Generation MillZ: what Australian millennials and Gen Z are really thinking
- Climate change is the #1 concern
- Views of government, business and economy at record lows
- Top aspiration for millennials is travel, but Gen Z want to buy a home.
20 May 2019: The re-elected federal government could face a continued challenge engaging with a significant segment of the population, with Deloitte’s latest Millennial Survey finding that millennials and Gen Z have lost trust in government.
Two thirds (67 percent) of Australian millennials think government leaders have no ambition beyond wanting to retain or increase their power. More than half (53 percent) believe politicians have a negative impact on the world; and 42 percent have absolutely no trust in political leaders as sources of reliable or accurate information.
Deloitte’s eighth annual Global Millennial Survey provides a pulse check on the hopes and aspirations of the world’s future leaders. This year Deloitte interviewed more than 16,000 millennials around the world (those born between Jan 1983 and Dec 1994 and aged 25 to 36 today) and Gen Zs (born between Jan 1995 and Dec 2002, aged 17 to 24), including 500 Australian millennials and 301 Australian Gen Zs.
Deloitte Global Workforce Transformation Lead Partner, David Brown, said: “Millennials and Gen Z are no longer the ‘future’ workforce, they are the present, making up more than 40 percent of Australia’s working population. Organisations that fail to change their leadership, business, people strategies and practices do so at their peril.
“This year’s survey found both generations were disappointed with traditional institutions like government, sceptical of business’s motives, and pessimistic about economic and social progress.
“Despite Australia’s strong economy, younger generations have become wary about the world and their place within it. The millennials and Gen Z, collectively ‘MillZ’, are a generation disrupted, perpetually caught in a crossfire of social, political, and economic commotion.”
Climate change the biggest concern
Climate change and protecting the environment was the number one concern among both generations globally, at 29 percent. Australian respondents were even more worried, with 31 percent of millennials and 37 percent of Gen Z noting their personal concern.
“We cannot deny that climate change has become a leading social issue for younger generations. They hold deep concerns for the way our environment is being treated,” said David Brown.
“There was considerable agitation around climate change leading up to the federal election and the new government must address the issue, or face polarising these generations even further.”
Declining faith in economy and leadership
Both generations’ economic view of the world is quite bleak. The economic sentiment among millennials is at its lowest in six years. Only 26 percent of global respondents expect the economic situation in their countries to improve in the coming year. That figure has never been lower than 40 percent since Deloitte started the survey eight years ago.
Economic optimism is even worse at home. Only 19 percent of Australian millennials and 20 percent of Gen Zs think the economic outlook will improve. This is down from 2018, when 34 percent of Australian millennials believed the economic situation would improve.
Both generations’ outlook on leadership is also pessimistic. Political and religious leaders are among the least trusted sources of reliable and accurate information within Australia (11 and 13 percent respectively). Whereas leaders of NGOs and not-for-profit organisations are among the most trusted sources (25 percent).
“Our research found that almost half (49 percent) of Gen Z believe universities are best placed to solve the world’s most pressing challenges, compared to less than a quarter (22 percent) putting their faith in government, and only 11 percent believing business is up to the challenge,” said David Brown.
“Despite some exceptions, business and government generally appears to be out of step with the aspirations and expectations of the MillZ generations. They need to pay attention and listen more, as these are the leaders of the future.”
Stark contrasts between the generations emerge when each were asked about their aspirations. For Australian millennials, the number one priority is to travel, whereas Gen Zs would prefer to buy a home first (see tables below).
Travel is still important for Gen Zs but when it comes to having families, their ambitions outstrip millennials; 56 percent for Gen Z, and just 34 percent for millennials. And in all cases, Australia’s MillZ are ahead of their global counterparts.
“Most Gen Zs would still be living with their parents or have only recently moved out, so it’s understandable that a home and a family are important parts of their lives. On the other hand, millennials have more exposure to the reality of house prices and wages, so they recognise travel is a more achievable ambition,” said David Brown.
“When asked if they were ‘satisfied’ with their life nowadays, only 29 percent of both Australian and global millennials said yes. And 25 percent of Australian Gen Zs said yes, compared to 27 percent globally.”
Social media has infiltrated the lives of younger generations, changing the way they interact with each other, consume information, and view the world.
Australian millennials admitted they would be more anxious than global millennials if they couldn’t check social media for a day (48 percent vs 44 percent respectively). In comparison, Australian Gen Zs would be less anxious than their global counterparts (42 percent vs 52 percent respectively).
“Despite the clear addiction these generations have with social media, both millennials and Gen Zs acknowledged it has a negative impact on their lives. In fact, 61 percent of millennials and 56 percent of Gen Zs said it does more harm than good,” said David Brown.
“Yet when asked if they would stop using social media completely, only 48 percent of millennials and 36 percent of Gen Zs agreed.
“When the conversation turned to physical health, 66 percent of Australian millennials and 67 percent of Gen Zs said they would be ‘physically healthier’ if they reduced their time spent on social media.
“It seems that both generations acknowledge the negative impact of social media, but the technology is too entrenched in their lives for them to give it up.”
Job loyalty and the gig economy
Job loyalty has shifted over the years, with younger generations jumping from job to job and adapting to the age of disruption.
The gig economy has become an attractive employment option for both generations. Almost three quarters of Australian millennials (73 percent) and Gen Zs (74 percent) would consider joining the gig economy. This is just below the global figures, with 84 percent of millennials and 81 percent of Gen Zs considering work in the gig economy.
“For years, many considered contract, freelance, and gig employment to be ‘alternative work’ options, supplementary to full-time jobs,” said David Brown. “Today, this segment of the workforce is mainstream, yet only 1 in 10 (12 percent) of Australian respondents to our recent Human Capital Trends survey said that they have best-in-class processes to manage and develop alternative
workforce sources,” said David Brown.
“Smart businesses are recognising that this is how millennials want to work and are looking strategically at all types of work arrangements in their plans for growth.”
Australian Gen Zs also appear to be more agile and desire job movement more than Australian millennials. This is reflected in the number of years both generations expect to stay with their current employer.
Only 13 percent of Gen Zs expect to stay beyond five years with their current employer, compared 27 percent of millennials. A sizeable 63 percent of Gen Zs expect to leave their current employer within two years, compared to 50 percent of millennials.
For more information, and to view the full research results, read the global report here.
About the survey
The 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey is based on the views of 13,416 millennials questioned across 42 countries. Millennials included in the study were born between January 1983 and December 1994. This report also includes responses from 3,009 Gen Z respondents in 10 countries. Gen Z respondents were born between January 1995 and December 2002. The overall sample size of 16,425 represents the largest survey of millennials and Gen Zs completed in the eight years Deloitte Global has published this report. This year’s survey was expanded to include a more diverse group of participants, including 31 percent who did not have full-time employment status, and 34 percent who did not hold a college or university degree.
What are our millennials and Gen Zs really thinking?
Leading the social enterprise: Reinvent with human focus