Following a troubling year, where geopolitical and social concerns gave rise to a new wave of business activism, millennials and Gen Z are sounding the alarm, according to Deloitte’s seventh annual Millennial Survey. Millennials’ opinions about business’ motivations and ethics, which had trended up the past two years, retreated dramatically this year, as did their sense of loyalty. And neither generation is particularly optimistic about their readiness for Industry 4.0. Their concerns suggest this is an ideal time for business leaders to prove themselves as agents of positive change. The findings are based on the views of more than 10,000 millennials questioned across 36 countries and more than 1,800 Gen Z respondents questioned in six countries. The survey was conducted 24 November 2017 through 15 January 2018.
This year’s survey shows a clear, negative shift in millennials’ feelings about business’ motivations and ethics. Today, only a minority of millennials believe businesses behave ethically (48 percent vs 65 percent in 2017) and that business leaders are committed to helping improve society (47 percent vs 62 percent in 2017).
There continues to be a stark mismatch between what millennials believe responsible businesses should achieve and what they perceive businesses’ actual priorities to be—but where matches exist, the perception is that those companies are more successful, have more stimulating work environments and do a better job of developing talent.
Forty-three percent of millennials envision leaving their jobs within two years; only 28 percent seek to stay beyond five years. The 15-point gap is up from seven points last year. Employed Gen Z respondents express even less loyalty, with 61 percent saying they would leave within two years if given the choice.
Attracting and retaining millennials and Gen Z respondents begins with financial rewards and workplace culture; it is enhanced when businesses and their senior management teams are diverse, and when the workplace offers higher degrees of flexibility. Those who are less than satisfied with their pay and work flexibility are increasingly attracted to the gig economy, especially in emerging markets.
Millennials and Gen Z recognize the current and future importance of Industry 4.0, yet many feel unprepared for the changes it will bring. Fewer than four in 10 millennials (36 percent) and three in 10 Gen Z currently in work (29 percent) believe they have the skills and knowledge they’ll need to thrive.
While technical skills are always necessary, respondents are especially interested in building interpersonal skills, confidence and ethical behavior—all of which they consider essential for a business to be successful. They would like business to take a lead role in readying people for Industry 4.0.
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