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Business needs to reset its purpose to attract Millennials, according to Deloitte’s annual global survey

15 January 2015

  • UK Millennials more critical of business behaviour and attitudes than global counterparts
  • Future UK leaders rank professional services and TMT as most desirable industries
  • UK Millennials half as likely to start their own businesses as those in emerging markets
  • Just one-third of UK respondents say skills learned in higher education are useful in day-to-day work

Business should focus on people and purpose, not just products and profits according to Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s (Deloitte Global) fourth annual Millennial survey. This and other findings from the survey suggest businesses, particularly in developed markets, will need to make significant changes to attract and retain the future workforce.  

Deloitte Global surveyed 7,800 graduates born after 1982 in full-time employment across 29 countries, including the UK, on effective leadership, how business operates and impacts society.

71 percent of UK respondents say businesses have a positive impact on society, compared to 82 percent in emerging markets and 73 percent globally. However, 77 percent of UK Millennials, and 75 percent globally, believe businesses are focused on their own agenda rather than helping to improve society. Just 48 percent of UK Millennials say businesses show strong leadership on important social issues, compared to 61 percent globally. Similarly, just 39 percent of UK Millennials say businesses act in an ethical manner, against 52 percent globally.

When asked which sectors they aspire to work in, 40 percent of UK Millennials say the professional services sector is attractive, with 34 percent expressing a preference for the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sector. This trend is reversed globally, with 46 percent of Millenials worldwide keen to work in the TMT sector, ahead of professional services at 39 percent. UK male respondents are more likely to choose the TMT sector, with 40 percent preferring the sector, ahead of 27 percent of women.

37 percent of UK respondents, and 35 percent globally, are keen to work for a large, global business. This increases to 51 percent among Millenials in emerging markets. Just 12 percent of UK Millennials, and 11 percent globally are inclined to start their own business, compared to 22 percent in emerging markets.

Steve Almond, Chairman of Deloitte Global, said:
“The survey sends a clear and strong message to business leaders that, to stay engaged with Millennials, they need to focus on their broader purpose and their people as much as they do on products and profits.”

Barry Salzberg, CEO of Deloitte Global, said:
“Millennials want more from business than might have been the case 50, 20, or even 10 years ago. They are sending a very strong signal to the world’s leaders that when doing business, they should do so with purpose. The pursuit of this different and better way of operating in the 21st century begins by redefining leadership.”

Other notable findings from Deloitte’s survey include:

  • The education system can do more to equip future UK business leaders with the skills they need. When asked  which of their skills were strongest when they left higher education, academic knowledge and personal traits such as patience, maturity and analytical skills ranked highest, while leadership, entrepreneurial, sales and marketing skills and financial knowledge ranked lowest.
  • Overall, just 36 percent of UK respondents say the skills they developed in higher education are useful in fulfilling their day to day work responsibilities and 44 percent say their higher education experience is useful to improving their long term career objectives.
  • Just 21 percent of UK Millennials, and 28 percent globally, feel their current employer is making full use of their skills.
  • 43 percent of UK respondents, compared to 53 percent globally and 65 percent in emerging markets, aspire to become the leader or most senior executive within their current organisation.


Notes to editors

To download the full report please visit:

About the Deloitte Millennial Survey
The research findings are based on a study conducted by Deloitte in conjunction with Millward Brown, a UK limited company, of more than 7,800 Millennials representing 29 countries around the globe. Screening questions at the recruitment stage ensured that all respondents were Millennials – were born after 1982, have obtained a university degree, are employed fulltime, and predominantly work in large (100+ employees), private-sector organisations.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

Mark Smith
Deloitte LLP
+44 (0) 20 7007 7082
+44 (0) 75 9004 1301

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