Posted: 24 Jul. 2019 10 min. read

A Generation Disrupted

What do Millennials really think about their Lives, Government, Businesses and the world at large in 2019?

All generations have been influenced by their circumstances, and Millennials and Generation Z are no exception. At one end of the spectrum, older Millennials were entering the job market during the economic recession of the late 2000s. At the other, Gen Zs, have spent half their lives in a post-crash world. To paint a picture, Millennials who grew up in the United States have experienced less economic growth in their first decade of work than any other generation. This translates to lower real incomes and fewer assets than previous generations at comparable ages, coupled with higher levels of debt (Kurz, Li, and Vine, 2018).

In a year characterised by high profile global geo-political and economic events (e.g., Brexit and US-China trade), what are our younger generations saying about the world and business at large in 2019? Each year, Deloitte’s annual Millennial Survey sets out to ask Millennials about global societal challenges and their opinion to see how they’re trending. |

Method

The 2019 Deloitte Global Millennial report is based on a survey conducted among a pool of 13,416 Millennials across 42 countries and 3,009 Gen Z’s from 10 countries, which is a combined sample size of 16,425 respondents.

The overall sample size of 16,425 represents the largest survey of Millennials and Gen Zs completed in the eight years Deloitte has published this report.

Findings

The key findings of the 2019 survey are:

Economic, social and political optimism is at record lows.
This year, positive economic sentiment among Millennials is at its lowest in the six years Deloitte has conducted the Survey. The respondent’s positivity towards traditional societal institutions, political leaders, religious leaders and mass media has declined. Key statistics include:

  • 22% of respondents expect improvement in their countries in the coming year – a drop from 33% in 2018.
  • 73% believe their political leaders are failing to have a positive impact, similar opinions are expressed for religious leaders. About 45% have no trust in either set of leaders as a source of reliable and accurate information.
  • 43% state the mass media is having a negative impact on the world, and 27% have no trust in the media as a source of reliable and accurate information.


Millennials and Gen Zs are disillusioned.
The data suggest that respondents are not particularly satisfied with their lives, financial situations, jobs, government, social media or the way their data is used:

  • 45% of those currently unemployed or doing unpaid work believe it is tougher to find or change jobs, while 49% would quit their current jobs in the next two years. That said, Millennials who expect to stay with their employers for five years or more remained at 28%.
  • 36% believe the government is responsible for improving social mobility, however, 62% don’t believe it’s the government’s highest priority.
  • 71% expressed they feel fairly/very positive about social media, though 55% indicated that social media does more harm than good.
  • 79% are concerned they will be victims of online fraud, and only 14% agree the benefits of technology outweigh the risks associated with sharing personal data.


Millennials value experiences
.
Priorities of Millennials and Gen Z have evolved:

  • 57% aspire to travel, while slightly fewer than half said they wanted to own a home (49%).
  • 46% are attracted to make a positive impact in their communities and/or society, than having children and starting families (39%).
  • When asked whether they think ambitions are achievable, 60% saw it as a possibility, suggesting that broadly speaking, Millennials believe their ambitions are in reach.


Millennials are skeptical of business’ motives.
Respondents generally do not think highly of leaders’ impact on society, their commitment to improving the world, or their trustworthiness:

  • 45% think business leaders are committed to helping and improving society, while 37% believe they make a positive impact on the world.
  • 76% believe businesses focus on their own motives rather than considering a wider society, and 55% believe businesses make a positive impact on society.


Millennials let their wallets do the talking (and walking)
.
In general, Millennials and Gen Zs cite societal impact and ethics as one of the most common reasons why they would change their relationships with businesses”:

  • 42% state that they have begun or deepened a business relationship due to its positive impact on society or environment
  • About a third of respondents would stop or lesson their relationship based on the company’s position on political matters


23% would start or deepen relationships based on the diversity of the company’s leadership group or the company’s diversity and inclusion policies.

Implications

The results of this survey indicate that Millennials are increasingly pessimistic and mistrustful of the economy, their countries’ social mobility, political situations, and institutions including their government, the media and businesses.

This year, the survey suggests that Millennials and Gen Zs want the business talk to turn into meaningful action, and for business leaders to be the agents of positive change. They expect businesses to enhance lives and careers but are not seeing enough businesses rising to the challenge to fill the gap.

The key lessons businesses can take from this year’s survey to reengage younger generations and inspire loyalty include:

  • Open two-way dialogue with Millennials and Gen Z. Businesses must actively listen to concerns from these generations to gain trust and understand why certain issues matter to them, as these generations are more likely to make decisions based on societal impact and ethics.
  • Better enable these generations to realise their ambitions. Businesses should ask how they can better enable Millennials and Gen Z to realise their ambitions, particularly as it relates to social and community impact.
  • Provide training and tools to help them prepare for Industry 4.0. As only few Millennials believe they are equipped to face into an Industry 4.0 world, businesses that invest in the skills and knowledge required will better equip this generation to be successful.
  • Taking visible and vocal stances aligned with social impact and ethics. Millennials and Gen Z let their wallets do the talking and will likely adjust their behaviours based on these matters. 


To read the full report, please click here.

References

 

Christopher Kurz, Geng Li, and Daniel J. Vine, “Are Millennials different?,” Finance and Economics Discussion Series, Federal Reserve Board, 2018.

For more information about the article, please contact Parul Gupta.

Meet our author

Parul Gupta

Parul Gupta

Senior Tax Analyst

Parul is a senior analyst specialising in tax in the financial services industry in Melbourne. She has experience providing taxation compliance and advisory services to the wealth and asset management sector, specialising in funds management (domestic and offshore), superannuation and Shariah compliant arrangements. Parul holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Business and is admitted to practice as an Australian lawyer.