Winter blues: Having real impact in Australia

Monday, July 20, 2015

Winter blues, also called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), winter depression or seasonal depression, is a condition in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in winter. (Wikipedia)

This July 2015 research took the symptoms and triggers of the winter blues and tested them among a sample of more than 1,000 Australians and found that indeed the impacts of winter are affecting Australians.

Winter makes us over-sleep, over-eat and become less social

More than half (54%) of Australians say that they experience increased difficulty waking up in the morning in winter compared to the warmer months. Similarly, 55% also have more of a tendency to oversleep in winter.

47% of Australians suffer an increased tendency to overeat in winter, with more than 2 in 5 experiencing a craving for carbohydrates (43%) and sweet foods (43%) during the colder months of the year.

42% of us experience a reduced social life during winter and participate in less interactions, which may be linked to the reduced energy (45%) and reduced enjoyment (35%) that we feel during these colder months.

More than 1 in 3 (35%) say they feel more down and depressed in winter than in the warmer months, whereas only 6% experience less of a feeling of being down and depressed during winter.

More than 1 in 4 experience increased irritability (28%) and a feeling of pessimism (26%) during the winter months as well.

Winter impacts the workforce


Winter has an impact on employee performance and the business bottom line with 1 in 3 (33%) Australian employees admitting to suffering reduced motivation at work during winter. Winter also affects employee productivity for 27% of Australians who are less efficient in their role during these colder months.

Sickness also impacts the workforce much more in winter, with around 1 in 3 (31%) Australian employees taking increased time off because of it, with 8% indicating this occurs much more during winter.

Winter affects 28% of Australian employees in the way of less social connection and effectiveness with their work colleagues, while 23% of are also much more likely to arrive late to work in winter than in the warmer months.

Spring Australia’s favourite season

The results are in and the favourite season of Australians is spring with close to 2 in 5 (38%) saying it is their favourite.

Not only was spring the most favourite among Australians, it was also the second favourite beating out autumn.

Winter is the least favourite season for close to 3 in 5 (59%) Australians, making it the least loved season for Aussies.

The cost of work: What we pay to work in 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

The unemployment rate is rising, but so are the costs of work. And while living costs and house prices have been rising faster than wages, the costs associated with work are also on the way up. From toll roads to public transport costs, a simple cup of coffee to updating work clothes. From childcare costs to tax increases, Australians are paying to work.

A recent 2015 McCrindle Research study of over 540 working Australians reveals that income doesn’t just generate wealth, it also consumes it. Australians are forking out more than ever on transport costs, clothing and food while they are working, significantly reducing their take-home pay. Incurring travel costs associated with work, work-related education expenses, child-care costs, and income tax all further reduce a full-time worker’s take-home pay to less than two thirds of their gross salary.

THE LIFESTYLE COSTS OF WORK

95% of working Australians spend their own money on food and beverages during work times, with almost 3 in 4 Australians (74%) purchasing lunch, morning tea, or coffees when at work or when travelling to/from work at least once per week. More than one fifth of Australians (22%) spend their own money on consumable food items every single day while they are at work.

YOUNGER MALES BUY LUNCH MOST

Males tend to eat out more often, with 27% of male employees purchasing food or beverages at least once per day (compared with 16% of females). The frequency at which employees purchase consumables while at work decreases with age. While 78% of Generation Ys and 77% Generation Xs spend their own money on food and beverages at least once per week, this reduces to 60% for the Baby Boomer Generation.

ALMOST $900 ON LUNCHES PER YEAR

The average Australian employee spends $18.52 on lunches, snacks, and beverages during their workday every week. This takes into consideration the 6% of Australians who don’t spend money on food while they are at work, and ranges to include those who go out more than once a day, some of whom spend over $100 on food and beverages while at work each week. Over a 48-week work year, this average weekly spend accumulates to $889 per year.

THE COST OF FASHION

In an effort to keep up with the latest styles and fashions or simply to avoid wearing the same thing every day, employees spend hundreds of dollars on clothing per year. Australians report spending an average of $320 each year of their own money on clothes they require directly for work. This includes employees across all industries and factors into account those who spend very little, having uniforms supplied, as well as those who purchase corporate apparel.

GETTING TO WORK: THE RISING COST OF CARS

After childcare and tax costs, transport is the greatest expense when it comes to work, with the average Australian spending $99.88 each week on work-related petrol costs, tolls, and/or public transport tickets. While public transport cost increases have been modest, the big challenge for workers has been the rising cost of petrol, tolls and car ownership, and this is particularly relevant for the 2 in 3 Australians (65.5%) who travel to work by private vehicle. The average full time worker spends almost $4,800 per year just on getting to and from work.

UPSKILLING, RETRAINING AND KNOWLEDGE-GAINING

30% of working Australians spent their own money last year on education and training directly associated with their line of work, averaging to $1,936. Overall (accounting for the 70% who didn’t spend any of their own money on employment-related learning), the average Australian worker spends $588.60 per annum of their own money on training, and much of this, where it is retraining for a new career or role, is not tax deductable.

THE CHILDCARE COST CHALLENGE

The Productivity Commission Study into childcare shows the median childcare costs are $7.40 per hour ($74 for a 10 hour day). For those requiring full time childcare for 50 hours per week, this would cost them $370 per week which equates to 22% of the average full time weekly earnings.

A TAXING PROBLEM

The current average full time weekly earnings is $1539.40 per week ($80,049 per annum) which brings this average wage into the third tax bracket (a tax rate of 37 cents per dollar). Based on the 2015-2016 tax schedule this average annual earnings package would attract a tax bill of $16,768.

FOR MANY, IT IS MORE THAN HALF

The average full-time Australian worker who earns $80,049 per annum (current full time adult weekly earnings) is spending $889 of that on lunches, $320 on wardrobe changes, $4,794 on transport costs, $587 on education, $17,760 on child-care (based on 70 hours at average costs) and $16,768 on tax (not including tax deductions). These total work costs add up to $41,118, which is 51% of the average annual gross.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Q and A: Gen Y family formers

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What is now the most common age of women when they have their first baby; how has this changed in Australia and what are the forecasts?

Generation Y has transformed the lifestages that once marked adulthood and independence. The age of leaving home, starting full time employment, getting a mortgage, marriage and starting a family have all been pushed back later in life. Four decades ago, the median age of females giving birth was 25, while today it is 30.7. Similarly, the median age of females at first birth has been pushed five years later to 29.3. Indeed the age group with the highest fertility rate (births per female) are those 30-34, well above the second category of those aged 25-29, and of all age years from 20-39, the only one that has been growing over this decade are those aged 35-39.

The reasons for the delays in starting families and the rise of older parents are numerous. Generation Y are staying in education longer and starting their earnings later than their parents did. While 1 in 5 Baby Boomers has a university degree and 1 in 4 Gen Xers, for Generation Y it is 1 in 3. Generation Y is the first generation where females have a higher level of formal education than males with 29% of males aged 25-34 holding a university degree compared to 40% of females in this age group. But this increased education comes at the price of delayed earnings and a university debt. Additionally, this generation are beginning their economic lives in times of growing living costs and declining housing affordability. Four decades ago, the average capital city house price was the equivalent of 5 times average annual earnings, by the mid 90s it had stretched to 6 times, while today it is 10 times average annual earnings. In Sydney the median city house price is more than 13 times average annual full time earnings of $72,000.

While the economic, educational and social trends have pushed back the age of starting families, there are biological limits to this trend. Over the last few decades, IVF technology has provided fertility assistance to women in their 30s who are part of this delayed parenting trend, however as fertility expert William Ledger, Professor of Medicine at UNSW points out, “beyond the age of 40, the success rate of IVF has barely moved since the first test tube baby was born in the 1970s”. Scientific advances such as egg freezing and fertility testing continue to assist those who are past the traditional child bearing age, however reversing the chromosomal changes to eggs as women age has not yet become a reality. Generation Z who enter their 20s this year may follow the Generation Y experience by responding to these biological realities and scientific limitations by balancing their family forming years amidst their career and financial goals rather than after they have been achieved.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

More on changing generational characteristics can be found in Mark McCrindle’s book The ABC of XYZ: Understanding The Global Generations.


Australia's Capital Cities

Thursday, July 09, 2015

AUSTRALIA’S CAPITAL CITIES: GROWTH, CHANGE & A FUTURE FORECAST

CAPITAL CITIES

Over 66% of Australians live in the greater metropolitan area of Australia’s 8 capital cities with Sydney being the largest (around 4.9 million), followed by Melbourne (4.5 million). Darwin is Australia’s smallest capital city, with a current population of around 144,000. The nation’s capital, Canberra, has a population of 394,000, larger than Darwin and Hobart combined.

The title of fastest growing city is held by Perth which has recorded 3.05% per year for the past 5 years whilst Hobart has the lowest rate of growth of only 0.67% per year over the same period. Sydney and Melbourne recorded growth of 1.5% and 1.95% per year over respectively.

In terms of population increase, Melbourne comes up on top with an increase of 95,655 people in the last year while Hobart only had an increase of 1,247 people in the same period. In fact Melbourne is growing by more people every 5 days than Hobart adds in an entire year. Sydney recorded an increase of 84,230 people in the last year and based on this increase will be Australia’s first city to reach 5 million, a milestone it will achieve by the middle of 2016.

However, at a state level there have been significant changes over the last 3 years in the population growth rate across Australia. Western Australia, which was the fastest growing state has seen this annual growth rate more than halve from a peak of 3.68% in 2012 to just 1.58% currently. Over the same period of time, Queensland’s growth has also declined significantly from 2.0% to 1.37% now, while Victoria’s consistent population growth rate of 1.75% makes it the fastest growing of any Australian state or territory.

Sydney has a population approximately 400,000 larger than Melbourne’s but Melbourne is growing by over 10,000 more people than Sydney year on year. Assuming medium levels of fertility, overseas migration, life expectancy, and interstate migration flows, Melbourne will take Sydney’s title of Australia’s largest city in 2053 with both cities expected to reach a population of 8 million in 2055.

Perth’s rate of growth will see it overtake Brisbane in 2029 when they both have a population of just over 3 million. They currently have a population of 2.1 million and 2.3 million respectively.

OTHER SIGNIFICANT URBAN AREAS

The Gold Coast – Tweed Heads area has the largest population outside of the capital cities (almost 630,000) and also registered the largest increase in number of residents in 2009 to 2014. The 2nd largest urban area is the Newcastle – Maitland area (430,75435,0005) but the Sunshine Coast had the 2nd largest increase in population even though they are ranked 4th in terms of population size. The City of Dubbo, with a population of 36,622 is the smallest of Australia’s significant urban areas.

Launceston recorded the lowest smallest rate of population increase between 2009 and 2014, growing by only 0.35% per year but they are ranked 13th in overall population, out of 32 significant urban areas. The Traralgon – Morwell area was the only area to experience a population decline with a decrease in population of 28 between 2013 and 2014.

On the other end of the scale, Ellenbrook is the fastest growing urban area by far, recorded growth of 8.35% per year between 2009 and 2014 followed by Melton which recorded growth of 5.32% per year over the same period.

AUSTRALIA'S CAPITALS: POPULATION PROJECTIONS

Sydney

  • Reach 5m in 2016, 6m in 2029, 7m in 2042, 8m in 2055
  • Average annual growth from 2016-2056 = 1.23%

Melbourne

  • Reach 5m in 2021, 6m in 2032, 7m in 2043, 8m in 2055
  • Average annual growth from 2016-2056 = 1.44%

Brisbane

  • Reach 3m in 2028, 4m in 2047
  • Average annual growth from 2016-2056 = 1.6%

Adelaide

  • Reach 1.5m in 2027
  • Average annual growth from 2016-2056 = 0.83%

Perth

  • Reach 3m in 2028, 4m in 2042, 5m in 2055
  • Average annual growth from 2016-2056 = 2.14%

Hobart

  • Reach 250,000 in 2034
  • Average annual growth from 2016-2056 = 0.47%

Darwin

  • Reach 200,000 in 2048
  • Average annual growth from 2016-2056 = 1.08%

Sydney vs Melbourne

  • Melbourne will overtake Sydney for the title of largest Australian city in 2053

Brisbane vs Perth

  • Perth will overtake Brisbane for the title of 3rd largest Australian city in 2029

*Data assuming medium levels of fertility, overseas migration, life expectancy, and interstate migration flows.

Sources: ABS, McCrindle

The changing face of Sydney

Monday, July 06, 2015

“Sydney is a very diverse place, but I think in that diversity, in that difference is a great sense of strength, we all come together as Aussies and as Sydney-siders and I think that’s why so many people, almost 5 million of us, call this city home.” – Mark McCrindle

“The changing face of Sydney has been phenomenal”

Sydney, the place many of us call home, is Australia’s economic powerhouse.

We are adding almost 90,000 people to our city every single year, and the 5 fastest growing areas in New South Wales are all located in Sydney.

Back 50 years ago Sydney had just hit 2 million people, we are going to finish next year at 5 million people.

“Old ways and old attitudes are disappearing”

Sydney is a fascinating and complex landscape where old ways and old attitudes are disappearing.

We used to have a cringe factor of, “this part of the city is better than that part of the city” and people would perhaps be embarrassed if they weren’t closer to where the action was. That’s all changed. People in Greater Western Sydney embrace that as their moniker, proud of being a Westie.

“Sydney; a mini United Nations”

NSW has the highest migration of any Australian state, and Sydney – a global city, receives most of this growth. In this city of diversity, the city’s newest citizens form new tribes in its oldest suburbs.

  • South Africans have embraced Dover Heights,
  • The Chinese – Chatswood and Hurstville,
  • It’s little Lebanon in Mount Lewis,
  • Little England in Manly,
  • A lot of Vietnam in Cabramatta,
  • And the Maltese have made Arndell Park their own.

Now the number one surname in the Parramatta white pages is Patel.

“Sydney is undergoing an opportunity revolution”

And when it comes to work the CBD is no longer the cities undisputed top dog. Sydney is undergoing an opportunity revolution, with entrepreneurial hotspots sprouting up just about everywhere.

You’ve got the media and communications hubs around Surry Hills and Ultimo, and high-tech emerging in areas of Parramatta and even in Penrith. It’s not all just happening in the CBD alone.

The Changing Face of Sydney

Sydney has many faces, but what binds us, the one thing we all have in common is this often complex, always beautiful, ever-changing city.

WATCH THE CHANGING FACE OF SYDNEY SEGMENT BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK OR THE IMAGE BELOW


Scouts Australia Project in Review

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Organisations must respond to the times to remain relevant amidst significant demographic shifts, cultural change, and generational transitions.

Scouts Australia is the nation’s largest youth organisation with a membership of 52,000 youth members. The not-for-profit recently commissioned McCrindle to guide the direction of a major Youth Program Review (YPR) through a three-phase project, helping Scouts to engage with the needs and desires of Australian families, their perceptions of Scouting, and what families are looking for in a contemporary youth organisation.

Engaging Stakeholders for Strategic Organisational Change

RESEARCH AIMS

Through conducting nation-wide research, Scouts Australia sought to determine future directions and develop a detailed understanding of the wider community to:

  • Ensure the values of Scouts Australia engage with those of 21st Century Australia
  • Create a program that meets the needs of their appropriate youth target market

RESEARCH TOOLS

As part of the research, a number of methodologies and tools were utilised:

  • Awareness and Perception Brand Testing: Testing the perceptions, attitudes, awareness of Australians and Scouting families towards Scouting.
  • Competitor Analysis: Defining how the Scouts Australia brand is perceived in comparison to other Australian youth development, extracurricular, and sport organisations.
  • Segmentation Analysis: Comparing Scouts families with Australian families nationally and differences in their values for Australian youth.
  • Demographic Forecasting & Trends Analysis: Understanding the factors that shape and influence Generation Z from a demographic and social trends perspective.


RESEARCH OUTPUTS

Phase 1 provided qualitative insights through a series of focus groups with current and former Scouts members and Scouting parents, testing Scouting’s current landscape and the changes needed in the program, thus setting the foundation for the Phase 2 and Phase 3 research.

Phase 2 sought to define the needs and desires of Australian families for a national youth program through a comprehensive national study of 1,078 Australian parents with children aged 6 to 18, asking parents about their values and what a youth program should look like for a 21st century Australia. These results were compared to the perspectives of 1,858 Scouts parents.

Phase 3 featured a demographic and social trends scoping study on Generation Z and Generation Alpha incorporating McCrindle data, Australian Bureau of Statistics data, and trend analysis from McCrindle’s generational experts.

The McCrindle team visualised and presented the results of all three phases at national and state executive meetings throughout 2014 to engage key stakeholders with the strategic changes required to shape the new Scouts program.

RESEARCH IMPACT

The Scouts Australia YPR team is using the research as a key engagement piece with Scouts members and their families. The results have led to significant discussions among members and decision-makers on what it could look like to provide a highly sought after youth program for 21st century Gen Zs.

“One chief commissioner suggested this is the best research we have ever completed. Your work has assisted in giving credibility to the YPR and strengthening the belief of others for the need to have the YPR.” – Scouts


SECTOR-WIDE NOT-FOR-PROFIT STUDY

In 2015, McCrindle is conducting a sector-wides study for Australian not-for-profit organisations and charities entitled the Australian Community Trends Report. Organisations are invited to participate and sign up by 30 June, 2015.

MCCRINDLE RESEARCH SOLUTIONS

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. See our Research Pack for more information on our services.

Q and A: Couple and Nuclear Families

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Are couples set to overtake nuclear families as the most common household in Australia, and if so, why?

For the first time in Australia's history, the nuclear family (couple with children) will no longer be the most common household – while today they make up 33% of all households, within a few years the couple only household will be the most common type of household.

There are a number of factors influencing this transition, including Generation Y couples having children later, and Baby Boomer households becoming empty nesters in record numbers.

Today the median age of parents is three years older than in 1984. The median age of mothers and fathers at new births is now 30.7 and 33 respectively. The increasing of the median age at new births means that households are remaining couple only for longer.

Besides couple only households, other household types are becoming more prevalent. Multi-generational households are on the increase with Baby Boomers being sandwiched between taking care of their parents (the builders) and their children (Gen Y) who are either studying whilst living at home or choosing to stay or return home after moving out, to combat the increasing costs of living out of home.

In addition to multi-generational homes, single person households are also on the increase and such is the impact of the ageing population that by 2036, solo person households will also be more numerous than nuclear families.

Additionally, the century-long trend of declining household size is set to continue. In 1911 there was 3.5 people per household while today there is an average of 2.6 people per household. However within a decade this will have dropped again to an average of 2.5 people. So Australian households and the generations that comprise them are very different today to those of the 20th Century.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

More on changing household structures can be found in Mark McCrindle’s book The ABC of XYZ: Understanding The Global Generations.


Highlights from #TuesdayTrend

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#TuesdayTrend

As Australia’s social researchers, we take the pulse of the nation. We research communities. We survey society. We analyse the trends. And we communicate the findings.

Every Tuesday we release a trend about Australia for #TuesdayTrend. Here are some of our recent #TuesdayTrends, highlighting fun facts about Australia. Be sure to follow, share and interact with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.



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McCrindle in the media

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

As Australia’s leading social researchers, the senior research team at McCrindle are actively involved in media commentary. From demographic analysis and future forecasts, to communication of key research findings and the identification of social trends, at McCrindle we are passionate about communicating insights in clear, accessible and useable ways.

We assist our clients in identifying newsworthy media angles in their research to assist them in communicating the insights effectively with the broader public.

Here are some of our recent media appearances:

McCrindle in the Media

A record 5 million Visas will be issued in 2015. The 5 million short term arrivals is great news for anyone in the tourism and education sector. But with this increase in population we need to make sure the investment is there in the cities as that's where the permanent arrivals are going to be, that is where the students are going to study and that's where the tourists are going to go.


Click here to watch Mark McCrindle address the topic on Weekend Today.

Australia is currently the fastest growing developed nation on the planet and by the end of this year we will hit 24 million – twice as many people we had in 1968. For the last decade numerically we’ve had the most growth we’ve ever had and in the next 5 years we will add nearly 2 million people to our population as well as nearly a million households. We’re currently adding a new Adelaide to our population every 3 years! (more than a million people; 355,000 each year).

Click here to watch social researcher Eliane Miles discuss the topic on Weekend Today.


What does the Australia of today really look like? With the typical length of employment being 3.3 years and Australians today working on average 17 jobs in their lifetime, we are seeing a shift from job stability to job flexibility. The rise of the couple only household means the nuclear family is on the decline. Because kids are staying at home longer, they've been named the KIPPERS (Kids in Parents Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings). And in the midst of the current baby boom, Australian's are having children later in life.

Click here to watch Research director Claire Madden give insight into these trends.



Forget the name Jack, now it's all about Jaaxxon. The McCrindle boys' list shows how times are changing. Although the same boring old names like Jack and Tom are right up the top, there's a spate of new names like Jayden (38), Tyler (41), Chase (56), Kai (58) and Braxton (77).

Click here to read the full article.




Most members of Generation Y are 'fiscally conservative' and have more money than debt, a new study has found. Generation Y were particularly vulnerable to current economic challenges and these had exacerbated existing inequalities, demographer Mark McCrindle of McCrindle Research said. "Generation Y are the new householders; they're emerging into their careers, they're right in the wealth accumulation life stage . . . so what's happened in the last decade has really hit them hard," he said.

Click here to read the full article.



Australia was a very different place 100 years ago. In 1915, you could buy a block of land for 200 pounds and milk was three pence per litre. Social research company McCrindle dug into the Australian Bureau of Statistics archives to see just how far we’ve come on the eve of the ANZAC Centenary.

Click here to read the full article.


Population Boom [in the media]

Thursday, May 07, 2015

This year a record 5 million VISA’s will be issued to foreign students, tourists and workers, with many of them choosing to call Australia home for good. The unprecedented boom is being likened to the influx that Australia experienced in the aftermath of WWII.

The 5 million short term arrivals are great news for anyone in the tourist and education sector. These sectors are two of our biggest export earners, they keep the economy going so to have more tourists and more students here is fantastic.

Adding an extra 2 million people, even short term is significant.

If you look at just permanent arrivals coming in to Australia and staying for 12 months or more, we are talking about the equivalent population of a new Gold Coast every 15 months.

6 of the Top 10 countries of permanent arrivals are in Asia so we are more connected to that part of the world and it is certainly a big change from the focus on Europe that we had a few decades ago.

The way we really grow in Australia has been by growing our existing cities, our existing population centres by expanding those. We need to make sure the investment is there in the cities because that is where the permanent arrivals are going to be, that’s where the students study and that is where the tourists go.

Largely, the skill VISA program is employing people who are working in fields that Australians aren’t working in or there is a shortage in. So it would be great to think that isn’t actually taking jobs away from those looking for jobs.

Australia will finish this year at 24 million, which is a new milestone. Next year, Sydney will hit 5 million. We know based on the current growth trends that we are going to hit about 40 million people by the middle of this century, and that is based on the current growth we are seeing. So that is a lot of new people that we need to house and again that we can make sure the quality of life is maintained for.

Watch Mark McCrindle address the topic on Weekend Today

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