Saudi Millennials more positive than increasingly pessimistic global peers

29 May 2019 4 min. read

Millennials in Saudi Arabia have been found to be more positive than their increasingly pessimistic global peers according to Deloitte’s latest annual global survey.

Taking the pulse of more than 13,000 Millennials around the globe – those born between 1983 and 1994 – the eighth annual edition of Deloitte’s Global Millennial Survey has for the first time sought the views of Saudi Arabia’s younger generations, with Millennials in the Kingdom proving to be far more positive on average than their increasingly distrustful and pessimistic global peers.

Dubbed by Deloitte as a ‘generation disrupted’, the survey found that economic and social/political optimism is now at record lows among disillusioned Millennials, who in addition to being pessimistic about social progress and lacking faith in traditional societal institutions (including mass media), and largely unsatisfied with their own lives, financial situations, employment and leaders.

As one measure, barely one quarter of young respondents across the 42 countries of the study expected the economic situations in their countries to improve in the coming year (a sentiment effectively echoing this year’s PwC global CEO outlook) – a sharp decline from the 45 percent of positive responses recorded over the past two years, with the figure not having previously dropped below 40 percent.

Millennial outlooks by country

“From the economic recession a decade ago to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Millennials and Gen Zs have grown up in a unique moment in time impacting connectivity, trust, privacy, social mobility and work,” commented Deloitte Middle East CEO Omar Fahoum on the global results. “This uncertainty is reflected in their personal views on business, government, leadership and the need for positive societal change agents.”

Unlike local CEOs and business leaders however, the youth of Saudi Arabia bucked the widespread trend toward negativity by stating above average satisfaction with their lives and optimism for future career and entrepreneurship opportunities – with 58 percent of Saudi youth having ambitions to start their own business, 68 percent believing its achievable, and 70 percent expecting that they will reach a senior level in their chosen career path.

“On average, the Millennial generation in Saudi Arabia is more satisfied with their life today compared to the global average, with 34 percent of Saudi responding positively compared to only 29 percent globally,” said Mazen Pharaon, a Partner with Deloitte who was appointed last year to lead the firm’s Digital Center in Riyadh. Also, “Fifty-two percent of Saudi Millennials have ambitions to reach a senior level in their chosen career, compared to 34 percent globally.”

One further interesting finding from the survey, against the backdrop of local workforce nationalisation efforts and a traditional regional tendency toward preferencing public sector employment, was the 94 percent of Saudi Millennials who stated they would consider joining the gig economy. “Such findings represent positive indicators for Saudi Arabia’s private sector and the government’s economic development goals,” stated Fahoum.

He concludes; “Millennials make up over a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s population and are playing a hugely significant role in the nation’s socioeconomic development. Our survey demonstrates that Saudi Millennials are far more bullish about the economic outlook for their own country than global peers, hold a more positive perception of business, and possess the skills and knowledge to find success in Industry 4.0 roles.”