Millennial Survey 2015


Millennials have one foot out the door

The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016

Two-thirds of Millennials express a desire to leave their organization by 2020. Businesses must adjust how they nurture loyalty among Millennials or risk losing a large percentage of their workforces.


Executive summary

During the next year, if given the choice, one in four Millennials would quit his or her current employer to join a new organization or to do something different. That figure increases to 44 percent when the time frame is expanded to two years. By the end of 2020, two of every three respondents hope to have moved on, while only 16 percent of Millennials see themselves with their current employers a decade from now. This remarkable absence of loyalty represents a serious challenge to any business employing a large number of Millennials, especially those in markets—like the United States—where Millennials now represent the largest segment of the workforce.

Two in three Millennials expect to leave by 2020

Percentage who expect to leave in the next. . .

percentage leave their organization 2020
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In each of the 29 countries where Millennials were surveyed, a majority believe they will have left their organizations before 2020 has passed. The percentages range from the low 50s in Belgium (51 percent), Spain (52 percent), and Japan (52 percent) to more than three quarters in Peru (82 percent), South Africa (76 percent), and India (76 percent). In general, the intention to move on is greater in emerging (69 percent) rather than mature economies (61 percent). Regionally, Latin America (71 percent) has the highest figure and Western Europe (60 percent) the lowest. Meanwhile, within the regions, we see outliers that suggest this is not merely a function of the current economic climate. For instance, in the UK, 71 percent indicate an expectation of moving on.

Millennials in emerging markets are the least loyal to their current organization

Percentage who expect to leave in the next five years

emerging versus developed markets
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When looking at demographic subgroups, we find that Millennials who are parents show somewhat more loyalty than those without children; 32 percent of the former intend to remain with their current employers for five years or more, compared to 24 percent of the latter. This is a statistically significant difference. That said, twice as many (64 percent) Millennial parents expect to leave their current employers before 2021 compared to those who expect to stay beyond this date. Women (67 percent) are slightly more likely to leave within the next five years than men (64 percent).

Even those Millennials in senior positions express the intention to leave their organizations relatively soon. In this current survey, approximately one in five respondents is either the head of a department or division (12 percent) or has a position within his or her senior management team or board (7 percent). Clearly, Millennials no longer have the potential to shape the fortunes of their organizations; many are already in positions to do so. However, while they occupy such influential positions and have presumably enjoyed satisfactory career trajectories, a majority (57 percent) believe they will leave their current businesses before year-end 2020. While this naturally represents gains for new employers, this is a significant amount of senior talent (and investment) to be walking out the door.

Lack of loyalty may be a sign of neglect

While many Millennials have already attained senior positions, much remains to be done. More than six in 10 Millennials (63 percent) say their “leadership skills are not being fully developed.” In some markets, such as Brazil and the southeastern Asia nations of Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, the figure exceeds 70 percent. Unfortunately, little progress is being made in this area. In the 2013 survey, 49 percent of respondents thought their organizations were doing all they could to develop their leadership skills. Meanwhile, last year we observed that “regardless of gender or geography, only 28 percent of Millennials feel that their current organizations are making ‘full use’ of the skills they currently have to offer.”

Last year, when asked to rate the skills and attributes on which businesses place the most value (and are prepared to pay the highest salaries), Millennials pointed to “leadership” as being the most prized. This was mentioned by 39 percent, but only 24 percent thought this was a strong personal trait of theirs upon graduation (a gap of 15 percentage points). Millennials fully appreciate that leadership skills are important to business and recognize that, in this respect, their development may be far from complete. But, based on the current results, Millennials believe businesses are not doing enough to bridge the gap to ensure a new generation of business leaders is created.

Of great significance in the current survey results is the finding that 71 percent of those likely to leave in the next two years are unhappy with how their leadership skills are being developed—fully 17 points higher than among those intending to stay beyond 2020. The most loyal employees are more likely to agree that:

  • There is a lot of support/training available to those wishing to take on leadership roles; and 
  • Younger employees are actively encouraged to aim for leadership roles.

Meanwhile, the least loyal employees are significantly more likely to say that:

  • I’m being overlooked for potential leadership positions; and 
  • My leadership skills are not being fully developed.
Supporting leadership ambitions builds loyalty (yes really!)

what loyal employees agree
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It is encouraging to report relatively small gender differences in consideration for senior roles. However, the absolute figures are disappointing—50 percent of male and 48 percent of female respondents say they are “being overlooked for potential leadership positions.”

While consideration (or a lack of it) may be equal, the reality is that Millennial men (21 percent) are significantly more likely than women (16 percent) to say they lead a department or are members of the senior management team.

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