more appreciated in times of rising living costs.

It is a collaborative rather than individualistic culture and this teamwork, a mix of mateship and altruism, creates a context where neighbourhoods and communities are defined by diversity and connecting rather than class and hierarchies.
Fast Facts
  • Australia’s median household income is $47,736. This is 2.6 times Spain’s average household income and 47 times the income of more than 30 other countries with household income below $1,100 (Spain’s is $18,531, Greece $15,823)
  • The average capital city house price in Australia is $2.5 million

5. The Small Business Nation


Australia has always been an entrepreneurial nation, with small business the backbone of the economy and the labour force. The Australian spirit of independence, a DIY attitude and the courage to give things a go are strongly demonstrated in these latest business statistics. The tough economic times and the terrain in which small business operates is having an impact, however, with only half (51%) of new business starts surviving 4 years in operation. For many Australians, the entrepreneurial dream is still alive but as demonstrated by the survival rates of new businesses, without better support, only a minority will achieve success.
Fast Facts
  • There are 2.1 million businesses in Australia
  • Just 39% are employing businesses
  • 69% of employing businesses are micro and have 1-4 employees, 6.2% are small (5-19 employees), 24.3% are medium (20-199 employees) while just 0.5% of businesses are large and employ over 200 employees
  • 50% of new businesses cease operation within 3.5 years of establishment
  • 1 in 10 cease operation every year

6. Land of the Long Weekend


Australians enjoy between 11 and 12 public holidays in addition to the 4 weeks annual leave for employees, which is more public holidays than many countries, and twice the annual leave of the average worker in the US. However Australians also work amongst the longest hours when compared to other developed nations and some of the most years of schooling. The “no worries” attitude is strong but it is more “no worries- we’ll sort it out” rather than “no worries- she’ll be right”. The “can-do” culture balances the “long weekend” mindset to shape a people who enjoy time off and know how to holiday- but work hard to earn the break.
Fast Facts
  • Australians enjoy 11 to 12 public holidays a year
  • Full time workers receive 4 weeks annual leave
  • On average, Australians work 38 hours per week, (41.0 for males and 35.8 for females)

7. The Tyranny of Distance


While Australia is warmly referred to as the land down under, the isolation and distance that the term once communicated is not the case today. While Australia is geographically a long way from the UK, it’s historical and population links with the “old country” remain strong. More importantly, it is closely located to the new epicentre of economic growth in Asia. Australia is a regional hub for many multinational organisations with operations in Asia, and is in its own right a globally connected, business influencer, cultural exporter and regional leader. The cultural cringe has given way to sophistication, cultural diversity and global influence.
Fast Facts
  • Australia’s region of Asia is home to 60% of the global population and the fastest growing nations on earth
  • China, India, Vietnam and the Philippines are all in the top 7 birth countries of Australians born overseas
  • In a 12 month time period Australia chaired the UN Security Council, hosted the G20 and will host the Cricket World Cup


For more on the facts and figures of Australia, be sure to check out our Australia Street Video Animation and Infographic.

THE AUSTRALIA STREET VIDEO ANIMATION


THE AUSTRALIA STREET INFOGRAPHIC


Research Solutions for the Education Sector

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We have a passion for helping schools and tertiary institutions thrive in today’s changing times. The education sector sits at the very heart of our diverse Australian communities and is also at the cross-roads of today’s biggest trends – dealing with massive technological change and engaging with the youngest generations.

21st Century students are being shaped in different times and have different characteristics, expectations, and communication styles – therefore engaging effectively with today’s students and their families requires new strategies, solutions, and approaches.

At McCrindle, we provide a range of innovative research solutions to assist schools and tertiary institutions in understanding their student, parent, and staff communities. From school satisfaction research to future of education model testing, from professional development sessions to executive strategic planning sessions, and from annual report design to infographic visualisation, we are able to assist education providers to know the times.

School Satisfaction Research

We conduct research for government, independent, and the Catholic sector and specialise in creating the context for the research by benchmarking it against demographic and national education data. Our comprehensive education research process includes the deployment of surveys to all stakeholders in the school community, gaining insights of the local community towards the school, as well as qualitative methods such as focus groups, student and staff forums, and in-depth discussions of groups such as past, current, or prospective parents.

Future of Education Modelling and Strategic Planning

While the strength of an organisation comes in part from its history and legacy, the relevance of an organisation flows from its ability to adapt, engage, and respond. Our future of education process helps organisations become future-proofed by better understanding the emerging generations of parents, the learning styles and expectations of students, and how to best recruit and retain their staff. To assist in the strategic planning process, we conduct demographic analysis, future of education modelling, and social and technological trend forecasting, and then input these insights into facilitated workshops, environmental scan reports, and boardroom strategic planning meetings.

Research Visualisation & Communication of Data

In a sector swamped with education data – we focus on visual data. As researchers we understand the research methods, but we’re also designers and know what will communicate and engage stakeholders across the entire school community. Satisfaction surveys should be about more than just compliance – the insights will not only make the organisation make improvements, but they are an important brand and communication tool in themselves. We are passionate about not just the gathering of the data but the communication of it, and in an era of social media and digital platforms, the annual reports, strategic plans, and satisfaction summaries that can be clearly communicated and quickly deployed will be those that get shared and so have an impact.

Staff, Parent, or Executive Seminars

Our key researchers have delivered professional development sessions for school leaders and teachers internationally and across every state and territory in Australia. We hold seminars for students on future-proofing their careers, for parents on parenting the i-Gen, for teachers on the future of education and engaging with today’s students, and for boards and executives on understanding the trends and recruiting, training, and retaining today’s new generations of staff.


Find out More

Download our Research Solutions for the Education Sector Pack for recent case studies and more information on our work with schools and tertiary providers.


For enquiries please contact McCrindle’s education contact:

Eliane Miles
P: 02 8824 3422
E: eliane@mccrindle.com.au

McCrindle Locations: Sydney & Melbourne

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The two cities of Melbourne and Sydney comprise almost 40% of Australia's total population. If you include their respective states of New South Wales and Victoria they comprise almost 60% of the national population and the two economies of Sydney and Melbourne combined produce economic output which is more than twice as large as all the other state and territory capitals combined. While Western Australia drives the resource sector, Sydney and Melbourne are the backbone of Australia's business sector and are the fastest growing cities demographically and near the top of the charts economically as well.

As Australia's social researchers, we have based our operations in Sydney and are delighted to have opened our Melbourne office as well in line with these trends.

MCCRINDLE MELBOURNE CONTACT

Nathan McMillan
P: 03 9691 3579
E: nathan@mccrindle.com.au

SYDNEY VS MELBOURNE INFOGRAPHIC



Please see our Sydney Vs Melbourne Infographic for a visual comparison of Australia's two largest cities.

For further information, interviews, or images, please contact the McCrindle Research Sydney office at 02 8824 3422 or ashley@mccrindle.com.au.





Mark McCrindle; Social Researcher and Changemaker

Monday, January 12, 2015

Originally published by The Weekend Edition. Please click here for the original article.

"WE'RE IN THE MIDST OF ONE OF THE MOST TRANSFORMATIVE PERIODS OF HISTORY ... "

It’s a staggering statistic to get our noggins around, but every day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced around the world. While the raw numbers may seem irrelevant to many of us at first glance, the collected information is vital to tracking trends, identifying changes and forecasting new developments to help us understand ourselves, our pasts and our futures. What were the biggest trends of 2014? How has Australia changed over the past few decades? And how will we evolve over the next 12 months? These are just some of the questions that consume social researcher, demographer and futurist Mark McCrindle, who has dedicated his life’s work to studying and understanding our nation. As we head into the new year, The Weekend Edition thought it was perfect timing to catch up with the futurist and chat about what lies ahead.

In your 2013 TEDxCanberra talk, you said it’s rare for factors like massive technological change, rapid demographic shifts, huge social trends and ongoing generational change to all happen at the same time – meaning big changes can happen within a short period. Can you talk us through some of the major trends you observed in 2014?

I think we’re in the midst of one of the most transformative decades ever. It’s this decade that began with the tablet computer, social media becoming mainstream, the smartphone and apps – these were words that weren’t known and technologies that weren’t around when the decade began and now here we are, halfway through it in 2015 and it’s obviously going to take us through to 2020, which has always been that iconic year of ‘the future’. As you say, it’s change in terms of those broader areas, not just technology, but also generational change – this year we’ve got Baby Boomers turning 70 and the original ‘youth slackers’ Gen Xers turning 50 and the new Gen Alphas coming of age – as well as economic change – the decade began with the ripples of the GFC and that’s still having an impact. So economically, technologically, sociologically, generationally and attitudinally, there have been lots of changes. It’s rare that you do get the confluence of such change that we’re seeing at the moment.

What can you tell us about this new generation born 2010 or later, known as Gen Alpha?

We’ve given them the label ‘Generation Glass’ because the key medium for them on which they’ll learn, interact, write and get their content isn’t paper – it’s glass. This is the first generation that has utilised glass as the mainstream form of communication and content delivery. It’s portable, it’s in their pockets or on their wrists or on their interactive desktops, it’s in showrooms as interactive touch screens – glass is everywhere. It comes to life, it’s connected to the internet and it displays content – and this is the generation that will only know that. Paper first emerged as a portable form of mass communication when Gutenberg came up with his printing press in 1439, so we’ve had to wait 600 years for a new medium.

And for 2015 you’ve also predicted that we’ll become a more reflective country?

Yes, the technologies of the internet have been around for a while now and so far it’s been fun and light – people Instagramming every meal they eat, the tweets and YouTube videos have been fun and fickle, and memes like Grumpy Cat have gone viral. But that happens when anything new emerges, it’s fun before we find the real usefulness of it. And now we’re getting a little bit more pragmatic and people are saying, ‘I want some life tools’, ‘I want connection tools that will actually help’, ‘I want relational functionality rather than random Facebook friends’ so we’re starting to see fragmentation of that, from LinkedIn through to a rise in openness for people to talk about not just the financial or physical areas of life, but also mental, emotional and spiritual. I think this reflection, the focus on work/life balance and family, as well as spirituality and emotional wellbeing is a sign that we’re a bit more transparent and open. As Australians, we’ve always been a ‘She’ll be right mate’ sort of nation, but I think we’re recognising that to be a bit more vulnerable, transparent and authentic is actually important.

What have you observed about Queensland and its capital of Brisbane?

Queensland is unique in its demographics – it’s the only state in Australia that has more than half of its population living outside of its capital. So if you look at NSW or Victoria, more than three in four people live in the capital city, but in Queensland, 4.8 million people live in the whole state and just 2.2 million people live in Brisbane. In fact, we have an infographic where we look at the largest 30 cities of Australia, and Queensland has the most with 10 cities, compared to NSW which has just five. The point is Queensland has more of a mix of the urban and rural, it has a bigger focus on the regional, it’s a big state and a big coastline, and has more of a spread of population outside of Brisbane – and that creates a different mode in itself. It’s one of the fastest-growing states, and faster than the national average. Queensland has a different attitude and way of life; it’s got some unique demographic aspects that create the culture and the mood, and continue to shape it.

Let’s rewind the clock a bit – have you always harboured such an interest in human behaviour? As a child, did you even know a job like this existed?

That’s right, social researcher, futurist and demographer aren’t often what the careers advisor has on their shortlist; they’re not mainstream pursuits. But I did always have an interest in people and when I was filling in my applications at the end of year 12 to figure out what to study at uni, it was psychology and sociology that interested me. As I moved through my psych degree, I realised that I far preferred the social psychology subjects rather than the clinical, and that’s when I transitioned towards understanding people and society, and how we think and why we as communities or groups make decisions the way we do. So I’ve always had a fascination with people and I guess that’s really what my role is to this day – observing people and communities, and analysing trends and changes.

What were the greatest challenges in launching your own research agency and advisory firm?

Well not only is it an unusual role and hard enough to find a niche as an individual social researcher and analyst, but then to start a business in the area you really need to find your strengths and carve a niche that’s going to add value.

How did you overcome these?

What’s been key is that all of the team here are generally passionate in understanding Australia and society and changes and trends and generations and people’s behaviour. Secondly, how we deploy that information has been important. I looked around when I was starting and thought there’s got to be a better way of conducting the research – it can’t just be about focus groups and surveys, there’s got to be other ways of understanding people. What we’re about is making the unknown known and making the complex clarified, and we employ whatever methodologies will help do that so people can make a difference in what they do. The second part in trying to be innovative in research approach is being innovative in the output methods, so we work hard on the visualisation of content, developing infographics and animated videos.

And what have been the greatest rewards – what do you love about your job?

I love that the craft is so interesting. To be presented with a challenge where an organisation says, ‘We want to connect with and understand this new generation or emerging segment, or we want to find out if this concept will work’, and help them understand and prepare for what isn’t yet certain, is quite fun. To help these organisations, government agencies and not-for-profits really be equipped and empowered in what they do, to do it more efficiently and future-proof themselves, is fun to do but also very rewarding and a privilege.

What inspires you to keep doing what you’re doing?

It’s exciting to see the difference that we can make and we have a view that if people take a broader perspective of what they do, they’ll do it more effectively. We tend to focus on our business or our role or our community – the micro-view – but what we need to do is understand the context in which we’re operating and look outside the walls of our home or organisation, and look at the broader winds of change – the demographics, the social trends, the attitudes, the shift in international demographics. When we understand that, it helps us to be a bit more effective in positioning ourselves to surf the waves of change and remain relevant to the future. The other lens change we need to make isn’t just looking at the now, but looking to the future so we can prepare for that. We tend to focus on the immediate term but the times are changing so quickly we almost need to look ahead a few years to see where things might be headed and position ourselves now to thrive in these times of change.

Originally published by The Weekend Edition, Lauren Barker on 08 Jan 2015.


For more on Mark McCrindle, visit his website here.

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Gen Y Debt Predicament [IN THE MEDIA]

Wednesday, January 07, 2015
More than 1 in 3 (34%) registered debt agreements belong to 25-34 year olds, making Gen Y the  most likely generation to be in debt, compared to Gen X and their Baby Boomer parents.

Much of the blame is placed on easily accessible personal loans, credit card debt and a generation focused on lifestyle pursuits.

However there is more to it than this and it misunderstands the current realities to put all the blame on Generation Y. The fact is that the traditional expense categories such as food, transport, health and housing costs are higher for younger people today compared to that experienced by their parents at the same age. A generation ago the average house price was 5 times annual average earnings while today the average house price is more than 10 times the average annual full time earnings of $72, 000.

Additionally, Generation Y have new categories of expenses that their parents didn’t have such as education debt, mobile phone costs, internet expenses, tablet devices and online subscriptions. Not only are the costs of living higher, but the earnings have not kept pace. For example, when Baby Boomers graduated from university the average graduate starting salary was equal to the average full time adult wage, while today the average graduate starting salary of $52,000 is $20,000 less than average full time earnings.

But the good news is that their parents’ generation, the Baby Boomers, are the highest net worth generation in Australia’s history and over the next two decades almost 3 trillion dollars of private wealth will be transferred (if it’s not spent!) to the emerging generations.

Baby Name Trends 2015

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Baby name trends are of interest to many, with certain influences and inspiration coming into play for parents choosing a name for their child, differing each year.

With birth numbers in Australia currently setting new records, baby names are of interest to more parents than ever and the resulting baby name trends tell us a lot about our society.

Following the Baby Names Australia 2014 Report put out by McCrindle Research earlier this year, social researcher and demographer Mark McCrindle provides commentary on the emerging baby name trends and why 2015 will see new parents to move away from creative names towards more traditional and historical names. Our latest analysis shows that Australians have drawn back from fad-driven naming, such as creative spelling or borrowing names from popular movies and TV series like Game of Thrones, Twilight and The Hobbit. Instead, parents are starting to look back into the past and choosing names that have substance so they’re not just in for today but will last for a lifetime.

The top 5 baby name trends for 2015

Trend No 1: Military Names

April 25 will mark 100 years of Anzac Day in Australia and the Centenary of the Anzac landings, as well as the centenary anniversary of other battles in which Australians served in The Great War will be in the news constantly throughout the year ahead. From references to famous Australian diggers to parents looking back several generations to their own connection we will see inspiration drawn from these iconic events. Even World War 2 names will get a run in this year which will see record turnouts at Anzac and Remembrance Day services.

Expect names such as Cadence, Jett and Reginald to appear. Possibly the most famous Australian soldier we’ll hear about is Simpson and his donkey [John Simpson Kirkpatrick], but in addition to Simpson getting a run, which ties into another trend of surnames as first names, we could also see Winston emerge, after Winston Churchill, and Marshall, Lance and even Scout and Navy for girls

Trend No 2: All things Aussie

In addition to the year of nostalgia and reflection we will see the resurgence of all things Aussie. The top names over the last few years show an embrace of Aussie-sounding names in a way not seen since the early 20th Century. Iconic Australian place names will be on the list and in addition to traditional choices such as Victoria and Adelaide, expect to see names such as Avalon, Eden, Bronte, Brighton, Matilda and Arcadia.

Trend No 3: Royal names

April will bring us the next royal baby and that will drive a significant trend. Since the birth of William and Katherine’s first child, Prince George in 2013, this name has risen up the ranks dramatically but it has stirred a resurgence in other royal names too. William has maintained its dominance as the number 1 boy’s name, Harry has been rising and even Charles has gained ground. This time around, we may even see the more traditional Albert, Louis, and Edward emerge for boys and if the birth is a girl we may see a rise in names such as Katherine, Diana, Elizabeth Alexandra and Caroline.

Trend No 4: The 100-year return

Names that were big 100 years ago have been coming back into vogue over the last few years. Today’s parents are not choosing names of their own generation. The top names of a generation ago such as Nicole, Michelle, Kylie, Matthew, John, and Michael hardly even appear in the Top 100 names today. Rather, century-old names dominate the Top 10 Baby Names list such as William, Jack, Ethan, Thomas and James for the boys, and Charlotte, Ruby, Amelia and Ava for the girls. Other names that were big a century ago that could make a comeback include for boys Beau, Walter, Archie, Frank, Joseph, Nathaniel, Henry and Ernest and for girls, possibilities include Clara, Pearl, Gloria, Penelope, Estelle, Eva and Evelyn.

Trend No 5: Contemporary classics

This trend refers to names that sound classic and sophisticated, but have a modern twist. Surnames as first names, historical people as influencers and place names and values as baby names are all part of this trend.

Boys’ names with this trend include Lincoln, Luther, Calvin, Harrison, Wesley, Mackenzie, Bailey, Justice, Blaise, Barnabas and Raphael, and for girls Alexandria, Piper, Brooklyn, Anastacia, Gabrielle, Joy, Grace and Peace.

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