Irish millennials now face a number of new stressors correlating to COVID-19, yet still hold strong values and beliefs on matters such as social justice and climate change despite global turmoil, according to the 2020 Deloitte Millennial Survey. For leaders and society, this means we must now look to opportunities to adapt and grow further for the better as we have seen the desire for change will not go away.
“Younger generations have demonstrated resilience and agility in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Valarie Daunt, head of Human Capital at Deloitte Ireland. “However, organisations must be aware of the impact this will have had on their behaviours, priorities and demands, potentially for years to come."
The survey was issued in late 2019 to a global cohort, encompassing 18.4k millennials and Gen Zs across 43countries, including 326 millennial respondents from Ireland.
Seeking to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their mindset, a supplementary “pulse” survey was issued to 9,100 millennials and Gen Zs across 13 countries (excluding Ireland) in May of this year. This second survey included many of the same questions from this first study, to allow us to gauge the effect of the pandemic on millennials.
Supplementary data of relevance to Ireland from ‘Deloitte’s State of the Consumer Tracker' has also been included.
Financial prudence becomes integral
This year’s survey reveals that having enough money to pay the bills is especially concerning for millennials and Gen Zs. Prior to the pandemic, 37% of millennials were concerned about their longer term financial future and 31% were anxious about their day to day finances. Even more significantly, 72% of millennials noted they were worried or got stressed about their general financial situations.
Whilst the pandemic is a significant financial stressor for many millennials, it may also provide an opportunity to address some of these financial concerns. With Irish millennial’s proportion of spending increasing from 9% in May to 25% in June, organisations will be invested in whether or not this trend will continue to increase towards a longer-term saving amount for these generations.
Coupled with the trend of increased anxiety over financial wellbeing, job security remains a primary concern and a significant contributor of stress for millennials. However, these concerns, added to large amounts of savings and limited spending opportunities, have created a situation in which millennials have significant spending power, but do not have the confidence to act on it.
If confidence is returned, this cohort will be a very valuable one, and planning how to engage millennials will be the key to navigating these changes. Insights from the report suggest that brand perception will be key in doing so, with millennial’s perception of how organisations respond to these challenges such as climate change, social justice and COVID-19 shown to impact their spending patterns and career choices.
Stress and mental wellbeing
Prior to the pandemic, 52% of Gen Zs and 50% of millennials said they were stressed all or most of the time. Respondents cited family welfare, long-term finances, and job prospects as primary sources of stress.
Interestingly, the results of the global pulse survey indicate that amongst millennials, anxiety levels have declined throughout this period with an 8% decrease in stress reported when compared to pre COVID-19 results.
Although stress and mental wellness remain critical issues for millennials, it is clear that the pandemic is reshaping the root causes of anxiety, with the slowdown of life in lockdown accountable for reduced stress levels overall.