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Deloitte Millennial Survey 2020

Millennial pessimism on the rise as anxiety drops during COVID-19 crisis

Belgian millennials believe they’ll be worse off than their parents’ generation, but cite decreasing levels of anxiety and a reinvigorated belief in our planet’s future since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Belgian insights

In the 2020 report, we've polled more than 18,000 millennial and Gen Z respondents around the world, and included an additional snapshot survey in Belgium to measure the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on millennials’ attitudes on a range of topics including, mental health, personal finance, the future of work, the environment, and business's response to the pandemic.

Optimism among Belgian millennials has dropped by 44% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Deloitte’s ninth annual Millennial Survey. Somewhat paradoxically, millennials say they’re less anxious today than before the start of the pandemic. Clearly a defining moment for Generation Y, the pandemic is also having a strong impact on millennials’ attitudes: shifting priorities away from finances to (mental) health, a reinvigorated belief in the future of our planet and a new focus on supporting local businesses.

Often people label the Millennials as a ‘lost generation’, doomed to forfeit some of their parents’ generation’s prosperity due to economic crises and, now, a pandemic. The reality is more nuanced. True, millennials are less optimistic about their future overall, but at the same time our survey reveals Gen Y is less stressed than it was before the pandemic. For better or for worse, the pandemic will have a key impact on the identity of this generation.

Nathalie Vandaele, Human Capital Leader at Deloitte Belgium.

Global insights

The survey reveals that despite the individual challenges and personal sources of anxiety that millennials and Gen Zs are facing, they have remained focused on larger societal issues, both before and after the onset of the pandemic. If anything, the pandemic has reinforced their desire to help drive positive change in their communities and around the world. And they continue to push for a world in which businesses and governments mirror that same commitment to society, putting people ahead of profits and prioritizing environmental sustainability.

The world that follows the COVID-19 pandemic surely will be different and likely more aligned with the ideals that millennials and Gen Zs have expressed in this and previous Millennial Surveys. They’ve seen how quickly the earth can heal, how rapidly business can adapt, and how resourceful and cooperative people can be. They know that a post-pandemic society can be better than the one that preceded it, and they’re tenacious enough to make it a reality.

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