Deloitte research reveals a ‘generation disrupted’


DESPITE current global economic growth, expansion and opportunity, Millennials and Gen Z are expressing uneasiness and pessimism – about their careers, their lives and the world around them, according to Deloitte’s eighth annual Millennial Survey released on May 20.

Facing continuous technological and societal disruption, Millennials and Gen Z are disillusioned with traditional institutions, sceptical of business’ motives and pessimistic about economic and social progress, according to the 2019 survey. The Deloitte survey found that despite global economic growth, expansion and opportunity, the younger generations are wary about the world and their place in it. But they remain hopeful and lean on their values as both consumers and employees.

“From the economic recession a decade ago to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Millennials and Gen Z have grown up in a unique moment in time impacting connectivity, trust, privacy, social mobility and work,” Deloitte global chief talent officer Michele Parmelee says in a report.

“This uncertainty is reflected in their personal views on business, government, leadership and the need for positive societal change agents. As business leaders, we must continue to embrace the issues resonating most with these two generations or risk losing out on talents in an increasingly competitive market.”

This “generation disrupted” is no less ambitious than previous generations: More than half want to earn high salaries and be wealthy. However their priorities have evolved, or at least been delayed.

Having children and other traditional signals of adulthood “success markers” do not top their list of priorities. Instead, they’d rather travel and see the world (57%) versus buying a home (49%) and help their communities (46%) versus having children (39%).

Their desire to make a difference is evident in both their personal concerns – climate change and the environment topped that long list – and in the factors they consider when choosing consumer products and services as well as employers.

Meanwhile, economic optimism, institutional trust and social mobility continue to waver.

Respondents’ anticipation for economic improvement dipped to the lowest level in six years. Only 26% of respondents expect economic conditions in their countries to rally in the coming year, down from 45% a year ago.

Income inequality and unemployment were cited as top challenges facing the world today and are likely factors in their pessimistic views toward the economy.

Two-thirds of millennials believe that some people are not given a fair chance at achieving success. Respondents believe that the government is most responsible for improving social mobility, but they do not believe this is one of the government’s priorities.

Consistent with past surveys, respondents expressed low opinions on political and religious leaders. Seventy-three per cent said political leaders are failing to have a positive impact on the world, with two-thirds saying the same of faith leaders.

About 45% of Millennials said they have absolutely no trust in either set of leaders as sources of reliable information. However, respondents still believe the government is best-equipped to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.

An evolving tech and media landscape underscores privacy and cybersecurity concerns

Along with declining trust in governmental and religious institutions, trust in media is low among Millennials and Gen Z.

Forty-three per cent of respondents said the traditional media is negatively impacting the world, and 27% expressed zero trust in the media as a reliable source of information. As Millennials and Gen Z look to gather information through alternative means, concerns about the impact of social media are also pervasive.

Seventy-one per cent of Millennials feel fairly positive or very positive about their personal use of digital devices and social media. However, 64% of respondents believe they would be physically healthier if they reduced social media consumption, and 41% wish they could stop using it completely.

Despite recognising the detriments of social media, overall, respondents are embracing technology. They are more sceptical, though, when it comes to cybersecurity.

About 69% are concerned they will be victims of online fraud. Similarly, 78% are worried about how organisations share personal data with each other.

eye-opening, considering that a quarter of Millennials have ended consumer relationships because of companies’ inability to protect data.

Millennials’ opinions about business continue to diminish, as 55% of respondents said business has a positive impact on society, down from 61% in 2018.

The decrease was driven, in part, by views that businesses focus solely on their own agendas rather than considering the consequences for society. Business will have to work hard to improve this reputation because Millennials are putting their money where their mouths are: 42 percent have started or deepened business relationships because they believe companies’ products or services are having positive impacts on society and/or the environment, while 38 percent have ended or lessened relationships with companies perceived to have a negative impact.Skill requirement

Regarding technology’s influence on the workforce, 49% of Millennials believe new technologies will augment their jobs, 46% believe the changing nature of work will make it tougher to find or change jobs and 70% believe they may only have some or few of the skills required to succeed in Industry 4.0.

Millennials believe business is most responsible for training workers to meet evolving challenges, while Gen Zs – still largely in school or recently graduated – put this responsibility on academia.

This presents an interesting opportunity for business and academia to increasingly collaborate to solve tomorrow’s workforce challenges.

In terms of diversity and inclusion, there is a strong correlation between Millennials who plan to stay in their current jobs and those who said their companies deliver best on indicators such as diversity and inclusion.

Additionally, a majority of milennials responded that they give a “great deal” or “fair amount” of importance to gender and ethnicity when considering whether to work for an organization.

“Millennials and Gen Zs are conflicted about the role of technology, and they are looking to business to help them adjust to a new normal,” Parmelee says.

“To attract and retain young employees, businesses should bolster their diversity and inclusion initiatives, find new ways to incorporate these generations into corporate societal impact programs and place a priority on reskilling and training to ensure talent is prepared for what’s ahead.”

The 2019 report is based on the views of 13,416 Millennials questioned across 42 countries. Millennials included in the study were born between January 1983 and December 1994.

This report also includes responses from 3,009 Gen Z respondents in 10 countries. Gen Z respondents were born between January 1995 and December 2002.

The overall sample size of 16,425 represents the largest survey of Millennials and Gen Zs completed in the eight years Deloitte Global has published this report. The survey was conducted 4 December 2018 through 18 January 2019. — By Tee Lin Say


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