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More than seven in ten young people say they are optimistic about their future, according to a survey

Who said that all young people are jaded, disillusioned, in pain? The barometer carried out by BVA for Macif and the Jean-Jaurès Foundation among 1,000 French people aged 18 to 24, revealed by Le Figaro, clearly refutes this preconceived idea.

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More than seven in ten young people say they are optimistic about their future, according to a survey

Who said that all young people are jaded, disillusioned, in pain? The barometer carried out by BVA for Macif and the Jean-Jaurès Foundation among 1,000 French people aged 18 to 24, revealed by Le Figaro, clearly refutes this preconceived idea. It reveals that a large majority of young people (72%) say they are optimistic about their future. That is 10 points more than in the previous edition of the survey last year. They are also around the same proportion (69%) to say that their morale is good (3 points compared to 2022).

“We feel a return of the energy of post-Covid youth,” observes Alban Gonord, director of engagement at Macif. I read it as a positive exit from a situation which kept young people isolated, anxious, with a feeling of abandonment. The stigma of the health crisis and confinements, which have plunged many young people into psychological torment, seem to be fading little by little. “I think I have reacclimatized to life quite well, I go out a lot and often see my friends,” says Capucine, a 21-year-old student from the Ile-de-France region. However, I know a lot of friends my age who don't go out as much as before and who tell me that they prefer to stay at home since Covid.

A sign of this apparent renewal, 61% of young people surveyed say they are more in search of meaning and commitment in their work or studies (5 points compared to 2022), and 49% more motivated than before (7 points). For Victor, 23, current challenges, particularly ecological ones, are more a reason for action than paralysis. He, who works alternately in Toulouse in aeronautics, a sector at the forefront of criticism regarding its environmental impact, believes that “each generation faces its own challenges”. “I have no doubt that we will be able to overcome them!”, he assures, saying “often think about the future”. “I think about how I can change this worrying world, and in particular the aeronautics sector.”

Also read “It was my dream job, but I quickly became disillusioned”: these young executives disappointed by their first job

Despite everything, not everyone is in the same state of mind. Alexandra, 24, says she is very worried about her future, and that of society in general. “People are becoming more and more violent, disrespectful, condescending, hateful. I am more and more afraid for myself and for my loved ones, and I am afraid of starting a family later. Professionally, I'm afraid of having to choose a job that pays rather than a job that I enjoy. I’m afraid I won’t find any elsewhere,” says the young woman, currently in the final year of her master’s degree in letters, arts and human sciences, saying she is unable to plan ahead.

The barometer from Macif and the Jean-Jaurès Foundation actually shows that most young people seem to have difficulty planning for the long term. However, almost half (48%) say they can imagine themselves in the next five years. “This short-termism is also illustrated in the future topics that they think about,” notes the study. A minority thinks about the future of their future child(ren) (42%), the assets they will pass on (35%), their social protection (32%) and their retirement (25 %). The future subject that concerns them the most, by far, is their savings (64%). “When we enter working life, we think about saving for retirement,” reports Océane, a 23-year-old from Niort.

For Alban Gonord, this importance given to savings is symptomatic of Generation Z. “It is a youth attached to a form of stability, of framework. We could call it “cocoon youth” or “beaver youth”, which is full of energy but first seeks its own comfort,” analyzes the director of engagement at Macif, also observing “a distance from at work and refocusing on herself. And also a strong family aspiration. For a third of young people surveyed (32%), a fulfilling family life is the embodiment of a successful life, ahead of money and travel.

We find this search for stability in Generation Z's relationship with work. For example, 18-24 year olds are more likely to say they want to stay as long as possible within the same company (29%) than to change companies. repeatedly (20%). “I don’t see myself doing the work I do for 10 or 15 years, but I see myself staying within my company,” says Océane, for example, a customer advisor within a large insurance group.

Also read: Flexible contracts, teleworking, 4-day week: how companies are trying to attract young people

And yet, in the same survey, we learn that this need for balance is not antithetical to a search for commitment. More than one in two young people (56%) say they feel ready to get involved in at least one organization in the future - particularly in an association (32%) - i.e. 11 points more than in 2022. "It there is a contradiction between the behaviors and expectations of young people, who are rather introverted, and their declarative ideal, where the collective can be mobilized here,” believes Alban Gonord. So, “they expect a lot from the company,” he adds. For example, 41% consider that the company must be useful to society. Enough to help us understand the desire of many young people to change things from the inside. Like Victor, who calls on his generation to “act within companies”, which have “the levers to change things and implement ecological transition projects”.

But be careful not to fall into generalizations. Examples of young people truly engaged in action are legion. Omar, 19 years old and a business school student, has already started and has a clear vision of the future of his commitment. A member for three years of an association working in favor of the education of children from isolated rural regions in Morocco, the young man says he ultimately wants this to “materialize through a political commitment to participate in systemic reform movements” in his country. native Morocco.

For her part, Thaïs, a 22-year-old high-level boxer, in the running to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, created her own association, the aim of which is to facilitate access to the sport. “I don’t watch the news too much, I want to keep my energy to act at my level and change things around me,” she says. The young sportswoman, also a student in sports management, also has more ideas. She says she is already planning on entrepreneurship, “the logical continuation of association and sport”.

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