The generation that has come of age surrounded by technology is keenly aware of the advantages that technology gives them but also sees the potential pitfalls, a new global survey of millennials finds.
The survey, conducted on behalf of the Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica and the Financial Times, found that overall, many millennials see technology as helping their career and economic prospects. Globally, 83 percent said technology makes it easier to get a job, and 69 percent said technology creates more opportunities for all.
But many also saw a darker side to technology's march forward, with 62 percent saying the advent of technology has widened the gap between rich and poor.
Millennials often get a bad rap for being self-involved or unaware. But Frédéric Michel, global director of public engagement for Telefónica, said he thinks the findings show that many young adults in North America and around the world are quite mature, and already see that things are not one-dimensional.
"They basically are very, very aware of how technology can help them improve their career path," Michel said. "And at the same time, they are also conscious that technology can't solve everything."
That could be because many millennials have come of age in a time of great technological change, but also great economic uncertainty. Only about half of the millennials surveyed said the economy was on track, either globally or in their own region, and many said they worry about things like progressing from school into the workplace. That's the type of worry previous generations may not have had because the jobs were much more plentiful.
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They survey of more than 12,000 millennials ages 18 to 30 was conducted across 27 countries and has a margin of error of less than 1 percent.
Neil Howe, president of LifeCourse Associates, a consulting firm that focuses on generations, said he's not surprised to find that millennials have more nuanced feelings about how technology can both create opportunity and widen the wealth gap.