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Loyalty Challenge: Businesses at risk of losing top talent, according to Deloitte’s annual millennial survey

  • Two-thirds of Millennials surveyed in India express a desire to leave their organisations by 2020.
  • Opportunities to progress and lead is the strongest reason (excluding salary) while choosing to work for an organisation.

New Delhi, January 2016: Businesses must adjust how they nurture loyalty among Millennials or risk losing a large percentage of their workforces, according to Deloitte’s fifth annual Millennial Survey. 52 percent of Millennials surveyed in India say, if given the choice, they expect to leave their current employers in the next two years. That figure increases to 76 percent when the time frame is extended to 2020. In general, the intention to move on is greater in emerging markets (69 percent) rather than mature economies (61 percent). India was among the three countries including Peru (82 percent), South Africa (76 percent) that saw over three-quarters of their millennials likely to seek a change in employment.

Millennials in India ranked “opportunities to progress and take on leadership roles” as their strongest reason (when excluding salary) to work for an organization. As many as 69 percent of those surveyed believed that their leadership skills are not being fully developed. This remarkable absence of allegiance represents a serious challenge to any business employing a large number of Millennials, especially those in markets—like India—where Millennials now represent the largest segment of the workforce. However, because most young professionals choose organizations that share their personal values, it’s not too late for employers to overcome this “loyalty challenge”, said S.V. Nathan, Senior Director & Chief Talent Officer, Deloitte India.

Organisations that offer a good work-life balance, produces or provides good quality products and services to clients and customers and has flexible working hours including the option to work from home, were the other reasons topping the list for millennials while choosing to work for an organisation.

India is among the five countries (South Korea, The Netherlands, Indonesia and Belgium) where a majority of the respondents could work from home, if they wished. The opportunity to enjoy this flexibility and level of trust is also relatively high among senior executives, organisations with high employee satisfaction, parents and those intending to stay for more than five years. However, reputation of its leaders and the business, the impact it has upon the wider society and the sense of meaning derived from their work were low in the list of priorities while being important.

Having said that, an overwhelming majority (94 percent) of those surveyed in India say business success should be measured by more than financial performance. Factors such as being a great place to work, having a satisfied and loyal customer base, innovation and work to protect and improve the environment were considered important to judge whether the business is successful.

“The link between the Millennial’s loyalty and their feelings about business are not a coincidence. Thus those organizations who do “the right thing” may be less likely to lose their Millennial employees. The loyalty to an employer is driven by understanding and support of Millennials’ career ambitions and personal values, as well as providing opportunities to progress and become leaders,” said Nathan. “Having a mentor is incredibly powerful in this regard”.

The global survey findings also points additional organizational traits and behaviours that promote a sense of positivity among Millennials. They are most likely to report high levels of satisfaction where there is:

  • Creative, inclusive working culture (76 percent) rather than a more authoritarian rule-based approach (49 percent)
  • Open and free-flowing communication (47 percent) versus (26 percent) where employee satisfaction is low.
  • A culture of mutual support and tolerance (42 percent versus 25 percent)
  • Active encouragement of ideas among all employees (38 percent versus 21 percent)
  • Support and understanding of the ambitious of younger employees (34 percent versus 15 percent)

India’s millennials also seem to be particularly sensitive to economic conditions. While on balance they are still positive about India’s economic outlook their level of optimism had dropped close to 10 points to what was recorded last year.

Additional findings from the global survey include:

  • High correlation between satisfaction and purpose. 40 percent of Millennials reporting high job satisfaction, and 40 percent who plan to remain in their jobs with their current employer beyond 2020, say their employers have a strong sense of purpose beyond financial success. The figures among those reporting low satisfaction, and those who plan to leave within two years, was just 22 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
  • More than economic factors driving Millennials to leave. The desire to leave their current job during the next five years is greater among Millennials in emerging markets (69 percent) than in developed economies (61 percent). However, outliers—including the UK, where the rate is 71 percent—suggest the desire to move on is not merely a function of the economic climate.
  • Business as a force for good. Millennials continue to hold business in high regard; three-quarters (73 percent) maintain that it has a positive impact on wider society. This figure is unchanged since 2014 and shows that, despite a downturn in certain local and regional economies, Millennials remain upbeat about business’s potential to do good.
  • Unhappy with leadership development. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of Millennials feel their leadership skills are not being fully developed, and 71 percent of those expecting to leave their employer in the next two years are unhappy with how their leadership skills are being developed—a full 17 points higher than among those intending to stay beyond 2020.
  • Focused on productivity, personal growth. Millennials want to spend more time discussing new ways of working, developing their skills, and being mentored.
  • Seeking flexibility. Three-quarters of Millennials would prefer to work from home or other locations where they feel they could be most productive. However, only 43 percent currently are allowed to do this.
  • Feeling in control. Three-quarters (77 percent) of Millennials feel in control of their career paths.

About the Deloitte Millennial Survey

The research findings are based on a study conducted by Deloitte Global of nearly 7,700 Millennials representing 29 countries around the globe. In India, Deloitte reached out to 300 millennials. Screening questions at the recruitment stage ensured that all respondents were Millennials—were born after 1982, have obtained a college or university degree, are employed fulltime, and predominantly work in large (100+ employees), private-sector organizations.

About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. Please see for a more detailed description of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte provides assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and related services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte’s more than 225,000 professionals are committed to making an impact that matters. Deloitte serves 4 out of 5 Fortune Global 500® companies.

This press release has been given by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP (DTTILLP)

‘Deloitte India’ herein refers to DTTILLP.

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