2024 Gen Z and Millennial Survey

Living and working with purpose in a transforming world

In a world rapidly shaped by technological advances and global connectivity, understanding the preferences, values, and behaviors of younger generations is crucial for businesses, policymakers, and communities alike. Generation Z and Millennials, often at the forefront of digital and cultural shifts, are redefining norms and setting new trends that resonate on a global scale.

The 13th edition of Deloitte’s Gen Z and Millennial Survey connected with nearly 23,000 respondents across 44 countries to track their experiences and expectations at work and in the world more broadly.

Key findings and trends

Respondents are cautiously optimistic about the social and economic outlook. Nearly one-third of Gen Zs and millennials are optimistic that the economy in their country will improve within the next year. Dutch Gen Zs are even more optimistic. 34 percent of them expect the economic situation in the Netherlands to improve in the next twelve months (2023: 19 percent). This optimism extends to their personal finances with many expecting their financial circumstances to improve. Dutch millennials are less optimistic than Gen Zs but see the economic situation less gloomy than last year (2024: 18 percent, 2023: 10 percent). Financial insecurity remains a significant issue, as over half of both groups are living paycheck to paycheck. There is also some uncertainty about the social and political situation as many countries approach pivotal elections.

Purpose influences workplace satisfaction. The vast majority (79% of Dutch Gen Zs and 82% of Dutch millennials) say purpose is important to their overall job satisfaction and well-being. These generations are willing to reject assignments or employers that don’t align with their ethics. When employers take that feedback and respond positively, employee loyalty tends to be much higher. Though less than their global peers, 41% of Dutch Gen Zs (vs. 50% global) and 31% of Dutch millennials (vs. 43% global) have rejected an assignment based on their personal ethics/beliefs. This even occurs, albeit to a lesser degree, when considering potential employers.

Environmental sustainability is driving career decisions and consumer behaviors. Environmental sustainability remains a top concern for Gen Zs and millennials, and it is the top societal challenge which respondents feel businesses have the opportunity and necessary influence to drive change on. Gen Zs and millennials are pushing businesses to act through their career decisions and consumer behaviors. More than half of Dutch Gen Zs (59 percent) and millennials (62 percent) are taking targeted actions to reduce their personal impact on the environment. As consumers, Gen Zs and millennials often make conscious choices to spur companies to take climate action. For example, 26 percent of Dutch Gen Zs and one in three millennials (30 percent) are banning fast fashion. Another quarter (Gen Z: 27 percent, millennials: 25 percent) say they will do so in the future.

Positive perceptions of GenAI increase with more hands-on experience, but so do workplace concerns. Gen Zs and millennials are feeling uncertain about GenAI and its impact on their careers. Those who frequently use GenAI are more likely to trust the technology and believe it will improve the way they work, but they’re also more likely to have concerns, such as believing it will lead to the elimination of jobs. Amid uncertainty, both generations are thinking about how to adapt and focusing on reskilling. Dutch Gen Zs (17 percent) and millennials (15 percent) who regularly use GenAI at work believe that the use of GenAI saves time, improves the way they work, and can contribute to a better work-life balance.

Work/life balance and flexibility remain paramount as return to office strategies yield mixed results. An increase in return to office strategies over the last year is yielding mixed results. Some report benefits like improved engagement, connection and collaboration, while others are experiencing outcomes like increased stress and decreased productivity. What is clear is that work/life balance and flexibility remain critical for these generations. This balance remains a priority for Dutch Gen Zs (25 percent) and millennials (34 percent) when choosing an employer. Flexibility around working hours is also an important motivation for Dutch Gen Zs (21 percent) and millennials (18 percent) to work for an organization. The popularity of less traditional employment models, from part-time roles, and job-sharing, to side gigs is increasing.

As workplace factors contribute to stress levels, employers must stay focused on supporting better workplace mental health. Stress levels continue to be very high among Gen Zs and millennials and only about half of respondents say their mental health is good or extremely good. 23% of Gen Zs and 19% of millennials in Netherlands said that their job is a factor contributing a lot to their feelings of anxiety or stress. Financial concerns and family welfare are major stressors, alongside job-related factors such as long working hours and not being recognized for their work. Many respondents believe their employers are taking mental health seriously, but managers and senior leaders should be doing more to address stigma’s surrounding the topic.

Implications for your organization

Over the past decade, Gen Zs and millennials have significantly influenced employer expectations and will persist in shaping these standards. Employers who are attentive and adapt their approaches are more likely to foster a workforce that is not only satisfied and productive but also agile and well-equipped to navigate a changing global landscape. Get in touch to see how these trends and developments can become opportunities for your organization.

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