We are not very good at forecasting the future. 65% of us admit that life today is quite different to how we expected it would turn out ten years ago. Only 5% say their life today is exactly as they expected it would be back in 2005. Those aged 25-34 are the most ‘surprised’ (70%) by how their lives have turned out ten years later.
So we are quite modest about our ability to predict how our lives will be in 2025. In The Future of Ireland, 45% of us expect that life in ten years’ time will be different to life today, with many surprises in store. Though fewer than a third of us are confident about our ability to picture life that far ahead.
Given such uncertainty, and the evidence of the recent past for fate’s fickle ways, many of us look inward for guidance to how we should face the future. Indeed, this is the most significant finding from the Future of Ireland study: we no longer expect others - the Government, the Church or even the Media - to shape our future. We expect to be in control of our own ‘august destiny’.
Who will influence Ireland’s future? We asked respondents to our survey to look ahead ten years and imagine whether different institutions and organisations will have more, less or the same influence on the daily lives of Irish people as they do now.
What will Irish people do to prepare for the future? The Future of Ireland provides some fascinating clues to our plans and expectations for the next ten years.
- 51% expect to learn a new skill that will earn us money
- 1 in 5 currently aged 60 and over expect to do so
- Nearly a quarter of adults expect to set up their own business by 2025.
- 30% of all adults expect to live abroad for a year or more in the decade ahead
- 29% expect to work abroad
- Over a third expect to learn another language
- A quarter of adults think it likely they’ll move to another part of Ireland over the next ten years
However, taking control of our futures isn’t all about skills and migration.
- Two thirds of us expect to make new friends
- Two thirds of us expect to take up new hobbies
- 46% are planning to volunteer for a charity or club (but only 1 in 5 will become more politically involved)
Some will seek a simpler life in future: over 1 in 5 expect to sell up and opt for a simpler life by 2025, reaching 31% of those aged 45-59 in our survey. Though only 1 in 10 expect to explore new beliefs or a new religion. Some, of course, expect to retire in the next 10 years (a quarter of all adults), rising to 52% of those over 60 in our survey.
The future is ultimately clouded in uncertainty. The key task is to be ready for the future rather than right about it. The good news is that Irish people are mostly prepared for the future in terms of skills and resources. Nearly twice as many people in the Future of Ireland survey feel prepared for the future in terms of their financial resources as feel unprepared (41% vs 23%), and half of us feel prepared in terms of having relevant skills for employment (or self-employment).
Being prepared for technological change is also an important part of preparing for the future.
- 67% of us feel prepared in terms of access to digital technology
- Only 8% feel unprepared
- 71% feel prepared in terms of their ability to use digital technology
- 7% feel unprepared, rising to 14% of over 60s
The majority of people (60%) feel they have a network of friends, relationships and family to prepare them for the future. Similarly 61% know people who can give good advice in relation to future choices and decisions. Crucially, 53% feel that their overall level of fitness and health leaves them prepared for the future (also true of 50% of over 60s).
A Hopeful Future
The good news is that we expect a better future in the decade ahead. But we know we won’t achieve the future we want – individually or collectively – without a shared sense of purpose and collective willingness to help one another succeed.
Download the full report below and take part in the conversation on our Twitter feed: @omd_fire. Don't forget to use #futureire to share your views!