The McCrindle Blog
The larrikin spirit manifest in our unique lingo is still going strong. However we are also growing and maturing – as reflected in the relinquishment of outdated slang that comes across as unrefined and perhaps vulgar.
Our iconic national slang is by no means disappearing; it is being reinterpreted with a new sophistication, and without the cringe. It is normal for language to evolve over time; to shift meaning or spelling, to be lost, reinvented and created anew.
Our language and sense of humour provide insight into who we are as a people, and say a lot about our Aussie spirit. Phrases or sayings identified in our survey as encapsulating the Australian spirit included: “you little ripper!”, “she’ll be right, mate”, “no worries”, “I’m a happy little Vegemite” and “good on ya mate for having a go!” Of course, anything ending in “mate” is well regarded!
Here are our Top 5s and the percentage of Australians who use these words and phrases:
There is a self-conscious cringe factor which sets in with phrases like “dinky-di”, “crikey” and “Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi oi oi!” When asked why they wouldn’t use some Australian slang, the most common response given by respondents in our research was because it was unrefined or “ocker”.
Other commonly mentioned reasons were that it was rude and offensive, old-fashioned and that respondents simply didn’t know any or what they mean. Other less mentioned reasons included that it was too “bush” and that it just didn’t suit them.
For more information on Australian slang and communication, check out Word Up: A Lexicon and Guide to Communication in the 21st Century by Mark McCrindle, director of McCrindle Research.
As demographers and researchers we are commissioned by some of Australia’s largest organisations and government agencies to conduct demographic analysis and forecasting. So for those with an interest in numbers and a curiosity in population, here are some demographic facts for you:
- Did you know that in Australia for every death there are two births?
- Did you know that more people live in Sydney today (almost 4.7 million) than lived in the entire nation a century ago?
- Did you know that in the last 100 years, Australia has only planted two new cities, Canberra (now our 8th largest) and the Gold Coast (now our 6th largest)?
- Did you know that in Australians have added 3 months of life expectancy for every 12 months of time, for each of the last 100 years?
- Did you know that when compared to all other developed countries, Australia has the highest population growth rate in the world?
- Did you know that in Australia there are as many people aged over 38 as there are people aged under 38?
- Did you know that more than half of Australia’s adult population have completed a post-school qualification?
- Did you know that a quarter of Australians were born overseas and almost half of Australians had at least one parent born overseas?
- Did you know that more than half of Australian households have two or more vehicles?
- Did you know Australia’s population has grown 50% since 1983?
- Did you know that having seen the completion of Generations X, Y and Z the children born since 2010 are part of Generation Alpha?
- Did you know that in 2026, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country?
Source: ABS, McCrindle Research
What are the hottest topics making their way across the conference circuit? When engaging with and understanding today’s emerging generations, Generation Y and Generation Z, business leaders and educators must be aware of the changing landscape of Australia’s global youth culture and respond to the trends shaping this customer segment.
Social Media: The what, why and how?
In just five years social media has emerged as a massive communication channel. Understanding how to engage with customers, communities and stakeholders in this new digital landscape is essential for all organisations. It is crucial to grasp why people use social media, who the key users are, what works best, and where the trends are taking us.
Generation Z: Engaging with today’s students, consumers, and new employees
There are 4.6 million reasons to engage Generation Z, the students of today and university graduates, employees and consumers of tomorrow. They are truly the 21st Century generation, with the whole of their formative years lived in this century. While Gen Zs are today’s children and teenagers, within a decade they will comprise almost 1 in 5 workers and will hold significant purchasing power. Recognising and responding to the defining attributes of this emerging generation and gaining the knowledge and skills to engage this post-literate, multimodal, and tech-savvy generation is key.
Tweens & teens: Understanding Australia’s global youth culture
Where once life was a clearly defined journey from childhood to adulthood, our non-linear world includes a range of emerging life-stages including pre-teens, tweens, kippers and boomerang kids. These new consumer segments add greater complexity in engaging the youth audience. Understanding these demographic segments and the best practice communication and engagement strategies is of central importance to winning over today’s under 30s.
Claire Madden is the Research Director at McCrindle Research. As a social researcher, Claire shares how the use of social media is key in communicating with the emerging generations, unwrapping the key characteristics and trends of today’s Gen Z, and giving insights towards best engagement strategies for Australia’s global youth culture. Download Claire’s speaking pack for more info, or why not get in touch directly to find out more?
On the nightly news we often hear stories of random, opportunistic crime perpetrated against strangers, but rarely do we hear stories of generosity and altruism from strangers. In an age which seems to be marked by “acts of senseless violence”, fed to us by the media on a daily basis, an act of random kindness from a stranger or someone not well known to us is heart-warming – and perhaps astonishing.
Indeed, the kindness of strangers does more than merely warm the heart; it transforms lives – over half of Australians (59%) say that if it weren’t for the kindness, support, encouragement and gifts given them by strangers over the years, their life would be in a worse place.
Australians consider visionaries and role models who include Mother Teresa and Gandhi among their ranks, to be the most influential. Such leaders are not just for the history books; in business, it is the supportive and generous leaders who influence and impact the most. The majority (82%) of Australians agree that it is the people-centred leader, one who serves and supports, who has the most influence and impact. The traditional authoritarian leader (only 13% ranked as influential) and the task-driven delegator (just 5%) are rated as having far less influence.
In contrast, Australians consider dictators and rulers who have included infamous war tyrants Hitler and Stalin, to be the least influential. This is testament to the power of good! Military and political leaders also rank low, while others who also rank high include scientists and inventors, philosophers and thinkers, and writers and artists, those who help and inspire others.
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. The McCrindle National Barometer 2012 showed that volunteering was going very strongly, and, even in the economic downturn, that volunteering shines strongly in the Australian psyche and shows our value of the collaborative community spirit.
National Volunteer Week (13-19 May) gives us a chance to celebrate and thank those who willingly give time, service, or skills to fellow Australians without seeking anything in return. In fact, 6.1 million adults (36% of our entire population) undertake some form of voluntary work annually. Who are these volunteers?
Women more likely to volunteer
Women are more likely to volunteer than men, with 38% of adult women volunteering, compared with 34% of adult men.
More parents volunteer
Double-parent households with children aged between 5 to 17 have the highest volunteer rates, with 55% of these adults participating in a variety of volunteer activities.
Rural Australians lead the way
Regional Australians (41%) are more likely to volunteer than Australians who live in major cities (34%). While all capital cities have high volunteering rates compare to other parts of the world, Darwin shows the greatest percentage of volunteers (43%).
While people from all generations volunteer, Gen Xers and the Baby Boomers are more likely to volunteer than any other generation. Different generations also volunteer for different activities. Younger generations are more likely to be involved in sports and recreation, older Gen Y and Gen Xers are most commonly volunteering in parenting groups. Welfare and community type activities were most common in the Boomers and Builders.
Workers more likely to volunteer
While those employed full-time or with part-time work may be more time-poor to volunteer, data shows that individuals actively involved in paid work are more likely to volunteer than those who are unemployed or not in the labour force. In fact, 38% of individuals who work full-time and 44% of those who work part-time volunteer, compared to only 20% of those who are unemployed or 31% of those who are not in the labour force.
The benefits of volunteering
With 58% of volunteers incurring their own expenses to participate in volunteer work, what are the benefits? Research is clear that people who volunteer are more likely to trust people (62% reporting that people could be trusted, as opposed to 49% of those who don’t volunteer) and have a greater sense of overall life satisfaction – 82% report being pleased and mostly satisfied with their lives, compared to 75% of those who don’t volunteer.
The bottom line
In these times of great change and incredible diversity we all know that when adversity strikes, whether in the form of bushfire, floods, or international conflict, there'll be a fellow Aussie there to help out. It's the tradition of the digger, the character of mateship, and the enduring power of good.
For an inspiring look at the best of humanity - from small acts of charity to selfless acts of kindness, order your copy of our book, The Power of Good.
Click here to download the first chapter.
Sources: ABS Cat. 4441.0 – Voluntary Work, Australia, 2010, McCrindle Research Data, 2013.
At the beginning of 2013, a McCrindle Research study showed that the rising cost of living was the number one concern for Gen Ys, Gen Xers, and the Baby Boomer Generation across the nation. Four months into the year, a new survey reveals that this is still the front of mind issue for Australians.
What are some ways that you and your family can save your hard-earned money? Through our qualitative analysis, hundreds of Australians wrote to us on the tips and trick they use to save money by changing the way they do food and grocery bills, reduce energy costs, and alter their lifestyle habits.
Click here to download the full report.
Food & groceries
- Economies of scale:
Prepare meals in bulk and freeze the leftovers for tomorrow's dinner or lunch at work.
- Stick to a plan
Plan out weekly menus and stay to a strict menu only purchasing plan.
- Bargain hunting:
Note weekly specials, 'home-brands', seasonal veggies, and stock up on discounted non-perishables.
- Spreading it out:
Purchase reduced meat that can be stretched across several meals.
- Eat at home:
Avoid eating out, impulse purchases, and shopping when you're hungry.
- Minimise waste:
Purchase smaller quantities of fresh food per purchase to avoid wastage.
- Turn it off:
Prevent using 'standby' electricity use by switching appliances off at the power point.
Reuse water by collecting rainwater for your garden or using bath water to wash your car.
- Plan ahead:
Plan shopping trips to maximize efficiency – plan many errands into one trip.
- Rug up:
Keep warm with a jumper or blanket rather than using heating appliances.
- Full loads only:
Fill your washing machine completely, and do dishes once per day.
- Free sun:
Use the outdoor drying line instead of a clothes dryer.
- Move your feet:
Walk or catch public transport instead of driving.
- Sweat at home:
Exercise at home rather than joining a gym by walking, using fitness DVDs or personal exercise equipment
- Elbow grease it:
Do your own household duties rather than outsourcing cleaning, garden, and lawn mowing.
- Invite them around:
Eat and entertain at home rather than dining out.
- Take a shortcut:
Use discount vouchers where possible and seek out affordable specials on leisure activities.
- Keep it local:
Take holidays close to home and participate in local activities and attractions.
- Join the groove:
Take advantage of free public events and parks to enjoy entertainment and meet friends.
Finance Management 101
- Stick to it:
Stick to a strict budget with what gets bought, with more attention paid to necessities and a cut on luxury items and holidays.
- Adapt your leisure:
Cut back on leisure activities – spending more time at home or use free entertainment
- Sale it:
Seek out sale items and bargain hunting.
- Increase your pay:
Seek out a promotion, bonus, new job or extra jobs to pay bills.
Make downgrades to free up cash by moving from a house to an apartment, changing from private to public school or cutting back to one car.
With the federal budget on release tomorrow evening, a new McCrindle Research survey reveals that cost of living is still the front of mind issue for Australians. In early 2013, Gen Ys, Gen Xers, and the Baby Boomers across the nation expressed that the rising cost of living was their number one concern (see previous study here), which has held true in our latest research...
Click here to download the PDF.
Overall perceptions from state to state
Interestingly, two thirds of Australians think that the cost of living in their state is much higher or somewhat higher than all the other states and territories. The belief that life is most expensive in one’s own state is highest in Western Australia, where 91% of respondents said their living costs are greater than those in other states and territories (compared to the national average of 69%). Next in line is New South Wales, with 82% of respondents noting the cost of living to be higher in their state than in other states and territories, followed closely by ACT and Tasmania, both at 80%. Queenslanders and South Australians feel they have the best affordability with less than half (46%) saying living costs in their state are higher than elsewhere around the country.
The pressure is on
88% of Australians feel the cost of living pressures are greater today than 5 years ago. While Western Australia had the same percentage as the national average when analysing the increase overall, in the extreme increase category it had the highest response at 63% (compared to the national average of 47%). The strongest response overall was given by South Australians, with 95% feeling an increase in cost of living pressures.
Cost increases just keep going up
Cost increases have been most felt through utility bills, with 83% of Australians reporting that they have experienced cost increases in their power and gas bills that have had a significant impact on their cost of living. Petrol prices are the next in line, with 77% reporting significant costs, followed by grocery prices – reported to have increased significantly by 74% of the population.
More Tasmanians than other Australians (93%, compared to the national average of 83%) report paying power and gas bills that have increased significantly in price in the last 5 years. In a similar way, respondents from the ACT report high cost increases in the cost of housing over the last 5 years when compared to the other states (78% report that they’ve experienced cost increases that have had a significant impact on their cost of living, compared to the national average of 43%).
The blame game
39% of Australians assert that the Federal government is most responsible for increased living costs, with only 1% of the blame directed towards local constituent government bodies. While only 34 % of Generation Ys primarily blame the government for the rise of living costs, that percentage rises to 37% for Gen Xers, 42% for Baby Boomers, and 49% for Builders – blame on the federal government therefore increases with age.
Utility companies are the next in line, with almost a quarter of Australians reporting that water, electricity, and gas companies are to blame. In Tasmania, sentiment towards utility companies is worst – with 40% of Tasmanians reporting that utility companies are to blame (compared to the national average of 24%). Tasmanians also appear to have the best perceptions towards the federal government, with only 13% of them directly placing blame on the federal government.
Everyday shopping changes
Over half of Australians report making significant changes to their shopping patterns over the last 5 years:
59% have changed how much they buy by cutting back on some purchases and not eating as much.
52% of respondents have changed what they buy, buying more private label or supermarket products rather than recognised brands.
51% of respondents have changed where they buy, shopping in cheaper supermarkets and bulk retailers
48% have changed how they buy through online shopping, using discount vouchers, and only buying items on sale
Reducing lifestyle expenditures
Over the past five years, Australians have significantly reduced their expenditure on a number of different products and services. Holidays have been the first to go, with 45% of Australians having reduced their costs or eliminated expenditure on holidays altogether. Over one third of Australians have changed their expenditure to subscriptions such as TV, magazines, newspapers, and online services. Over a quarter of Australians have reduced their gym, sports, or club memberships, and reduced the outsourcing of home services.
While the study shows that Australians will readily give up their holidays or paid subscriptions when times get tough, they are less willing or able to cut back when it comes to their children: Only 11% of Australians report making cut-backs on private school fees, tuition, and education expenses, and only 9% have reduced spending on childcare and babysitting services.
Grim economic outlook
There is a fair bit of pessimism among Australians today – 3 out of 4 individuals feel that we are ‘worse now’ economically than we were last year. Out of this group of respondents, 65% hold that Australia will be even worse next year, whereas the rest believe there will be a positive turn-around. Western Australia is the most optimistic state when it comes to economic outlook, with 28% of respondents sensing that Australia is economically better now than last year and will be even better next year (compared to only 13% of the national average who held that same view).
Opinion on the grimness of Australia’s economic outlook increases with age. While only 29% of Generation Ys hold to the matter that Australia is economically worse now than last year and will be even worse next year, 48% of Generation Xers, 57% of Baby Boomers, and 59% of Builders expressed this strong sentiment.
Click here to download the PDF.
Australia’s ageing continues
In just two decades Australia’s median age has increased nearly 5 years (from 32.7 to 37.5 today). In the last 5 years the proportion of our population aged under 20 has declined by a percentage point to be just 1 in 4 Australians (25%) while the proportion aged over 60 has increased by a similar amount to be 1 in 5 (20%). Based on these current demographic trends, by 2028, for the first time in Australia’s history there will be more people aged over 60 than aged under 20.
Click here to download this report as a PDF.
A good news story
The ageing of our population is of course a good news story. The Standardised Death Rate (deaths per 1,000 population) continues to fall (to 5.59- half that of births) while life expectancy continues to rise.
When Australia’s Age Pension was introduced in 1909, life expectancy at birth was 57 while today it exceeds 80. While the accessibility age of 65 for males has not changed in a century, longevity certainly has. In fact so dramatic has been the increase in life expectancy, that averaged across males and females, Australians have gained 25 years of life expectancy in the last 100 years. Or 3 months of life every 12 months of time!
Downagers: redefining the older life stages
Today’s Baby Boomers are the ultimate downagers, redefining lifestages, and reinventing retirement. They have adult children at home longer, they’re buying and selling property later in life, and remaining active in the workforce later than ever before. This is a response to the improved life and health realities. In fact based on years of life expectancy, a 65 year old today is the equivalent of a 54 year old in 1950. It is therefore of little surprise that Australians are younger longer and working later.
Older workers: technical, professional and entrepreneurial
Australia’s workers aged 65 and older currently comprise 3.4% of Australia’s total workforce (393,000 out of 11, 589, 000). The top two job categories of older Australians where more than 1 in 5 are aged 65 or over are professionals (21.4%) and managers (20.4%).
Of Australians 65 and over currently in the workforce, 72% are employees, 23% have their own business, 4% are employers, and 1% are contributing family workers.
Older Australians work the longest hours employed as managers in numerous industries (35 hours per week) and the least hours when employed in the community and personal service work industry (18 hours).
Across all of the industries, the average Australian worker aged 65 and older works 27 hours per week as an employee, 36 hours per week as an employer, 26 hours per week as a business owner, and 18 hours per week as a contributing family worker. Older workers are looking for great flexibility in their working hours and are increasingly not working full-time.
41% of Australians aged 65 and older who work as managers run their own business. This is the highest rate of self-employment across the major industries for this age group. Other industries that display a high percentage of older Australians running their own businesses are technicians and trade workers (27%), labourers (26%) and business services (20%).
% of all employees
Average hours worked
Clerical and Administrative Workers
Technicians and Trades Workers
Machinery Operators and Drivers
Community & Personal Service Workers
As the Director of McCrindle Research, Mark McCrindle headed up the McCrindle Baynes Village Community Report – the largest study into retirement village residents ever conducted in Australia. The project involved a 57 question pen and paper survey, deployed to 181 villages managed by 7 operators. It received over 10,000 completed surveys, representing almost 1 in 10 village residents Australia-wide.
Want to know more?
Click here to read more about our Speaking services.
Research has shown that more than half of Australian workers want to leave their job this year. The main reason for this is 'not being able to grow professionally'.
Social researcher and Research Director of McCrindle Research Claire Madden joins Larry and Kylie on Channel 7's The Morning Show to give us an overview of what we consider the best and worst jobs.
The criteria used in this study examined 200 different vocations and ranked them on factors including salary, environmental, stress, and physical demands.
So while salary plays its role in employee retention, other aspects of a role including workplace culture, work-life balance and opportunities for development are influencers which keep people in their jobs.
Top 5 best jobs
- Biomedical engineer
- Software engineer
- Financial planner
Top 5 worst jobs
- Newspaper reporter
- Wood chopper
- Enlisted military personnel
- Oil rig worker
The emerging generations of business leaders are digital, visual, and global in outlook, and they expect information to be presented in compelling ways.
In a 140 character tweet-based, You-Tube type world, data and information must be presented in innovatively delivered ways. Our time-poor, busy, practically outcome driven and competitive economic landscape demands discussion and content that must be strategically focused.
In just a few years the world of business analytics has moved from big data and the collection of data sets to the essential, clear communication implications of the data. Leaders must be able to make strategic decisions based on research that is presented in digestible formats and is easily interpreted.
A key way of interpreting, presenting, and implementing outcomes from the data is through data visualisation – research you can see. Just as “a picture tells a thousand words”, an infographic presents a large number of data points in an easily accessible visual format.
Data visualisation must include creativity of style that incorporates clever metaphors and compelling visuals related to data sets. Concepts must be relatable, proving to be easily understood and clearly relevant.
Research data must be rich and statistically robust, not shying away from the complexity presented in the findings, while at the same time being simplistic in design, instantly understandable and compellingly readable. Lastly, a variety of output is key – while topically congruent information will leave your customers seeking your expertise, it is the visual diversity that will keep them coming back for more.
As pioneers in this emerging data visualisation area, and as Australia’s leading research visualisation experts, Mark McCrindle and his team are able to interpret the key data and present the summarised insights in innovative and visually accessible ways. Mark’s cutting edge presentation on demographic shifts and social trends entitled Data Visualisation: Research You Can See highlights the need for creative communication.
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We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.The McCrindle Team :)
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Last 100 Articles
- Aussie slang: Top words, phrases, rhymes, and similes
- A Dozen Demographic Did You Knows
- Hot Conference Topics for 2013
- The Kindness of Strangers
- Emerging Segments: Engaging with the Ever Changing Customer
- The Baby Bonus Generation
- Fast Facts: Volunteers in Australia
- Everyday money saving tips
- Cost of Living: Still the Number One Issue
- Older Workers, Downagers, and Redefining Retirement
- 1 in 5 Aussie mums to go without gifts this Mother's Day
- Australian Mums Speak: Worst Mother's Day Gifts
- Top 5 Best & Worst Jobs [MEDIA]
- Data Visualisation: Research You Can See
- Sounds, Syllables & Spellings [Baby Names]
- Social Business: Emerging Technologies, New Strategies
- Baby Name No Nos
- Mark McCrindle Professional Presentations
- Australia's Population at 23 Million [in the media]
- Top Australian Baby Names [in the media]
- Australia's Population Milestone [VIDEO]
- Anzac Day: Second Only to Christmas
- Mark McCrindle defines Australia's population growth at 23,000,000 [VIDEO]
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