The Malta Independent 27 November 2021, Saturday

60% of youths would rather move to elsewhere in Europe than stay in Malta, survey finds

Albert Galea Thursday, 21 October 2021, 11:21 Last update: about 2 months ago

A new survey has found that some 60% of millenials and generation-Z youths would rather move abroad to elsewhere in Europe than stay in Malta.

The 4th EY Generate Youth Survey 2021 - The pulse of Malta’s future generations, was carried out amongst Generation-Z and Millennials and published during the third day of EY’s Future Realised Week. It outlines their views on Malta, their future and the similarities and differences between the generations.

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The survey found that only 28% of Gen-Z youths and 26% of millenials want to stay in Malta, with 60% of the former and 59% of the latter stating that they preferred to move elsewhere in Europe.

That’s a rise of 12% in millenials and 3% in Gen-Z.  Smaller percentages said they’d rather move to North America, Asia, or Australia over staying in Malta as well.

Malta’s biggest challenges include overdevelopment, the environment and traffic

Overdevelopment has once again placed first in the list of Malta’s biggest challenges (68%), followed by the environment (55%). COVID-19 was previously in 3rd place but has seen a substantial decrease by 39% in one year, now placing 6th with just 20%. Traffic (26%) is now in 3rd place but has decreased by 7% in just one year, while international image (24%) is in 4th place.

90% of the youths who responded to the survey in fact said that they believe that Malta’s environment is getting worse.

Looking at generational differences, Millennials (71%) are slightly more alarmed by overdevelopment than their Gen-Z (64%) counterparts. Another difference can be seen when it comes to international image, as Millennials (30%) believe it is a bigger issue than Gen-Z (17%).

One of the new survey options, climate change, scored as high as COVID-19 (20%) overall but it seems that this is seen as a much greater challenge to Gen-Z (33%) than Millennials (6%). Considering their concerns for the environment, Malta’s youth believe the government should prioritise investing in pollution reduction and waste management, followed by governance and public education.

Compared to just one year ago both Gen-Z and Millennials financial situation has improved

When it comes to their personal financial situation compared to a year ago, it is looking positive. For Gen-Z, those that are doing better increased by 12%, with 42% now stating they are in a better financial situation. Millennials report a 15% increase as now 46% believing they are better off.

When it comes to the economy these days, the result is similar to the previous year but there are some increases at the lower end of the spectrum. For Gen-Z, the economy is poor for 23%, an increase of 7%. While Millennials have shifted 6% of their good replies towards the lesser ranked fair or poor. Very few respondents from both generations believe the economy is excellent.

Gen-Z gave their own health a concern rating of 2.7/5 this year, compared to 3.3 in 2020. Millennials concern rating on the impact on their own health has also decreased from 3.1/5 to 2.7 this year.  Gen-Z and Millennials concern for the economy has decreased but only slightly by 0.1 each downwards. 

What are their investment priorities?

Considering their concerns for the environment, Malta’s youth believe the government should prioritise investing in pollution reduction and waste management, followed by governance and public education.

Dreams and aspirations to become entrepreneurs have increased over a single year. Like 2020, Gen-Z are more inclined to want to become entrepreneurs over their Millennial counterparts. Since entrepreneurship is the backbone of any thriving economy, these results bode well for Malta.

Those that believe they will not be living better in 5 years’ time has increased by 8% – 10% in a single year. Their responses indicate that there is still some uncertainty as close to 40% do not know. 

View from EY

Ronald Attard, EY Malta Country Managing Partner, had strong words of praise for Malta’s youths: “The future leaders of this country have a lot to say, and this is precisely why we believe so much in gathering their opinions and showcasing them for all to see. They are now in the second year of a global pandemic, shown resilience and will undoubtedly be pivotal in helping Malta to emerge even stronger than before.”

Ronald continued by highlighting their main concerns on the environment: “As the country continues adjusting to new realities, our youth are firmly focused on the preservation of Malta’s environmental landscape, our built environment, and the green economy. It is once again encouraging to see how unified they are in the steadfast desire to safeguard our Island’s natural beauty - before it is too late.”

He also believes many of Malta’s young people will one day be the solution to some of society’s issues: A pleasant result is that so many harbour dreams to become entrepreneurs. They are a resourceful generation, packed with ideas which will transform not only their lives, but those around them with meaningful employment, as well as the entire country. Their aspirations should be wholly encouraged, and their boldness rewarded. Our young people are seeing what’s happening around them in the world today and not simply asking questions but promoting workable solutions.”

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