Young Spaniards do not choose a profession thinking about making money. Most of the millennials (those born after the eighties) prefer to work in what they like even if this means a lower salary. Given the difficulty to find a stable and well-paid job or problems to become emancipated, "they have chosen to seek happiness in another way," explains sociologist Belen Barreiro, who has led the preparation of a report by the European Foundation for Progressive Studies based on a survey of 2,200 people. In the absence of professional or housing prospects, young people have reordered their values and prioritize the "enjoyment of life": more leisure time, being free, living experiences and an occupation that satisfies them.
The change of priorities of the millennials it obeys, according to Barreiro -of the company MyWorld- to the circumstances that they have had to live. The one who was director of the CIS between 2008 and 2010 considers that in Spain "the economic crisis has produced an increase in interpersonal distrust and a loss of social capital" among young people, which has resulted in "greater individualism" and in the search of personal fulfillment. In the study, this translates into a duality: more optimism in social areas such as access to information and culture or personal freedom (65% believe it will improve the lives of young people) and much less in economic and political matters , how to find a house or end the monetary inequality.
Most of the millennials They believe they will have a worse life than their parents. His parents and grandparents feel the same: more than 60% of Spaniards are pessimistic about the future of children under 37, according to the results of the study. More than 80% of the population believes that current youth employment is of poor quality and 60% of respondents indicate problems to emancipate themselves.
The report, which has the collaboration of the Felipe González Foundation and the La Caixa Foundation, is not limited to analyzing the perspectives of the population as a whole and young people on the future of the millennials It also explains who makes society responsible for this lack of perspectives. Spaniards are especially critical of their governments. More than 90% of the respondents believe that the policies of the different Executives are the main culprits.
But the biggest determinant, for good and for bad, is the international context. 78% consider it as one of the main reasons that young people will have a better life than their parents, compared to 89% who believe that it will make them have a worse life. The importance of the EU is much greater for people over 37 years of age, since young people indicate it to a lesser extent as a direct influence on their life prospects.
More open society
The respondents point out positive and negative aspects regarding the quality of democracy. For 65%, the deterioration of institutions or corruption are reasons why young people will live worse. More than 50% also consider that the current society is more open, democratic and tolerant and that this benefits the millennials
According to Emma Cerviño, adviser to the Economic and Social Council that participated in the presentation of the study last Thursday, the survey made explicit "that the objective reality coincides with the feelings of the population." For the sociologist, "it is important to have a population that knows that it has a problem and that this problem is long-term." And is that, despite a certain "clash of generations" in some issues – 12% of young people think that the existence of policies that favor retirees is a reason that they will have a worse life, compared to the 6 % of those over 37 years old-, the majority of the population agrees in the pessimistic diagnosis about the future of the millennials
They also agree on the solutions: public policies must be carried out to ensure the future of young people. Improving employment, education and pensions appear as priorities for the entire population. However, elements such as the fight against socioeconomic and gender inequality are only requests from the center-left while policies of birth support are from the center-right.
For Barreiro, "digitization has made young people better than we were." They have a lot of information at their fingertips, greater freedom and better training. But, according to the sociologist, there is a feeling that is repeated among these young "so prepared": "When will I win something that is reasonable?". Despite optimism on certain issues, the negativity seems to be imposed and the future remains uncertain for the millennials.