4 minute read 24 Feb 2021
Connected citizens diligent striver

Meet the Diligent Strivers

By Arnauld Bertrand

EY Global Government & Public Sector Advisory Leader

Working with governments to build stronger administrations for impactful public policies. Passionate about leading teams to guide public performance, innovation and service.

4 minute read 24 Feb 2021

Learn more about one of the largest segments identified in our Connected Citizens study.

This persona description forms part of the EY Connected Citizens series, which outlines seven global citizen personas that governments must plan for when developing digital services.

Diligent Strivers are young self-improvers keen to get on in life. They expect seamless digital government services to help them achieve their aims and are comfortable sharing their data with governments to get that level of service. Diligent Strivers have a social conscience. They believe strongly in the importance of local community and that there should be more equality of opportunity for all. They would like to see more government investment in job creation and skill development. And they would like to have a bigger say over, or even active involvement in, public service delivery.

Diligent Strivers are among the three largest segments (19% of the total population), and are prevalent in Mexico, South Africa, the UAE, India and Brazil.

Connected citizens diligent strivers chart 1

Meet Mbali, a Diligent Striver

Mbali is a representative of our Diligent Strivers persona. She is a 31-year-old business analyst who lives in a Cape Town suburb with her husband and their two-year-old daughter. She is resourceful and self-reliant, having studied hard for her university degree so she could build a rewarding career. She and her husband have been saving money for a couple of years for a deposit on their first apartment.

Before the pandemic, Mbali felt secure in her job. Now, however, she worries that she or her husband might be made redundant or have their pay cut, which could affect their ability to pay off their student loans while also saving money each month. She would like to see more government investment in digital resources for skills, job-seeking and starting a business, to help people find new opportunities when their circumstances change.

Connected citizens diligent strivers chart 2

Motivated less by status, wealth and material possessions than by personal development, Mbali continually seeks out new experiences for herself and her family. She needs to feel that she is giving something back to her community, which she does by organizing fundraising events for a local homelessness charity and by recycling to help the environment. She is appalled by the levels of poverty, crime and unemployment in some areas of the country and believes strongly in making sure everyone has equal access to services. She thinks the country will have a better future if the government would tackle the large differences in income and wealth, and encourage social mobility.

Connected citizens diligent strivers chart 3

Technology plays a central role in Mbali’s life, both at work and at home. Her apartment is equipped with a range of connected devices that help her manage everything from paying for her daughter’s daycare to taking online exercise classes – staying fit and healthy is important to her. As a busy working parent, Mbali sees how technology is making life better and easier. She also believes it has the potential to solve wider societal problems.

Connected citizens diligent strivers chart 4

Mbali is relatively trusting of government but would like to see more services moving online. She would welcome a single government website that provides seamless access to all the services she needs, and notifications or reminders about upcoming appointments or disruptions to services. Because she is a frequent user of health and education services, she would like more of a say in how they are run. Mbali is keen to try out a new instant messaging service, which will allow her to give feedback directly to local councilors. She hopes it will make government more accountable and transparent.

Connected citizens diligent strivers chart 5
Connected citizens diligent strivers chart 6

Mbali is comfortable sharing her data in order to access services and perform transactions online.  She is broadly supportive of government using that data to improve public services – with the caveat that it should not be shared with private companies or social networking sites. She worries about too much data being in the hands of technology firms and thinks they should be more tightly regulated.

Connected citizens diligent strivers chart 7

Question for government: How can government harness the dynamism and engagement of Diligent Strivers, and use their fresh ideas to help reinvigorate the public sector?

  • Technical notes about the Connected Citizens study

    These profiles are a representation of what a typical member of each segment might look like, based on the data from the EY Connected Citizens survey, constructed to illustrate some of the key characteristics of the segment. The Connected Citizens survey was carried out by Ipsos MORI for EY between July 2020 and September 2020. Interviews took place online with 12,100 participants of working age across 12 countries. Quotas were set by age, gender, region and working status in order to achieve a representative sample in each country. Data was weighted by age, gender, region, working status and education to correct for imbalances in the national samples. As the survey was carried out online, samples in emerging markets are likely to be more urban, educated and connected than the overall population. All surveys are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.


Many citizens are open to more data- and technology-enabled public services, and more engagement in how services are designed and delivered. This creates an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between governments and the people they serve, and renew the levels of trust that are vital to effective government. And it sets a challenge to prevent digitally excluded groups from being left behind. Innovative policy design, accelerated digitalization, better use of data and participatory engagement with citizens will be important for governments to respond effectively.

About this article

By Arnauld Bertrand

EY Global Government & Public Sector Advisory Leader

Working with governments to build stronger administrations for impactful public policies. Passionate about leading teams to guide public performance, innovation and service.