WO Media Team 09:01 14 Aug 2021

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The Roaring Twenties 2.0 - ‘Voicing Out’ in the 21st Century_

_In an Ireland where 61% of 16-35 year olds believe “Ireland is a society run by the old for the old” young people are emerging from the pandemic as unapologetically outspoken agents of change, into a new world ripe for a youth-centric reset.

(12.08.21) Today the Youth Lab, THINKHOUSE’s insights, strategy and planning division, launches Emerging in an Emergency**, the 2021 Irish edition of Youth Culture Uncovered**; its fifth annual youth culture investigation exploring the hypothesis, “what’s it like to be young today?”.

The investigations (incorporating both qualitative and quantitative research) are designed to understand life through the lens of 16-35-year-olds, providing businesses and organisations with insight and intelligence to resonate better with youth audiences, respond to their challenges and ensure continued relevance for their brand/ organisation in the long term.

The new cultural dynamic - an era of Voicing Out

The 2021 version provides a raw, real perspective on how young people, already understood to be the first generation to not see the same sort of advancement relative to their parents, and further disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, are emerging from the crisis. The investigation challenges the idea that 16-35 year olds will simply bounce back back into a pre-covid ‘normal life’ existence, and explores how youth’s pent up energy is manifesting into a brave confidence to “voice out” - challenging society’s expectation of young people and society itself.

The ROARing Twenties

Pandemic history has taught us to expect a post-pandemic radical upheaval and 2021 post-pandemic landscape is not dissimilar, although the flapper flamboyance of the 1920’s has been replaced with an unapologetically outspoken youth voice - a now or never attitude and sentiment flowing from young people, because in a world stacked against them, young people have no other choice but to roar.

  • 49% do not trust the state to actively govern in their best interest
  • 72% believe younger generations are left to pick up the pieces of older generations’ mistakes
  • 41% believe that based on Irish society’s Covid-19 responses, younger generations (16-35 year olds) matter less compared to older cohorts
  • 61% believe Ireland is a society run “by the old for the old”

Laura Costello, Strategy Director - Purpose & Planet, THINKHOUSE, and co-author of the report says, _“__It really does feel like a huge, historic, moment - one where we are being called to carefully listen to others (and our planet) in new ways in order to find the right questions and feed our collective resilience into the future._ _The post-pandemic world for young people is a groundswell of discontent, combined with a collapse of trust. Youth are up against a bleak today and an uncertain tomorrow. They are feeling both ignored and unsupported, further widening the intergenerational chasm of ‘old’ versus ‘young’ with 61% claiming that ‘Ireland is a society run by the old for the old.’ But it’s not game over. Their pent up energy is manifesting in their voicing out in an unapologetically outspoken way. Expect young people to push all of us out of our comfort zones. This is an invitation to grow together in new ways.”_

Are you listening? You’re going to hear them roar….

Expect a reinvigorated young population to speak their truth and voice out and voice loud for a rebalancing of the social contract with systematic economic and social restructuring at its core - from climate change to housing, toxic work cultures to unsustainable or dishonest business practices, youth are demanding honesty, transparency, accountability and positive action.

  • 66% claim to have a new perspective on life and how society is organised after going through COVID-19
  • 73% believe that society needs systematic economic and societal restructuring
  • 59% are energised to fight for more systematic economic and societal change
  • 69% of 16-24 year olds claim to consciously choose to support businesses that deliver more sustainable products and services, (up from 66% in 2021).
  • 64% of 25-35 year olds claim to consciously choose to support businesses that deliver more sustainable products and services, (up from 53% in 2019).

New beginnings - What next for brands, businesses and organisations?

As young people voice out to fight for themselves and other unequals, The Youth Lab highlights the opportunity for brands, businesses and organisations to emerge from this period of upheaval with a re-imagined sense of their own voice, and a conviction to use it with positive intent.

Says Claire Hyland, Head of The Youth Lab, THINKHOUSE and co-author of the report, “_Young people’s voicing out is a rallying call of togetherness against the inequalities they face, but it is also a cry for help to older generations to shift old systems, realise new orders and re-balance the social contract in a way that gives young people a fair chance of security, opportunity and happiness. The brands and businesses that take leadership roles in voicing out for young people are those that are likely to resonate with young people. Choose not to act, and it could be a dealbreaker.”_

Voicing Out: Finding Your Voice to Youth Relevance

The Youth Lab findings highlight that to be relevant to this generation of young people during this period of upheaval, the immediate opportunity is to be “a voice for youth”, suggesting three pathways to relevance:


Be a Voice for Change: be a transformer pushing for radical change

Be a Voice for Hope: be a beacon of hope and optimism amidst uncertainty


Be a Voice for Authenticity: be who you are supposed to be, delivering on your promise

Be a Voice for Proximity: be accessible and a quick problem-solver


Be a Voice for Escape: be a purveyor of escape giving young people a break

Be a Voice for Innovation and Difference: be new and different, bring new culture makers into the mix

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