Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017

Apprehensive millennials: seeking stability and opportunities in an uncertain world

Thinking of millennials as super connected self-centered individuals lacking loyalty and with little care for the world around them? Deloitte’s latest study might surprise you. Okay, the supper connected part hasn’t changed – this only increases, along with the believe that automation will stimulate productivity, economic growth and even employment. However, many of the 8,000 participants across 30 countries that were questioned are concerned about a world that presents numerous threats, one of which is terrorism. By working together, they hope to improve performance of both business as well as society as a whole.

Ardie van Berkel, Partner and EMEA Leader Deloitte Human Capital: “For me the most surprising aspect, and this is confirmed in research by the WRR, is that millennials want more stability and full-time employment. They are loyal and seem more motivated to stay with their employer than a year ago. Flexibility is still aspired, but primarily as working arrangement: flexible hours and location. Stability is appealing and they would be inclined to turn down offers for freelance work or as consultants in favor of a full-time job. This is quite a shift, because in previous years millennials were known to have an appetite for job hopping. A shift that is mainly happening in the developed countries; emerging markets show a different picture. In mature markets millennials are less optimistic about the future compared to last year. Only 24 percent expects economic prosperity. It is logical that if you’re not very positive about the future, you want more security.”


Older cohorts consider millennials a rather self-centered and pleasure-seeking group, but this does not reflect the 2017 survey findings. Not at all, claims Ronald Meijers, Partner Deloitte Human Capital. “Millennials have a definite sense of accountability for society. They care about the world and are concerned. Their apprehension is increased by the current global developments. It is interesting to see how this translates quite clearly and directly into a different economic preference.”

76 percent of the participants view business as a force for social impact. This is another striking difference with previous years, in which millennials were less positive about the ability of corporations to bring about change in the world, Van Berkel states. “Even multinationals and large companies are considered a force of social transformation. But they’re not doing what they can, according to millennials. Young employees want their employer to give them the opportunity and means to work for a good cause. No matter if this cause is local or small-scale. They believe in the ripple-effect: small-scale initiatives have a greater impact than traditional ones.” Meijers: “In their direct environment millennials feel more able to make a difference. This gives them a sense of empowerment. Businesses, rather than global initiatives and politics, are believed to be the better place to start. The alleged distance between voters and politicians may be compensated through the empowerment in the workplace. I’m very positive about that. Those who are enabled to contribute to good causes in their workplace are less pessimistic about the general social situation and have a more positive opinion of business behavior.”

Personal impact

Another interesting insight is that millennials in rich countries don’t believe they will do better than their parents, whereas in emerging markets the only way is up, says Meijers. “This explains the sentiments or, if you will, the resentments of millennials in the west. We could be heading for a vicious circle: decreasing prospects and declining trust in politicians might lead to picking populists leaders that create more insecurity and skepticism on a large scale. This mechanism needs to shift.” Van Berkel: “On the other hand, the USA has a populist leader now, and at the same time is the only western country in which millennials believe their standard of living will be higher than that of their parents. Despite their optimism they’re worried about global warming and climate change, and even more now about terrorism. But even though they are concerned about the future, they stay positive about their personal impact to make the world a better place. Not through the government or NGO’s, but through working for a company and having the opportunity to spend time supporting a good cause, using the available skills and network of the organization, be it large or small. This possibility of having an impact on society influences their inclination to stay with their employer.”

Read the Human Capital Trends report 2017 – What you need to know as an employer about your (future) employees: how to find them, fascinate them, and how to commit to them. 

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