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Millennials seek stability, opportunities to work with employers to effect change

A stressful 2016 tempers optimism, according to annual Deloitte global survey  

A turbulent 2016—punctuated by terror attacks in Europe, Brexit, and a contentious US presidential election—appears to have rattled millennials’ confidence, according to Deloitte’s sixth annual Millennial Survey. Young professionals indicate they’re less likely to leave the security of their jobs, more concerned about uncertainty arising from conflict, and not optimistic about the directions their countries are heading.

A survey of nearly 8,000 millennials representing 30 countries around the globe revealed the following:

  • Pessimism in developed markets is rampant. In mature markets, only 36 percent of millennials predict they will be materially better off than their parents and 31 percent say they’ll be happier.
  • Uncertain times appear to be driving a desire for stability. Last year, the “loyalty gap” between those who saw themselves leaving their companies within two years and those who anticipated staying beyond five years was 17 percentage points. This year, it’s only seven points.
  • Purpose has benefits beyond retention. Those who are provided opportunities to contribute to charities/good causes in their workplaces also are less pessimistic about the general social situation and have a more positive opinion of business behavior.
  • Automation is rapidly become a feature of working environments. Millennials see automation providing opportunities for value-added or creative activities, or the learning of new skills. Conversely, 40 percent see automation posing a threat to their jobs.
  • Flexible working arrangements continue to increase. Within the workplace itself, flexible working continues to be a feature of most millennials’ working lives and is linked to improved organisational performance, personal benefit, and loyalty.
  • Young professionals seek directness and passion, not radicalism. Surveyed millennials, in general, don’t support leaders who take controversial or divisive positions, or aim for radical transformation rather than gradual change. They are more comfortable with plain, straight-talking language from both business and political leaders.
  • Business-government collaboration breeds skepticism. With respect to meeting society’s challenges, millennials are equally split between those that believe businesses and governments work well together (49 percent) and those that don’t (48 percent). But only 27 percent of respondents consider citizens/society to be the ultimate beneficiaries when businesses and governments work together. 
  • Millennials overall are positive about Generation Z. Six in 10 millennials believe GenZ (those currently aged 18 or younger) will have a positive impact as their presence in the workplace expands. This belief is higher in emerging markets (70 percent) than in mature markets (52 percent). They believe the group to have strong information technology skills and the ability to think creatively.

Deloitte New Zealand partner Adithi Pandit says the events of last year should be a wake-up call for business and government leaders.

“The business community can, and must, address millennials’ pessimism by doing more for society,” says Ms Pandit.

“The survey responses show that millennials feel accountable for many issues in both the workplace and the wider world. However, it is primarily in and via the workplace that they feel most able to make an impact. Opportunities to be involved with good causes at the local level, many of which are enabled by employers, provide millennials with a greater sense of influence. This local, small-scale change has a ripple effect that cascades from the individual to the broader workplace to society at large.”

View the Millennial Survey here.

Media contact:

Matt Huntington

Communications Manager
04 470 3771

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