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Millennials, Gen Z could redefine global priorities

Pay is the first reason why Gen Zs and millennials left a role in last 2 years

Millennials, Gen Z could redefine global priorities

Gen Zs and millennials are deeply worried about the state of the world and are fighting to reconcile their desire for change with the demands and constraints of everyday life, says a survey.

Marking its 11th edition, Deloitte's 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey connected with respondents around the globe to gauge their views about work and the world around them. This year's survey found that the Gen Zs and millennials are struggling with financial anxiety, while trying to invest in environmentally sustainable choices.

They feel burned out, but many are taking on second jobs, while pushing for more purposeful—and more flexible—work.

They press their employers to tackle climate change, particularly when it comes to efforts they can get directly involved in, but businesses may still be missing opportunities to drive deeper and broader climate action. They have inspired organizations to take action to address workplace mental health, but they are not always comfortable talking about these issues or taking advantage of the resources available.

Gen Zs (29 per cent) and millennials (36 per cent) selected cost of living like housing, transport and bills as their greatest concern. Of note, 12 per cent of Gen Zs and 11 per cent of millennials selected political instability, war, and conflicts between countries as their greatest concern, percentages that likely would have been much higher if the survey had been fielded just a few months later, as Russia invaded Ukraine.

Concerns about cost of living may be a symptom of the times, given high levels of inflation, but they also speak to issues that these generations have been expressing for years: they don't feel financially secure personally, and at a broader societal level, they are deeply concerned about wealth inequality.

Amid this financial unease, many Gen Zs and millennials are redefining their working patterns. As many as 43 per cent of Gen Zs and 33 per cent of millennials have a second part- or full-time paying job in addition to their primary job. A small, but growing, percentage are also moving to less expensive cities with remote jobs.

The Great Resignation may continue for some time. While job loyalty is up slightly from last year, four in 10 Gen Zs and nearly a quarter of millennials would like to leave their jobs within two years, and roughly a third would do so without another job lined up, signalling significant dissatisfaction levels. But businesses can learn from this period and implement workplace changes that will help to attract and retain talent.

Pay is the number one reason why Gen Zs and millennials left a role in the last two years. However, good work/ life balance and learning/ development opportunities were the top priorities when choosing an employer.

Aligning with Gen Zs' and millennials' values is also key. Nearly two in five say they have rejected a job or assignment because it did not align with their values. Meanwhile, those who are satisfied with their employers' societal and environmental impact, and their efforts to create a diverse and inclusive culture, are more likely to want to stay with their employer for more than five years.

There is also clear demand for more flexible working: currently 49 per cent of Gen Zs and 45 per cent of millennials work remotely at least some of the time, while three-quarters say this would be their preferred mode of working. Saving money, freeing up time to do other things they care about, and spending more time with family are the top reasons Gen Zs and millennials like to have the option to work remotely.

Protecting the environment remains a top priority for Gen Zs and millennials. About three-quarters of respondents believe the world is at a tipping point in responding to climate change, but less than half are optimistic that efforts to protect the planet will be successful.

Gen Zs and millennials want to see employers prioritize visible climate actions that enable employees to get directly involved, such as banning single-use plastics and providing training to help people make better environmental decisions.

Gen Zs are regularly stressed and anxious. Nearly half say that they feel stressed all or most of the time. Millennial stress levels are also high but are down slightly from last year. Long-term financial futures and day-to-day finances continue to be top stress drivers for both generations.

Meanwhile, burnout is very high among both generations, and signals a major retention issue for employers:

Employers do seem to be making progress when it comes to prioritising mental health and well-being in the workplace. More than half agree that workplace well-being and mental health has become more of a focus for their employers since the start of the pandemic.

However, there are mixed reviews on whether the increased focus is actually having a positive impact.

Sydelle Fernandes
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