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Deloitte’s 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey reveals workplace progress despite new setbacks

Key Highlights:

  • Work-life balance remains a top priority for Gen Zs and millennials with flexible work arrangements and part-time jobs growing in popularity
  • Cost of living was cited as the top societal concern, with more than half of respondents saying they live paycheck to paycheck
  • Malaysian respondents in particular cited difficulties in buying a house and starting a new job in the current economic climate
  • Stress and anxiety levels remain high, driven by financial and environmental concerns, as well as workplace pressures
  • Gen Zs and millennials want employers to help them prepare for the transition to a low-carbon economy

KUALA LUMPUR, 29 May 2023  Deloitte’s newly released 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey explores how the disruptive events of the last three years have shaped respondents’ lives and views. Comprising insights from more than 22,000 Gen Z and Millennial respondents across 44 countries, the report underscores a deep concern among respondents about their futures, particularly those related to personal finances, climate change, and mental health.

“Gen Zs and Millennials in Malaysia are striving for better work-life balance. They are values-driven, concerned about the environment, state of the world, and the future they see developing ahead of them. They’re looking for employers who can help empower them to make a difference,” says Lee Yun-Han, Deloitte Southeast Asia Human Capital Consulting Director. “Organisations who actively listen and address their needs and concerns will improve business resilience and implement actionable change in our world.”

Gen Zs and Millennials acknowledge workplace progress, but are seeking greater flexibility and worklife balance

Approximately one-third of Gen Zs and Millennials say they are very satisfied with their work-life balance, compared to only one in five in 2019. Satisfaction with work flexibility along with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts have also increased. Although nearly half of Gen Zs and a majority of Millennials say their job is still central to their identities, they place a strong focus on work-life balance—the top trait they admire in their peers, and their top consideration when choosing an employer.

Flexible work arrangements are a growing priority as Gen Zs and millennials want flexibility in where and when they work. Many respondents now have hybrid or remote work models, a benefit they value deeply. They would like to see their employers offer better career advancement opportunities for parttime employees, increase part-time job opportunities, and provide options for more flexible hours for full-time employees such as a condensed four-day work week. In Malaysia, 84% of both Gen Zs and Millennials reported that they would consider looking for a new job if their employer asked them to go on-site full time.

While Gen Zs and millennials acknowledge the progress that employers have made in recent years, there is still work to do. They worry that the momentum will slow down as businesses reckon with external challenges like global economic uncertainty.

Cost of living remains a top concern, and economic uncertainty is affecting respondents’ ability to plan for their futures

Roughly six in 10 Gen Zs and two-thirds of Millennials think the economy will worsen or stay the same in their country over the next year. Many think that it will become harder or impossible to ask for a raise or promotion, get a new job, or seek greater work flexibility. More than 60% of Malaysian Gen Zs and
Millennials believe that getting a new job will be harder or impossible if the economy doesn’t improve. Their economic concerns are also impacting their ability to plan for their future on a more personal level, with more than half of Malaysian respondents saying it will become harder or impossible to buy a home or start a family, a finding higher than the global average.

Gen Zs and Millennials continue to cite the cost of living as their top societal concern, above unemployment and climate change. More than half of Gen Zs and millennials say they live paycheck to paycheck. Despite their desires for better work-life balance and the ability to reduce working hours, many Gen Zs (46%) and Millennials (37%) have taken on a part-time or an additional full-time paying job to make ends meet. In Malaysia, this number is significantly higher, with 60% of Gen Zs and 62% of Millennials taking up a part-time of full-time paying jobs in addition to their primary job. 25% of Malaysian Gen Zs preferred flexible ‘gig’ work while 29% of Millennials favoured selling products or services on online platforms.

Persistent stress and burnout are straining these generations

In Malaysia, 42% of both Gen Zs and Millennials indicated that they feel anxious or stressed all or most of the time. On top of concerns about personal finances and welfare of friends and family, poor worklife balance and heavy workloads contribute to their stress levels. Respondents are also struggling to
disconnect from work, with 32% of Malaysian Gen Zs and 38% of Malaysian Millennials reporting that they are responding to work emails and messages outside of working hours every day. These workplace pressures may also be driving the increased levels of burnout since last year - 66% of Gen Zs and 62% of Millennials reported feeling burnt out due to workload intensity and demands, compared to 65% and 48% in 2022 respectively.

Social media is another contributing factor to increasing stress and burnout levels - approximately four in 10 Gen Zs and Millennials reportedly feel lonely and inadequate by their use of social media. Conversely, more than half of each generation say that social media has also had an overall positive
impact, given the easier access to mental health resources and the ability to connect with friends, family, and social causes.

Workplace wellbeing

87% of both Gen Zs and Millennials in Malaysia agreed that mental health support and policies are very important when considering a potential employer while more than half of both groups are happy with how employers have handled issues of reported workplace harassment and microaggressions.

The drive for greater environmental sustainability and social impact is guiding lifestyle and career decisions

71% of Malaysian Gen Zs and Millennials reported feeling worried or anxious about climate change in the last month. These concerns impact their decision-making, from family planning and home improvements, to what they eat and wear. The ability to drive change on social issues has the potential to make or break the recruitment and retention of these generations. More than half of overall respondents say they research a brand’s environmental impact and policies before accepting a job, nearly four in 10 have rejected work assignments due to ethical concerns, and more than one-third have turned down employers that do not align with their values. Gen Zs and Millennials want to be empowered to drive change within their organisations, but they feel that influence in other critical areas, such as social impact and sustainability, is lagging.

Gen Zs and Millennials want their employers to provide training and support to help them make more sustainable decisions and develop the skills needed to transition to a low-carbon economy. Over 60% of Malaysian respondents reported to have received such training. With approximately 800 million jobs
estimated to be vulnerable to climate extremes
, it will be essential for organisations to train and upskill their talent.

Employers can—and must—act

As businesses face new headwinds, it will be important for employers to maintain the progress they’ve made in talent recruitment and retention efforts and help drive greater momentum.

“Gen Zs and Millennials are facing a unique combination of challenges during a pivotal point in their lives as they progress in their careers, grow their families, and care for loved ones,” adds Lee. “It is crucial for employers in Malaysia to understand the needs of these generations and continue to drive progress on the challenges that matter most to them. This will not only help boost productivity and retain talent—it will ultimately build trust and value for businesses on a broader scale.”

To learn more about the Deloitte Global 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey and the Mental Health Deep Dive based on the findings visit:


The Deloitte Global 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey reflects the responses of 14,483 Generation Zs and 8,373 millennials (22,856 respondents in total), from 44 countries across North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific. The survey was conducted using an online, self-complete-style interview. Fieldwork was completed between 29 November 2022 and 25 December 2022. In addition to the survey, in March 2023, qualitative interviews were conducted with 60 Gen Zs and millennials from Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, the UK, and US.
As defined in the study, Gen Z respondents were born between January 1995 and December 2004 and millennial respondents were born between January 1983 and December 1994.


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