Hikmet Ersek | The Western Union Company
South African millennials are amongst those from 15 countries who are united by a belief in globalisation; want the freedom to experience the opportunities it brings; and have a desire to play a role in shaping the future using technology – according to a new research study.
The survey of more than 10,000 millennials, commissioned by The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) reveals that this group is confident that globalisation will make the world a better place for themselves and others, and are committed to leading the change.
The world—politically, economically, socially, and technologically—is in flux. But what does this all mean for our future? Western Union commissioned a first-of-its-kind global study about millennials’ beliefs, hopes and aspirations for the future and the world that they wish to shape for themselves and others.
The 2017 Western Union Global Study— “Globalisation: A World View of the Future” — surveyed native, first-generation and foreign-born people between the ages of 20-36 in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam through online interviews.
Most countries surveyed represent significant millennial populations.
The survey shows that in sharp contrast to current geopolitics, this diverse group of tomorrow’s future shapers are united, despite the apparent geographical and cultural disconnect, by a belief in a world of collaboration, unrestricted by borders.
“The world is changing and there is a new economic power shift driven by a new generation of global citizens. They are shaping the future, and inspiring others to do the same. They are redefining globalisation to one of ‘personal globalisation’ where the pursuit of limitless cross-border movement, cross-border digital communication and creative lifestyle drives new economic power,” said Western Union President and Chief Executive Officer, Hikmet Ersek.
“These inspiring future shapers are the leaders of tomorrow and are looking at how they want the world to be, not only for themselves, but for all. This generation is made up all kinds of future leaders – entrepreneurial, corporate, political, and social influencers. It is vitally important to understand what they think and what they want the world to look like.”
Western Union operates in 200 countries and territories worldwide, and commissioned the survey to gain additional insights into the younger customers it serves through its digital channels.
The following key findings are highlighted as important to millennials (please follow hyperlinks to access supporting data):
Global citizenship is pivotal for creating the world millennials want for the future, as they believe the concept of belonging to one individual country is outdated. In line with global views, millennials perceive connection and collaboration as the most critical steps forward to achieving global citizenship, with more than eight out of 10 prescribing to the philosophy.
The idea of limitless movement empowers millennials, as they believe it will allow them to control their destiny. The majority of millennials believe that creating a more open world will unlock opportunities for better job prospects and 70% agree that they are better off financially as a result of limitless movement.
Today, borders going up across the world—and politicians and governments reasserting the concept of the nation state—are leading many millennials to believe that national and local government are not representing their respective views. This is evident in the report which showed that seven in 10 millennials in South Africa do not believe that the state and local governments represent their views as global citizens, however, two-thirds believe international institutions represent their views. The report also underlined that the vast majority of them are adamant that collaboration is essential, and believe that shaping the future is a shared duty, while one quarter still believe it is the responsibility of government to create a world without borders.
There are mixed sentiments regarding whether the world is at peace, given concerns that increased racism and nativism may pose a threat to global citizenship and an open world. Millennials believe the most important trait to eradicate social discrimination is ensuring that there is respect for diversity.