Research Shows Generational Difference In Views on Race and LGBTQ+ Politics
More Than Half of Young Brits Believe the UK Has a Serious Racism Problem.
- Generation ‘Z’ say racism is the biggest issue facing Britain after the pandemic.
- Some 61% of Baby Boomers say the country is on the right track while 63% of Gen Z claim it’s going in the wrong direction.
- Older Brits are least likely to have suffered from mental health issues during Covid-19 but most Gen Z claim it’s impacted their life.
- All generations united in saying climate change is an existential threat to the planet.
Nearly half of young Brits believe systemic racism is a major problem facing the UK, according to Gen Z research in a new report from BCW and PSB that reveals brands, politicians and institutions face an existential threat from a deepening generational divide.
The 2021 BCWPSB Generations Report was commissioned to better understand the attitudinal differences between the generations on the most important topics in society today.
According to the report, that the gap between Gen Z and older Baby Boomers is bigger than ever, with nearly two-thirds of 16-to-24 year olds (63%) saying the UK is on the wrong track, compared with 61 per cent of 66-to-75 year-olds who say it’s on the right path.
And the generational differences are stark on the issue of race and diversity. After COVID, racism is said by Gen Z to be the biggest issue facing Britain today– at 39 per cent – far ahead of the environment and climate change. And younger Brits are more likely to support a brand that speaks out against police brutality towards black people, as well as seek out employers that focus on diversity in its leadership ranks and speak out against social issues more generally.
But just 7 per cent of Baby Boomers say the same, ranking racism below issues such as fake news, government spending, and reform of the criminal justice system.
Gen Z will also put their money where their mouth is when it comes to choosing brands, as almost 1 in 5 have made a purchase in the last year to support a Black-owned business (compared to 1 per cent of Baby Boomers).
Gen Z are also markedly more concerned about levels of sexism (say 16 per cent of Gen Z vs. 5 per cent of all respondents) and LGBTQ+ rights (13 per cent of Gen Z vs. 4 per cent of all respondents) and more likely to back cuts to police spending to pay for the pandemic and rising levels of debt.
“COVID has unleashed a new era of mobilisation, with young people in particular calling for brand action on a raft of social issues,” said Rebecca Grant, CEO, BCW UK. “Brands, politicians and institutions that jump into these fast-moving discussions without fully considering and communicating their purpose risk falling afoul of both sides of the generational divide.”
The 2021 BCWPSB Generations Report also found that the pandemic has exacerbated mental health struggles, with 55 per cent of Gen Z feeling worse off.
“The younger generations, and Gen Z in particular, are feeling the pandemic crunch with their access to work, which is often also their social sphere, being severely restricted in the pandemic,” said Clarissa Valiquette, Managing Director, EMEA, of PSB Insights, who have specialised in Gen Z research as of late. “COVID-19 is having long-lasting effects on this generation’s social lives, mental health, their relationships with people and technology, education and career prospects. Many younger generations before them have complained the world is unfair for them, but this time it appears to be more true than ever.”
In the face of increasing disagreement on a raft of social issues, all generations say businesses should pay a tax on the level of data they hold on individuals (62 per cent overall) and that they should do more to tackle climate change (33 per cent overall).
But while generations are also united in saying that freedom of speech is under threat (69 per cent agree), there remains a greater divide on what position brands should take. While younger generations are more likely to want corporations to speak up and take a stand on social issues as they emerge, nearly half (48%) of baby boomers think brands should stay out of social issues all together, according to the boomer vs Gen Z research.
This is an interesting argument, as brands and their advertisements are increasingly being seen as bastions of cultural representation. What do you think about these stats? Head to our Facebook and leave us a comment on this article post.
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