Millennials and Gen Zs unsettled about the future

Facing continuous technological and societal disruption, millennials and Gen Zs are skeptical of business’ motives and pessimistic about progress.
By: | May 23, 2019


Facing continuous technological and societal disruption, millennials and Gen Zs are disillusioned with traditional institutions, skeptical of business’ motives and pessimistic about economic and social progress, according to the 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey.

The survey found that despite global economic growth, expansion and opportunity, 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 Zs have grown up in a unique moment in time impacting connectivity, trust, privacy, social mobility and work,” says Michele Parmelee, Deloitte Global Chief Talent Officer.

“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 talent 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. But their priorities have evolved, or at least been delayed.

Having children, buying homes 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%) and help their communities (46%).

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.

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 millennials responded that they give a “great deal” or “fair amount” of importance to gender and ethnicity when considering whether to work for an organisation.

“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 more than 13,000 millennials questioned across 42 countries, and some 3,000 Gen Z respondents (born between January 1995 and December 2002) from 10 countries.

“In relative terms, Southeast Asian countries are fairly close to what we see globally in most of the results,” said Deloitte Human Capital Consulting Leader for Deloitte Southeast Asia Mark Maclean.

“In general, millennials being more likely to leave their current roles in the short term rather than building a career, having a focus on social media and believing that organisations should be contributing to society and align with their purpose.”