Next Generation Platform

WDA Communication Platform: Views from Generation Y

Demography is more than just statistical analysis and projections of population sizes, fertility levels, life expectancies and migration patterns. Demographic factors are forces that shape nations as well as entire continents, with respect to their societal, economic, environmental and political development.

Surprisingly, these important discussions are mainly conducted by people from the «post-war» generation (born 1940–1955) and the «baby boom» generation (born 1956–1970). But both of these groups are increasingly becoming «observers» when it comes to shaping the future of planet Earth.

Generation Y (born 1985–2000), those currently aged 20–35 years old, are the children of the baby boomers. They are about to finish their education or are just starting their professional career. Generation Y is the first generation who grew up entirely with modern IT technology like the internet, smartphones and the like. They have been shaped and driven by these innovations, but it is notable, too, that they have received more support from their parents than have any generation before them. But why are they called «generation Y» and what do they stand for?

 «Y» stands for «why»!

There is a vast amount of literature on how to characterize this generation and it is worth making oneself familiar with these findings. Generation Y seems to have a very self-centered life approach with more «me time» and flexibility at work. Demand for feedback and advice, and for what aligns best with their needs, are other features. They are apolitical only at first glance. Any activity is pursued with a clear strategy and a focus on a cost–benefit analysis that is less likely to be derailed by ideologic principles. Their complex credo is: education, job, family, social life – these must all be harmonized and fulfill each individual’s needs and preferences.

Since generation Y will become our future leaders the WDA Forum is launching a new communication platform: «Views from Generation Y».

Demography is a topic that concerns all generations. From February 2020 we will publish in 2-monthly intervals position papers about demographic change written by master’s students from the University of St. Gallen. The opinions expressed in these papers, and any remaining errors, are the authors’ alone.

It is our wish that these views inspire discussion across generations.

Dr. med. Hans Groth
Chairman of the Board WDA Forum

Dr. oec. publ. Martin Dahinden
Member of the Board WDA Forum

Newsletters: Views from Generation Y - Position Papers


3rd Newsletter – June 2020

This issue addresses «Political Demography». The topic embraces political science and demography and subsequently demonstrates how powerful demographic variables are in shaping political processes on an international, regional and national level. 

The master student Philippe Hachen gives a well-written introduction and overview of key academic theories on political demography. He provides us with examples on an international, national and even subnational level. Today’s demographic challenges are increasingly linked in numerous layers in the realms of business, society and policy. In order to tackle the challenges successfully we require goals that align with each other and thus can be achieved collectively. A quote from political demography thought leader Jack Goldstone (2012) could not better summarize why we need to pay more attention to this academic field: 

«We need to understand how these forces operate, if we are to take control of our destiny and shape it».

Political Demography:
In order to understand the world, one can start by studying demography
Philippe Hachem
Download paper

2nd Newsletter – April 2020

The master students Ziqian Feng and Oliver Kilchenmann have analyzed the development strategies in Africa. They compared the approaches of China, the US and Switzerland. There is no doubt: the differences in approach and the vision behind are considerable!

Development Strategy in Sub-Saharian Africa:
A comparison of the Chinese, US and Swiss Approaches
Ziqian Feng
Download paper

The Fundamental Differences in Development Strategies in Africa:
A comparison of the US, Chinese and Swiss Approaches
Oliver Kilchenmann
Download paper

1st Newsletter – March 2020

The master students Patrick Friedli and Lucas Binggeli share their views on what changes we can expect to see, how we will tackle them, and under which conditions generation Y might retire in 2060 or later. 

Demographic change in Switzerland: How might it be in 2060?
Lucas Binggeli
Download paper

Our life courses: What will change? How might it be in Switzerland in 2060?
Patrick Friedli
Download paper