The third annual survey on millennials released by Deloitte says that those born after 1983 are demanding. They also have high expectations. But just to clarify, the big demands and expectations are mostly for the improvement of society.
On societal impact
The survey, which was conducted online and gathered views from over 7,800 millennials with a college or university degree and employed full-time, found that millennials expect business to care more about society. Many believe that business can do much more to address society’s challenges they rated as most concerning, including resource scarcity (56 percent), climate change (55 percent), and income equality (49 percent).
In addition, more than 50 percent of millennials feel that business can develop products and services or adopt behaviours that will have a positive impact on all 20 societal challenges included in the survey.
But they’re also realistic. Respondents viewed business as “essential to the economy” and providers of “jobs and services”, so they don’t have a problem with business making money off of innovations creating positive impact. In last year’s survey, 95 percent of respondents said it is acceptable for business to make a profit from innovations that benefit society.
At the same time, what millennials hope for is balance. Respondents from this year’s survey feel that business today has a narrow, short-term view. One respondent from China said current businesses “pollute the environment and have a money making black heart, squeezing employees.” Another from India said most businesses around the world run on a “single motive: to generate more profits”, while a millennial from Brazil said that businesses are not concerned with “what the damage of their relentless search for capital will do to future generations”.
Although millennials believe business has the potential to address challenges in society, they think performance is falling short. Millennials feel business is having a -18 percent net negative impact on inequality of incomes and wealth, -25 percent net negative impact on climate change/protecting the environment, and -28 percent net negative impact on resource scarcity. On the other hand, millennials think business is having a positive impact on education, skills, and training (38 percent net positive impact), stability of national economies (27 percent), and unemployment (12 percent).
Millennials think that business will need to seek collaborative partners to maximize chances of finding innovative solutions to the challenges facing society. They don’t think solutions will come from business or government acting alone. Rather, they feel business will need to work with governments, universities, nonprofit organizations, and other companies.
Millennials want to work in organizations that foster innovative thinking. They also wish to develop their skills as leaders. But once again, millennials think business is lacking in these areas.
The survey hints that the implications are big. Millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, but if their needs are not met by a traditional organization, they will switch to work independently. Around 70 percent of millennials see themselves as working independently at some point, and by digital means in the long term.
“It’s clear that millennials want to innovate and businesses should be listening,” said Deloitte CEO Barry Salzberg. “Fostering a culture of innovation will not only help retain high-performing talent but it will also drive growth by creating opportunities for individuals to unlock the next game-changing innovations.”
“To attract and retain talent business needs to show millennials it is innovative and in tune with their world-view.”
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