A Newspoll survey of 18 to 24 year olds, commissioned by the Dusseldorp Skills Forum and reported in today’s Age, would have provided useful extra information for Cassandra Wilkinson’s new book Don’t Panic: Nearly everything is better than you think, a rebuttal of misery merchants like Richard Eckersley and Simon Castles (the Australian Literary Review has an extract from Wilkinson’s book).
Overall, 95% of those Newspoll surveyed regarded themselves as satisfied with their life overall, with nearly half ‘very satisfied’ – not quite in Danish life satisfaction territory, but up there with the Dutch and the Swedes. 88% are confident that things will work out ok in their working lives and careers, and 86% are confident that they will be financially secure. Of those currently in the workforce, 84% of full-timers and 78% of part-timers are satisfied with their job overall. Of those at university, 46% say it is better than they expected, while 15% say they are disappointed. About a third think that their standard of living will be better than that of their parents; most think it will be the same while 9% think that it will be not as good.
On issues discussed recently at this blog, 95% of uni students say that their qualification will be valuable for their working life and career. On why parents might send their kids to private schools, 87% of those who had been to non-government schools thought their school did an excellent/very good/good job ‘in giving you a good education’, compared to 63% of those who went to government schools. On the impact of HECS on the decision to go to university, among those who would have preferred to do further studies but did not ‘cost of going to uni/HECS too expensive’ scored a ‘*’, though other financial issues were cited by just under half of the 9% of young people in this category. In an open-ended question about what the government could do to help the respondents, 5% specifically mentioned lower HECS or free uni education. This is consistent with the general research on this issue, that though understandably people like free or cheap things, HECS is not actually a deterrent.
The Dusseldorp Skills Forum people ought also to be commended for publishing the full questionnaire used in the survey and an appendix on sampling error tolerances.