Filipino millennials’ optimism, faith in leaders on the wane

Facing continuous technological and societal disruption, Filipino millennials are showing growing disillusionment with traditional institutions, skepticism of business’ motives, and pessimism about economic and social progress. This is according to the 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey, which was released locally by Deloitte Philippines.

Asked about the country’s economic prospect, 48 percent of Filipino millennials expect it to improve in the next 12 months, significantly down from 78 percent last year. Even fewer millennials are optimistic about the country’s social/political outlook: 41 percent expect it to improve in the next 12 months, also significantly down from last year’s 68 percent. Just the same, Filipino millennials remain more optimistic than the rest of their peers: globally, less than a third of millennials expect their respective economies and social/political situations to improve in the next few months.

This year’s survey also revealed millennials’ wariness towards traditional institutions. Respondents were asked if they think traditional institutions – i.e., political leaders, religious/faith leaders, social media platforms, business leaders, traditional media/journalists, and leaders of NGOs – are having a positive impact on them and the world around them, and if they trust these same institutions as reliable sources of information.

The group that received the most favorable view is NGO leaders: 58 percent of Filipino millennials believe they have a positive impact, yet only 28 percent of millennials say this same group is a reliable source of information. In fact, millennials have little trust for traditional institutions across the board, with political leaders faring the worst: only 16 percent of millennials trust this group as an accurate source of information; 36 percent believe politicians have a positive impact.

Interestingly, traditional media and social media landed at about the same spot along the trust axis – 22 percent of Filipino millennials trust traditional media, and 21 percent trust social media as sources of reliable information. But social media fared slightly better on the impact axis: 48 percent of Filipino millennials believe social media has a positive impact, while 38 percent say the same about traditional media.

“It’s a cause for concern when we see young people reporting that they have little trust for the organizations and institutions they’re supposed to look up to as leaders,” says Eric Landicho, Deloitte Philippines managing partner & CEO. “For our part as business leaders, we have the responsibility to understand what is fueling this distrust or wariness, and then to take appropriate steps to mitigate or address it.”

Indeed, there seems to be a growing gap between businesses and Filipino millennials. Asked what impact they think businesses around the world are having on wider society, 76 percent of Filipino millennials said the impact is positive, down from 93 percent last year. Globally, just over half (55 percent) of millennials believe businesses have a positive impact on society. And this demographic is letting its wallet do the talking: 44 percent of Filipino millennials said that as a consumer, they have stopped/lessened their relationship with a business because its products or services negatively impact the environment or society. Globally, 38 percent of millennials did the same.

Social media: friend or foe?

The generation that grew up with social media seems to have a conflicted relationship with the platform. Eighty-one percent of Filipino millennials say they’d be physically healthier and 73 percent believe they’d be happier if they reduced the time they spend on social media, compared to 64 percent (physically healthier) and 60 percent (happier) globally. Yet 52 percent of Filipino millennials admit they’d be anxious if they couldn’t check their social media accounts or had to give it up for a day or two, compared to 44 percent globally. Not surprisingly, 61 percent of Filipino millennials believe that social media does more harm than good, compared to 55 percent globally.

“You could say that this conflicted attitude towards social media is a reflection of the conflicting impact the platform has on the lives of its users,” says Landicho. “On one hand, it allows people to connect more easily with others across geographical and societal divides, but it also exposes users to so many serious risks such as fraud and even cyberbullying.”

Indeed, 90 percent of Filipino millennials worry about being the victim of online fraud, with 78 percent admitting that they feel they have no control over who has their personal data and how it is used. Thirty-five percent of Filipino millennials admit they would like to completely stop using social media, compared to 41 percent globally.

About the Deloitte Millennial Survey

The 2019 report is based on the views of 13,416 millennials questioned across 42 countries. In the Philippines, 301 millennials were interviewed, of which 63 percent hold a college degree; 74 percent work full or part-time (less than 30 hours per week). Millennials included in the study were born between January 1983 and December 1994.