Gurgaon: The lives of young adults today are drastically different from prior generations, having lived through the pandemic for more than a year. Isolated from friends and the familiar rhythm of school & college, their mental health has been negatively impacted (80%). This survey conducted with young adults finds that one out of every two feels the need to seek therapy to cope with their mental health struggles. Young women (45%) more than men (25%) feel the need to speak to a health professional whereas 50% prefer to speak with their friends.
These insights are derived from a study conducted with 250+ young adults, aged 17-24 years, under 80 dB Perspectives, an insight-driven project to understand different audiences, their preferences, and motivations. Undertaken by young adults, for young adults, the survey seeks to understand their multiple personas from that of a fresh-faced voter, as a student, consumer to a future employee.
Faced with the loneliness and isolation caused by the pandemic, 95% of young women and 75% of young men report that COVID-19 has had a negative effect on their mental health. Moreover, the number of young women that go to therapy is nearly three times the number of young men. Overall, nearly 40% of young adults do not attend therapy but feel the need to. This may be accredited to the stigma associated with seeking therapy or the inaccessibility of mental health resources in India.
Entering adulthood in an age governed by social media, over 50% of young adults report that it has negatively affected their self-perception regarding their appearance, alluding to how society promotes unrealistic beauty standards which are then magnified through interactions on the internet. 1 in every 2 young adults believes that their holistic well-being would be better if they weren’t active on social media.
As per a YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey conducted in 2020, Gen Z is more active in online campaigns and protests than any other age group. This assertiveness suggests that the youngest age group is searching for a distinct political vision. Our survey corroborates these findings with over 90% of young adults saying that they intend to vote once eligible. The second wave saw civil society stepping in to help people across the country, causing over 90% of young adults to feel extremely dissatisfied with the government’s response to COVID-19. When asked about issues that plague the world today, 85% strongly agree that there are not enough policies in India to combat gender disparity, 65% of young adults believe that the government has not created adequate privacy and data protection laws and over 80% of young adults feel that the government’s response to the climate crisis has been inadequate.
Young adults also weighed in on what would make for their ideal workplace. 40% of young adults say that they would value a comfortable and open work environment. Women prioritized this more, with over 50% of young women confirming that this would be a key determinant to select an employer. A company’s stated purpose also emerges as a key determinant to selection. Nearly all young adults said that a company’s ethos via a-vis the environment, society, politics, and economic impact would influence their decision making. Further, being thrust into the workforce while the world is still recovering from the effects of a deadly pandemic, over 70% of young adults seem concerned about their job prospects.
Finally, young adults also wish to be conscious consumers and like to be aware (90%) of the work practices and environmental impact the brands they buy are having. However, only a few admit to having been able to convert their awareness into practice.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has totally upended our way of life—how we work, study, socialize, shop, and more—and young adults have been especially impacted. As future citizens and voters, consumers and employees, our survey attempts to get behind what these young adults are thinking, and to build a bridge between generational mindsets that may help businesses with insights they need to address this demographic”, said Kiran Ray Chaudhury, Co-Founder, and Jt. Managing Director, 80 dB Communications.
The survey was conducted online in May 2021 with 254 young adults, aged 17 through 24, pan India. Of these, 64% are female, 30% are male and 5% are non-binary.