Swiss Gen Z and Millennials: Balancing financial strain with career satisfaction

In 2024, Deloitte conducted a comprehensive international survey, gathering responses from nearly 23’000 participants from Generation Z and Millennials across 44 countries, including 400 from Switzerland. The aim was to collect information on the experiences and expectations of these generations regarding their work. Despite the escalating cost of living and growing financial insecurities being major concerns, the level of satisfaction regarding current work conditions and career opportunities among these young generations in Switzerland is still remarkably high.

Cost of living takes centre stage
Last year, climate change was the top concern for Gen Z in Switzerland. However, in 2024, this has been eclipsed by the rising cost of living, which now leads at 33%, just ahead of climate change at 32%. Mental health remains a significant concern, holding third place at 24%. Overall, the top 10 concerns for Gen Z in Switzerland have stayed relatively stable, with minor shifts in ranking. Notable changes include the rise of "inequality/discrimination based on personal characteristics" and "education, skills, and training," which have moved up to seventh and tenth place, respectively.

Global 2024 Gen Z and Millennial Survey

The prominence of the cost of living as the primary concern highlights the impact of elevated inflation rates over the past year. This shift aligns with global trends, where the cost of living also ranks as the foremost concern. However, unlike the global average, Swiss Gen Z are less worried about unemployment, which ranks as the second highest concern globally but only sixth in Switzerland. This divergence underscores the relatively stable job market in Switzerland and the high demand for the younger generation's skills compared to other countries surveyed.

Similarly, for Swiss Millennials, the cost of living (45%) and climate change (24%) are also the top concerns for 2024. The significant gap of roughly 20% between these two concerns indicates that inflation is a much larger worry for this generation, which can be attributed to the fact that a higher proportion of Millennials are already participating in the job market in Switzerland (83%, including part-time) compared to Gen Z (58%, including part-time). Beyond economic concerns, some societal issues have gained significantly more attention from Millennials. This includes "inequality and discrimination based on personal characteristics," which has jumped from nineteenth to eighth place, and "crime and personal safety," which has risen from sixteenth to seventh place.

Financial security: A growing concern
Further evidence that the cost of living has become a greater concern for both generations is revealed by comparing questions regarding financial security. Whereas in 2023 a majority of respondents agreed with the statement that they felt financially secure, this is no longer the case in 2024. The decline is particularly evident for Millennials, where the share that felt financially secure dropped sharply from 48% to 29%. However, Gen Z has also experienced a slight decrease from 40% in the previous year to 38% in 2024.

Another indicator of financial security is the ability to pay the bills comfortably. In this regard, it seems that especially the older generation is feeling the negative effects of the slight economic downturn: the share of Millennials who agreed with the statement that they could comfortably pay all living expenses decreased by more than 20 percentage points from 55% in the previous year to 31%. Interestingly, the share of Gen Z respondents increased slightly from 44% to 48%.

Although Gen Z seems to be faring better than Millennials when looking at Switzerland only, this is not the case when compared to the global average. In fact, Swiss Gen Z are markedly more pessimistic: Globally, 46% of Gen Z agree that they feel financially secure and 56% can comfortably pay all of their living expenses. In both cases, this is almost 10 percentage points more than their Swiss counterparts. Additionally, it seems that Swiss Gen Z are also less optimistic about their future financial situation compared to the global average. Only 28% believe that their personal financial situation will improve, compared to 48% globally. Further, only 23% of Swiss Gen Z expect an improvement in the overall economic situation in Switzerland, with the majority (37%) believing it will remain the same. In contrast, 32% of Gen Z respondents globally are optimistic about their country's economic outlook.

The same tendency can be observed with Swiss Millennials, where only 28% believe their financial situation will be improved, compared to the global average of 40%. Similarly, 23% of Swiss Millennials think that the economic outlook will improve, compared to 31% globally.

Future of work: Priorities beyond pay
Despite the higher cost of living, a high salary is not the strongest motivator for Swiss Gen Z and Millennials when choosing to work for an organisation. For Gen Z, the top reasons are a good work/life balance (26%), learning and development opportunities (19%), and deriving a sense of meaning from their work (17%). High salary ranks only tenth (13%). Millennials similarly prioritise deriving a sense of meaning from their work (34%), hybrid or remote work models (27%), and learning and development opportunities (27%).

This contrasts sharply with global results, where high salaries were ranked third by Gen Z and second by Millennials. In Switzerland, 18% of Gen Z are very satisfied and 37% fairly satisfied with their pay and workplace benefits, slightly higher for Millennials (19% and 42%, respectively). Additionally, there is a high level of satisfaction with career progression opportunities, with 62% of Gen Z and 61% of Millennials being either very or fairly satisfied.

Fullwidth SCC. Do not delete! This box/component contains JavaScript that is needed on this page. This message will not be visible when page is activated.

Did you find this useful?