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The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019
Societal discord and technological transformation create a “generation disrupted”
In business, disruption can promote innovation, growth, and agility. That, in turn, creates powerful and progressive business models, economic systems, and social structures. But unbridled disruption also has a downside, one that’s apparent in the 2019 Millennial Survey results. Notwithstanding current global economic expansion and opportunity, millennials and Generation Z are expressing uneasiness and pessimism—about their careers, their lives in general, and the world around them. They appear to be struggling to find their safe havens, their beacons of trust. As a result, these younger, especially unsettled generations are instigating their own brand of disruption, both inadvertently and intentionally.
Among this year's key findings
- Economic and social/political optimism is at record lows. Respondents express a strong lack of faith in traditional societal institutions, including mass media, and are pessimistic about social progress.
- Millennials and Gen Zs are disillusioned.They’re not particularly satisfied with their lives, their financial situations, their jobs, government and business leaders, social media, or the way their data is used.
- Millennials value experiences. They aspire to travel and help their communities more than starting families or their own businesses.
- Millennials are skeptical of business’s motives. Respondents do not think highly of leaders’ impact on society, their commitment to improving the world, or their trustworthiness.
- They let their wallets do the talking (and walking). Millennials and Gen Zs, in general, will patronize and support companies that align with their values; many say they will not hesitate to lessen or end relationships when they disagree with companies’ business practices, values, or political leanings.
The Dutch findings
The Deloitte Global Millennial study shows that Dutch Millennials are slightly less positive than their peers worldwide when it comes to economic and social progress and the contribution companies and governments make to society.
Dutch millennials seem to have little trust in the corporate life. 71% of the surveyed Dutch millennials think that companies are mainly concerned with their own agendas and do not pay much attention to the public interest. In addition, less than 40% of Dutch millennials trust the leaders of large companies when it comes to having a positive impact on the world and only 20% see them as a source of reliable information. Purpose, or the social impact is one of the most important motivators for millennials. It is therefore of great importance that top managers convey their social efforts credibly. Not as a marketing expression, but as a fundamental task to make a concrete and relevant contribution to society. Otherwise they lose their attractiveness for millennials as an employer.
Furthermore, Dutch millennials are critical about business and the established order. However, it seems that they do not use their own power. Although there is a slight increase in the number of millennials who are looking for a different job, only 30% of millennials state that they are rewarding a company for its impact on society. Thus, they do not turn their criticism into actions and therefore do not use their own power to make an impact on companies that they see as harmful to society or the environment. This also applies to the use of technology and personal data sharing. Despite the fact that about two thirds of the Millennials are concerned about the collection and protection of personal data by organizations, a majority say that the usefulness of new technologies outweighs the risks.
A generation disrupted
Why are these young generations filled with distrust instead of optimism? Perhaps it’s because they’re perpetually caught in the crossfire of social, political, and economic commotion.
Chief among the influencing factors is likely the economic recession of the late 2000s. At one end of the spectrum are older millennials who were entering the job market as the crisis unfolded. At the other end are Gen Zs, many of whom have spent half their lives in a post-crash world. Studies suggest that entering the labor market during a recession has long-term negative effects on subsequent wages and career paths.
In the United States, millennials who entered the labor market around the recession, or during the years of slow growth that followed, experienced less economic growth in their first decade of work than any other generation. They have lower real incomes and fewer assets than previous generations at comparable ages, as well as higher levels of debt. The cumulative effect has altered a wide variety of financial decisions.
The complete impact goes deeper than economics. Unlike the postwar 1950s—which were characterized by international cooperation, a baby boom, and economic expansion that benefited most—the past decade has been marked by a steep rise in economic inequality, a reduction in societal safety nets, insular and dysfunctional governments, increased tribalism fueled by social media, radical changes in the contract between employers and employees, Industry 4.0 technologies that are redefining the workplace, and personal technologies that make people both more connected and more isolated.
The impact of myriad, radical changes to our daily lives has hit younger generations hard—economically, socially, and perhaps psychologically. Through this survey, this “generation disrupted” is telling us that continuous change and upheaval have created a population that is different at its core. But, they’re also providing valuable clues about how society’s institutions can respond to those differences in mutually beneficial ways that could increase trust, generate positive societal impact, and meet their high expectations.
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For more information about the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019, please contact Ronald Meijers via the contact details below.