What Gen Y Wants From Business and the Future Workplace

Big demands and high expectations summarize the results of this year’s Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s (DTTL) third annual Millennial Survey released from Davos, Switzerland.

Across the globe, 70% of tomorrow’s future leaders might ‘reject’ what business as traditionally organized has to offer, preferring to work independently through digital means in the future. This and other findings in Deloitte’s annual study of Generation Y point to significant challenges facing business leaders if they are to meet the expectations of the Millennial generation.

Future leaders

Millennials, who are already emerging as leaders in technology and other industries and will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025, want to work for organizations that foster innovative thinking, develop their skills, and wish to see them make a positive contribution to society.

The study also reveals that Millennials believe businesses are not currently doing as much as they could to develop leadership skills and that they need to nurture their future leaders, especially as they cannot count on them biding their time until senior positions arise.

“To attract and retain talent, business needs to show Millennials it is innovative and in tune with their world view,” says Barry Salzberg, CEO, DTTL. “Our society – globally – faces many critical issues and it has become clear no sector should ‘go it alone.’"

"By working together and combining their different skills, business, governments and non-government organisations (NGOs) have an opportunity to reignite the Millennial generation and make real progress in solving society’s problems.”

Pull of ethics

While most Millennials (74%) believe business is having a positive impact on society by generating jobs (48%) and increasing prosperity (71%), they think business can do much more to address society’s challenges in the areas of most concern: resource scarcity (68%), climate change (65%) and income equality (64%).

Additionally, 50% of Millennials surveyed want to work for a business with ethical practices.

Millennials say government has the greatest potential to address society’s biggest issues but are overwhelmingly failing to do so. Almost half feel governments are having a negative impact on areas identified as among the top challenges: unemployment (47%), resource scarcity (43%), and income inequality (56%).

And innovation

Millennials want to work for organizations that support innovation. In fact, 78% of Millennials are influenced by how innovative a company is when deciding if they want to work there, but most say their current employer does not greatly encourage them to think creatively.

They believe the biggest barriers to innovation are management attitude (63%), operational structures and procedures (61%), and employee skills, attitudes, and (lack of) diversity (39%).

Over one in four Millennials are ‘asking for a chance’ to show their leadership skills.

Additionally, 75% believe their organizations could do more to develop future leaders. The study also revealed that Millennials believe the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance, with a focus on improving society among the most important things it should seek to achieve.

Millennials are also charitable and keen to participate in ‘public life’: 63% of Millennials donate to charities, 43% actively volunteer or are a member of a community organization, and 52% have signed petitions.

“It is clear that Millennials want to innovate and businesses should be listening,” notes 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.”

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