A turbulent 2016—punctuated by terror attacks in Europe, Brexit, and a contentious US presidential election—appears to have rattled Millennials’ confidence.
Uncertainty amongst Millennials
Last year, many Millennials seemed to be planning near-term exits from their employers. But, after 12 months of political and social upheaval, those ambitions have been tempered, according to Deloitte Global’s sixth annual Millennial Survey. Young professionals now indicate they’re less likely to leave the security of their jobs, more concerned about uncertainty arising from conflict, and—especially in developed countries—not optimistic about their future prospects nor the directions their countries are going. The findings are based on the views of almost 8,000 Millennials questioned across 30 countries in September 2016.
Pessimism in developed world runs rampant
Millennials in emerging markets generally expect to be both financially (71 percent) and emotionally (62 percent) better off than their parents. This is in stark contrast to mature markets, where only 36 percent of Millennials predict they will be financially better off than their parents and 31 percent say they’ll be happier.
Millennials have one foot out the door
Forty-four percent of Millennials say, if given the choice, they would like to leave their current employers in the next two years. A perceived lack of leadership-skill development and feelings of being overlooked are compounded by larger issues around work/life balance, the desire for flexibility, and a conflict of values.
“Pro-business,” but expecting more
Millennials view business positively and believe it’s behaving in an increasingly responsible manner; 76 percent say businesses, in general, are having a positive impact on the wider society in which they operate. However, they also believe multinational businesses are not fully realizing their potential to alleviate society’s biggest challenges.
Millennials’ values do not change as they progress professionally
Millennials appear to be steered by strong values at all stages of their careers; it’s apparent in the employers they choose, the assignments they’re willing to accept, and the decisions they make as they take on more senior-level roles.
Making an impact through their employers
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 feeling of influence.
Millennials want business to shift its purpose
While they continue to express a positive view of business’ role in society and have softened their negative perceptions of business’ motivation and ethics compared to prior surveys, Millennials still want businesses to focus more on people (employees, customers, and society), products, and purpose—and less on profits.
A preference for plain talk and inclusiveness
Surveyed Millennials, in general, do not support leaders who take 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; respond to passionate opinions; and identify with leaders who appeal to anyone who might feel “left out” or isolated.
It’s not too late to earn Millennials’ loyalty
Millennials seek employers with similar values; seven in 10 believe their personal values are shared by the organizations for which they work. This is the potential “silver lining” for organizations aiming to retain these young professionals.
Freelance flexibility with full-time stability
In spite of perceived across-the-board advantages of working as freelancers or consultants, nearly two-thirds of Millennials said they prefer full-time employment. Millennials’ anxiety about world events and increasing automation may be partially responsible for them wanting to remain in their jobs, but the allure of flexible working options might be just as influential.
Generation Z will be welcomed
Millennials tend to have a broadly positive opinion of Gen Z (those currently aged 18 or younger), believing the group to have strong information technology skills and the ability to think creatively. Six in 10 Millennials believe Gen Z 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).