Generation Tech: UK youth lead world's digital race

  • Millennials in the UK believe they are more tech literate than millennials from around the world
  • An education in technology is deemed more important to their success than any other subject
  • A clear gender divide is emerging with young men significantly more likely than young women to be influenced by technology

The UK’s young people are more tech savvy than their global counterparts, according to research released today by Telefónica. The most comprehensive study ever of global millennials (more than 12,000 people in 27 countries) reveals 49% of 18 to 30 year olds in the UK believe they have an excellent knowledge of technology compared to just 30% worldwide.

As the generation who grew up with the internet, Millennials believe an education in technology is now critical to their future success(25%), more so than any other discipline, including economics (18%), science (18%) or languages (8%).  UK millennials also see technology as a vital enabler to moving from school to the workplace; with more than three quarters (76%) believing technology makes it easier to get a job.

Whilst it’s clear that technology will play an increasingly important role in the future success of the UK’s young people, the survey exposes a worrying gender divide:

  • A significantly larger proportion of young men (31%) compared to young women (18%) identify technology as holding the key to future success
  • Young men (47%) are twice as likely as young women (23%) to say that technology has been influential in shaping their outlook on life

Telefónica UK CEO, Ronan Dunne said: “Our economy is now a digital economy and our current generation of young people will be vital to fueling its success.  Digital literacy is fast becoming a minimum standard in the same way as English and Maths and UK millennials are in a unique position to capitalise on the opportunities the digital economy presents. It’s inspiring to see that they are putting technology at the heart of their future success but we must do more to help young men and, in particular, young women realise their digital potential.

“All businesses, big and small, have a role to play, whether through offering new opportunities to young people or better showcasing existing ones through digital means including events such as Europe’s biggest technology festival, Campus Party. Hosted by Telefónica at The O2 in London, it will inspire tens of thousands of young people about the exciting opportunities a career in technology offers.”

Telefonica UK is undertaking a number of initiatives to support young people on their journey to work by 2015, including:

  • Delivering thousands of work experience and work skills opportunities, careers advice and guidance through online Go Think Big platform, created in partnership with Bauer.
  • Increasing the number of paid apprenticeships and internships offering a broad range of experiences plus on-going mentoring and coaching
  • Transitioning 5,000 young people and graduates from education into the workplace via its “Talentum programme.”
  • Creating more than 1,000 start-up opportunities worldwide through its Wayra programme
  • Building a Telefónica Think Big community of more than 300,000 young people working to build a more entrepreneurial Europe by 2015.
  • Bringing  the brightest young digital minds together from 2-7 September 2013 at Campus Party Europe in London

The survey results will be discussed in-depth at the FT-Telefonica Millennials Summits: The Interactive Generation in London on 4 June. Speakers include The Rt. Hon. David Miliband, President Designate and CEO of the International Rescue Committee and former UK Foreign Secretary; Julius Genachowski, in his first public speaking opportunity since stepping down as president of the FCC; Joe Gebbia, Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder of Airbnb, Eva Castillo Sanz, Chairwoman and CEO of Telefónica Europe, José María Álvarez-Pallete López, Chief Operating Officer, Telefónica S.A. and Matthew Key, Chairman and CEO for Telefónica Digital.  For more information on the survey please visit

Telefonica Global Millennial Survey

Survey Methodology

Telefónica, in partnership with the Financial Times, conducted 12,171 quantitative interviews among Millennials, aged 18-30, across 27 countries in six regions including North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa. The survey asked 190 questions and was conducted from 11 January – 4 February 2013. Millennials from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Korea, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela were surveyed. In the United Kingdom, 900 adult Millennials were surveyed.

About Telefónica

Telefónica is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world in terms of market capitalisation and number of customers. From this outstanding position in the industry, and with its mobile, fixed and broadband businesses as the key drivers of its growth, Telefónica has focused its strategy on becoming a leading company in the digital world. The company has a significant presence in 24 countries and a customer base that amounts close to 316 million accesses around the world. Telefónica has a strong presence in Spain, Europe and Latin America, where the company focuses an important part of its growth strategy.

For more information about Telefónica, visit