Young people around the world see 2020 as a year defined by disruption. When they consider what life might be like 10 years from now, what are their priorities and expectations?

We found out in our new research project, Beyond 2020: Global Youth – Voices & Futures. This study involved a survey of over 8,000 16- to 24-year-olds in 15 countries, along with remote video interviews and immersive digital exercises in 6 of those countries.

Here’s how young people view the next 10 years, beyond 2020:

Young people crave stability and think the environment should be the number one priority for society. The disruptive events of 2020 have caused a long-term view towards stability and security among young people. Their most important priority for themselves in 10 years’ time is to have a stable job (27%), followed by keeping themselves and loved ones safe from harm (23%). While for society, they think the most important thing to work on in the next decade is the environment (34%) followed by the economy (29%).

The online world will play a big role in relationships, but IRL connections still have their place. The Covid-19 pandemic has already pushed many social interactions online – and young people believe the internet will continue to be central to relationships. They expect that relationships will mostly be kept alive by online connections (61%) and that they’ll have friends in different countries (67%). However, youth also believe that spending time in-person with others will be as important as today (84%).

The economy will bounce back, but they’ll still face financial challenges of their own. Around two-thirds of young people forecast a stronger global economy (69%) as well as a healthy economy in their own country (65%). But despite this, 60% believe they will struggle financially in the future.

Their generation will be the most educated – but university is not the only path to success. While 76% believe their generation will be better educated than previous generations and formal learning will still be important, over half (54%) envision university degrees becoming less of a requirement for many careers.

Mental health will be more of a problem and more of a priority. Most (84%) believe that physical and mental health will be more central in people’s lives. And while 75% predict that mental health will be a bigger problem for society, 83% imagine there will also be greater openness toward and acceptance of mental health issues.

Individuals as well as brands will focus more on social justice and equality. Today’s youth believe that their generation has the potential to change the world for the better (84%) and that they will be actively involved in creating a society of equality (80%). Youth also expect brands to help them change the world for the better, with 78% saying they expect brands will take more of a stand against social injustice in 10 years’ time.