Marriages and Weddings in Australia [Infographic]

Friday, February 13, 2015

Analysis of the latest ABS marriages data (ABS cat 3310.0) shows that there are more weddings today than a decade ago. And with the ‘in-between’ seasons (Autumn and Spring) deemed the most popular times of year to tie the knot, wedding venues in Australia should brace for a few busy days over the coming months.

Marriages on the decline?

While the number of marriages taking place each year in Australia has been rising for more than a decade, recent figures show that marriages are on the decrease, with an average of 118,962 marriages taking place per year, a figure that is down 4,282 since 2011.

This means that we see an average of 326 marriages occurring per day across Australia, with the most happening in New South Wales, followed closely by Queensland.

Bride and Groom getting older

First time Brides & Grooms are getting older: The average age of first time brides is now over 28 and around 30 for first time grooms. There are now less than half as many grooms aged 20-24 as there were in 1993. And while brides we most commonly aged 20-24 in 1990 today they rank third after those aged 25-29 and 30-34. In 2013 there were 77 Australians that married for the first time who were aged over 75!

Cohabitation still dominant, but decreasing

Up until recently, the number of Australians living together prior to marriage had risen every year since records on this began more than a decade ago. In 2010 this figure peaked at 79%, but has since decreased slightly to 77%. While on the decline, this still means that currently, almost 4 in 5 Australian couples live together before marrying.

Culturally Diverse Marriages

55% of couples married are both born in Australia, while the remainder (45%) have one or both partners born overseas.

Autumn and spring the time to wed

November (spring) and March (autumn) are the most popular months to get married, each hosting 12% of Australia’s yearly marriages. October is also quite popular, hosting 11% followed by April (10%).

The least likely month to wed in Australia is the dead of winter – June and July – each hosting 5% of Australia’s yearly marriages.

Saturday Weddings most popular

Saturdays are by far the most popular day to get married, on which 56% of all weddings take place. Sunday is also a popular day, with 15% of weddings taking place on a Sunday, a figure that is up from 13% in 2011.

Time and money challenges may be the factors influencing couples to get creative with their marriage date. Some interesting choices in 2013 included, 59 marriages on New Year’s Day.

Social Researcher Mark McCrindle said Australia is seeing a migration away from wedding in the hot Summer months ‘due to greater competition for venues, higher venue prices and the increased flexibility with taking leave from work outside these months, which influence couples as they choose a date. Like the travel industry, shoulder seasons are beginning to replace the summer months as a more desirable option when it comes to tying the knot’.

Close to 3 in 4 (73%) weddings are conducted by a civil celebrant, while the remaining 27% are religious.

"The trend to civil weddings is also driving the season. With church attendances declining, the one-time Australians were likely to pass through the church doors was for a wedding, but now just 27% of all weddings are conducted by ministers of religion. This has led to a trend of more varied locations for ceremonies, many of these with an outdoor aesthetic where the climate matters more than for the church wedding,” said Social Researcher Mark McCrindle.

First marriage, remarriage and divorce

72% of all marriages are first marriages, with the remaining 28% remarriages.

Divorces have slowed to 48,000 per year, with the median age of females getting divorced 42.9 and 47.0 for males.




For media enquiries please contact the office on 02 8824 3422 or ashley@mccrindle.com.au

#TuesdayTrend

Tuesday, February 10, 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 will release a trend about Australia for #TuesdayTrend. Be sure to follow, share and interact with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Follow us on:


ABOUT RESEARCH VISUALISATION


In a world of big data- we’re for visual data. We believe in the democratisation of information- that research should be accessible to everyone not just to the stats junkies. We’re passionate about turning tables into visuals, data into videos and reports into presentations. As researchers, we understand the methods but we’re also designers and we know what will communicate, and how to best engage. We’re in the business of making you look good and your data make sense.


For more information, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you:

W: researchvisualisation.com

E: info@researchvisualisation.com

P: +61 2 8824 3422

Australia's Population Map and Generational Profile Update

Monday, February 09, 2015

Here at McCrindle we love Australia and everything about it - the people, Aussie spirit, weather and community. As 2015 kicks off we bring to you a visualised overview of Australia’s Population and Generational Profile, to help you understand the demographics of this great country and so you can blitz that next trivia night!

The Population Map

  • This year Australia’s population is predicated to hit 24 million!
  • Our population growth rate (1.6%) means that we are growing by 364,800 people each year! Net overseas migration accounts for more than half (58%) of this growth, while the remaining 42% is accredited to natural increase.
  • Sydney is home to the most Aussie’s (almost 5 million), followed by Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
  • There are 9.1 million households in Australia, and on average 2.6 people live in them.
  • The median age of Australian’s today is 37.3, and our life expectancy is around 82 years old.
  • Aussie’s are most likely to get married in their late twenties (29.1) and become parents in their early thirties (31.9). Our fertility rate (1.9) is even higher than the OECD average (1.7)!

Our Generational Profile

Australia is made up of 6 generations, spanning those in their 80’s and above (the Builder’s) to our newborns today (Generation Alpha). Each generation has grown up in a definitive time of unique challenge and opportunity, and how the times have changed! For example, while just 1 in 10 Builders obtained a university degree, half of our emerging generation Alpha’s are predicated to do the same.


What we do

At McCrindle, our expertise is analysing findings and effectively communicating insights and strategies. Our skills are in designing and deploying world class social and market research. Our purpose is advising organisations to respond strategically in changing times. As social researchers we help organisations, brands and communities know the times.


If we can assist you with communicating insights or visualising data, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you:

E: info@mccrindle.com.au

P: 02 8824 3422

Gen Z and Gen Alpha Infographic Update

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE EMERGING GENERATIONS

We are in the midst of a generational landmark, as Australia’s “Digital Integrators” (Generation Z) began sitting their final school exams last year, and the first Generation Alpha’s begin their schooling career this year. Below we provide an explanation about each of these generations, and some interesting facts about them.


GEN Z

The students of our world today who are currently at school and university are the children of Generation X, the cohort that follows Generation Y, and who are born between 1995 and 2009. They are Generation Z.

Generation Z are the largest generation ever, comprising around 20% of Australia’s population and almost 30% of the world’s population. Globally there are almost 2 billion of them.

They are the first fully global generation, shaped in the 21st century, connected through digital devices, and engaged through social media.


GEN Z FACTS

  • AKA ‘generation connected’ or ‘dot com kids’
  • 1 in 2 predicted to obtain a uni degree
  • By 2025, will make up 27% of the workforce
  • Predicted to work 17 jobs, 5 careers and live in 15 homes in their lifetime
  • 2,000,000,000 Gen Zs globally
  • Use slanguage like ‘Cray cray’, ‘Defs’, ‘Fomo’ and ‘YOLO’

GEN ALPHA

Following our Gen Zeds are our pre-schooler and kindergarteners of today – Gen Alpha.

Born since the year 2010 they are aged 0-5, they are the children of Gen Y, and there are 1.6 million of them in Australia. They are truly the millennial generation, born and shaped fully in the 21st century, and the first generation that we will see in record numbers in the 22nd century as well. They are logged on and linked up – known as ‘digital natives’. They are the most materially endowed and technologically literate generation to ever grace the planet!


GEN ALPHA FACTS

  • 2.5 million Gen Alpha’s born around the globe each week
  • Most popular boys names: Oliver, William, Jack, Noah, Jackson
  • Most popular girls names: Charlotte, Olivia, Ava, Emily and Mia

What will Australia look like in 2034, the year when first cohort of Generation Alphas are in their early 20s?

  1. The population of Melbourne will be 5.9 million (that’s larger than the whole of Victoria today).
  2. Australia will have reached 32 million (up from 23 million currently).
  3. The global population will be 8.8 billion (that’s twice what it was when the parents of Generation Alpha were born in the early 1980’s).
  4. India will have surpassed China as the world’s most populous nation.
  5. There will be more Australians aged over 60 than under 20 for the first time in our history (a sign of our ageing population).
  6. Australia’s median age (where half the population is younger and half is older) will be 40. It was 29 when the parents of Gen Alpha were born.
  7. The most common household type will be the couple, no kids households, for the first time ever eclipsing the nuclear family of today (couple with children).


For a visual representation of the data, please see our Gen Z and Gen Alpha Infographic.

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.

The First Gen Alpha's Start School

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
The launch of the iPad in 2010 coincided with the beginning of our current generation of children, Generation Alpha – and there are now 2.5 million Gen Alphas being born around the globe each week.

As school starts back this week, we welcome Gen Alpha to the beginning of their educated life, as they commence their formal learning process.

WHO IS GEN ALPHA?


Following our Gen Zeds are our pre-schooler and kindergarteners of today – Gen Alpha.

Born since the year 2010 they are aged 0-5, they are the children of Gen Y, and there are 1.6 million of them in Australia. If they’re a boy they’re likely to be called Oliver, William, Jack, Noah or James. And if they’re a girl, Charlotte, Olivia, Ava, Emily or Amelia are the top 5 most common Gen Alpha names.

Gen Alphas began being born with the launch of the iPad in 2010, and already a third of Australians use a tablet.

A GENERATION OF DIGITAL NATIVES


Gen Alpha were born into a world of iPhones (in fact the word of the year in 2010 when they were first born was “app”), YouTube (there are now 100 hours of YouTube videos uploaded every minute, and in this environment they are more influenced by the visual and the video than the written and the verbal), and Instagram (where life is photographed and shared instantly and globally).

It’s a world of Screenagers where not only do they multi-screen and multi-task, but where glass has become the new medium for content dissemination and unlike the medium of paper, it is kinaesthetic, visual, interactive, connective and still portable. Glass was something that Gen Ys were told to look through and keep their fingers off – for Gen Alpha, glass is a medium through which they touch, talk, and look at. And whilst Baby Boomers remember the introduction of the colour TV in the 1960s and 70s, Gen Alphas are being shaped in a world where they can view a YouTube video from a smartphone onto the home TV.

It’s truly the millennial generation, born and shaped fully in the 21st century, and the first generation that in record numbers will see in the 22nd century as well. They are logged on and linked up – digital natives. They are the most materially endowed and technologically literate generation to ever grace the planet!

THE MOST FORMALLY EDUCATED GENERATION TO DATE


Gen Alpha babies are the product of Australia's second and bigger baby boom, and they will grow up to be smarter, richer and healthier, obtaining the highest level of formal education in history.

Because their parents will indulge them in more formal education and at an earlier age, Gen Alpha will have access to more information than any other generation gone before. Their formal education has never been equalled in the history of the world, with a predicted 1 in 2 Gen Alphas to obtain a university degree.

Generation Alpha will surpass even the praised and sophisticated Zeds in terms of education, with 90 per cent predicted to complete Year 12, compared to 79.9 per cent today, and with the majority going on to tertiary education in some form.

A shift in educational engagement is also occurring for Gen Alpha, changing from structural and auditory to engaging, visual, multimodal and hands-on methods of educating this emerging generation.

INFOGRAPHIC AND MEDIA CONTACT


Please see the below infographic for a visual representation of the data.

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

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

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.

For more about McCrindle Research, please click here.


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