4 minute read 24 Feb 2021
Connected Citizens Struggling Provider illustration

Meet the Struggling Providers

Authors
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.

Julie McQueen

EY Global Government & Public Sector Lead Analyst

Lead Analyst. Deep knowledge in public sector and social research, strategy and thought leadership. Passionate about improving public services to create positive social impact.

4 minute read 24 Feb 2021

Life is difficult for the Struggling Providers and they are at the greatest risk of social and digital exclusion.

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.

Struggling Providers tend to be in low-paid, less secure work. Daily life is a struggle as they try to balance long working hours with caring for old or vulnerable relatives. They recognize that learning new skills is a way to gain a better job, but many lack the time, confidence and opportunity to do so. They lack access to technology, so have few technology skills. Struggling Providers are above-average users of state benefits and welfare services. They think the government could do more to tailor services to meet their individual needs. They would welcome more engagement with government to improve services.

Struggling Providers are one of our two smallest segments, at 9%, and feature particularly in the UAE, Brazil and India.

Compared with others chart

Meet Adalberto – a Struggling Provider

Adalberto is a representative of our Struggling Providers segment. Aged 34, with a wife and two young daughters, he lives in the city of Limeira, Brazil, where he has casual work with a courier company. He has a long-term health condition that restricts his ability to take on different kinds of work.

What is most important for quality of life chart

Every day, life is a struggle for Adalberto to make ends meet. His wife stays at home to look after the children and her elderly father, who also lives with them. The whole family relies solely on Adalberto’s income. With no sick pay, pension or other benefits from his company, and no guarantee of regular work, he feels anxious about the future and what will happen if he is unable to earn money.

40% are satisfied with their quality of life at present chart

Adalberto would like a better job but knows that he lacks the right skills for the future job market. He did not go on to further education but is now keen to gain a qualification. He could be interested in the training schemes the government is running to improve digital skills. But he works extra hours at the courier firm whenever possible and can’t find the time to take courses. 

The family regularly relies on public services, particularly welfare services, but Adalberto is not very satisfied with them and often gets in touch to complain. He thinks the government has little understanding of his family’s circumstances and the support he gets is not enough to offer a decent standard of living. He wishes the private or third sector was more involved in public service delivery, thinking they could do a better job. 

What would make the biggest difference to the quality of public services you receive chart

This poor experience of public services means Adalberto has little trust in government and public sector providers. If he had time, he would welcome the chance to have more of a say in how things are run, or even become actively involved, because he cares about his close-knit local community and knows many other families in the same vulnerable position as his own. He sees many problems that need to be addressed. Improved health care services and a strong economy are priorities. But he would also like to see more done to reduce poverty levels and to improve mental health and social services, leisure facilities and other local amenities.

A desire to get involved chart

Adalberto lacks confidence with technology due to his lack of skills. He has a pay-as-you-go smartphone and a pre-used, reconditioned laptop. But he can’t afford high-speed broadband services, so cannot easily access online networks, and has to go to the library if he wants to log on. Unsurprisingly, he has little faith that modern technology will solve future problems or make life better for people like him. And he worries that without the right opportunities to progress, his children could have a worse quality of life than his own generation.

Attitude towards technology chart

Given his peripheral engagement with technology, Adalberto would prefer to interact with government or public service providers by phone or email rather than through a website – though he is open to using social media. He would welcome a single government portal through which to access all services – if only he was able to connect with it. He’s fairly ambivalent about government sharing his personal data, either internally or with private companies.

Question for government: How can government reach the Struggling Providers segment, understand their lives and provide the right support to help them progress in life?

  • 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.

Summary

At high risk of social and digital exclusion unless governments plan adequately for their needs, daily life is a struggle for this segment. Struggling Providers recognize that learning new skills is a way to gain a better job, but many lack the time, confidence and opportunity to do so. Critically, they lack access to technology, so have few technology skills. Struggling Providers rely heavily on public services, but think government fails to understand their lives and doesn’t do enough to help them. They would welcome more engagement with government to improve services.

About this article

Authors
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.

Julie McQueen

EY Global Government & Public Sector Lead Analyst

Lead Analyst. Deep knowledge in public sector and social research, strategy and thought leadership. Passionate about improving public services to create positive social impact.