Millennial survey

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Millennial Pessimism

Deloitte 2017 Millennial Survey – The Australian Cut

8 February 2017: Australian millennials are significantly more pessimistic about their financial and emotional wellbeing than their global counterparts according to the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey released today.

The study also reveals they are more likely to leave their jobs after two years than ever before.

Eight thousand millennials – those born after 1982 - were surveyed across 30 countries, including 300 millennials in Australia. In mature markets (such as Europe and the US) 36% predicted they will be financially better off than their parents; 31% said they would be happier. In emerging markets (such as Asia) there is greater optimism, with 71% believing they will be financially better off and 62% believing they will be happier.

But in Australia just 8% of millennials believe they will better off than their parents and only 4% believe they will be happier. Only 28% expect the overall economic situation in Australia to improve in the next 12 months (compared to a global average of 45%).

“For millennials, it seems Australia no longer looks like the lucky country,” said David Hill, Deloitte Australia’s Chief Operating Officer.

“I suspect booming house prices in the major cities of Sydney and Melbourne are partly to blame for this pessimism, with many young Australians believing the dream of owning their own home is increasingly out of reach.

“It’s another indicator for State and Federal Governments of the need to find answers to the question of housing affordability,” said Mr Hill.

However, the data suggests it will be tough for politicians to connect with Australian millennials, with many disillusioned about the political future. Only 22% expect the overall social/political situation to improve in the next 12 months, compared to 36% globally. To get their attention (and possibly their vote), Australian millennials want politicians to use plain, straight-talking language (66% of Australian respondents) and opinions with passion (57%).

“Our survey shows business and political leaders need to find a way to bring millennials with them on key initiatives,” observed Mr Hill. “They are more comfortable with straight-talking language but will reject leaders who take divisive positions.”

Pessimism has grown as concerns shift

The survey shows that pessimism has increased as the concerns of millennials have shifted. Four years ago, climate change and resource scarcity were among the top concerns of global millennials. This year, crime, corruption, war and political tension are weighing on the minds of millenials.

The key to employee loyalty – flexible working

Last year almost one in two Australian millennials (46%) said they planned to leave their job in the next two years. This year’s survey shows that number has grown to 58%. However, those who are planning to stay for five years or more is up: from 19% in 2016 to 24% in 2017.

David Brown, Human Capital Leader for Deloitte, said: “This year’s report reinforces the findings of the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, which suggested millennials who intended to remain with their employer the longest shared their organisation’s values and resonated with their organisation’s purpose.

“This year’s survey also showed how critical flexible working practices are to retaining millennials. As a global average, in highly flexible working environments, the difference between those who see themselves leaving within two years (35%) is just two points above those anticipating to stay beyond five years (33%). Among those in the least-flexible organisations, there is an 18 point gap (45% versus 27%). This difference is significant and highlights the need for Australian employers to prioritise flexible working as a key retention tool.”

In Australia, 80% of millennials say flexible working practices improve their productivity while 77% say it improves their engagement with their work.

Despite their propensity for moving around, a more permanent work environment is also important for Australia millennials with three quarters (76%) saying they prefer full-time employment to freelance or contract work (higher than the 65% global average).

Additional findings from the global survey include:

  • Automation brings threats and opportunities. There is no doubt automation / robotics / artificial intelligence brings with it some trepidation: 40% of those surveyed globally (37% in Australia) see it posing a threat to their jobs; 44% believe there will be less demand for their skills; a majority believe they will have to retrain and 53% see the workplace becoming more impersonal. Conversely, many respondents (49% in Australia), especially those considered ‘super-connected’ millennials, see automation as providing opportunities for value-added or creative activities, as well as the learning of new skills. Australian millennials are more optimistic than their global counterparts, with 50% believing automation will improve productivity and 42% seeing it as improving economic growth.
  • Skepticism of business-government collaboration. With respect to meeting society’s challenges, millennials are equally split between those that believe businesses and governments work well together (49%) and those that don’t (48%). Further, only 27% of respondents consider citizens/society to be the ultimate beneficiaries when businesses and governments work together.
  • GenZ’s creativity and skills are welcomed. Millennials tend to have a broadly positive opinion of GenZ (those currently aged 18 or younger), believing the group to have strong information technology skills and the ability to think creatively. Six in 10 millennials (53% in Australia) believe GenZ will have a positive impact as their presence in the workplace expands. This belief is higher in emerging markets (70%) than in mature markets (52%).

View the executive report of the global Deloitte 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey here.

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