Deloitte recently released its 12th annual Gen Z and Millennial Survey, exploring how the disruptive events of the last three years have shaped these demographics’ lives and views. Gen Z respondents, as defined in the survey, are born between January 1995 and December 2004 and millennials are born between January 1983 and December 1994. With data from more than 22,000 Gen Z and millennial respondents across 44 countries, this study provides highly relevant data on how these generations think and how employers can shape their own operations to be aligned with employees’ mindsets.
Chief among the findings, respondents provided valuable data on how employers approach Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. For example, approximately 60% of Gen Zs and millennials responding to the survey say they are anxious about the environment and more than 50% say they research a brand’s environmental impact and policies before accepting a job. This blog will explore how employers can reduce workplace risk by addressing these and other issues.
ESG Concerns Are a Major Employer Risk
Overall, survey respondents had a relatively negative view of the future. Most think the economy will worsen over the next year and the high cost-of-living is a primary concern. Many millennials and Gen Zs are delaying major life decisions, such as buying a house and starting a family and adopting money-saving measures, like not driving a car and wearing second-hand clothes. Finally, about half of survey respondents say they live paycheck-to-paycheck and many take second jobs to make ends meet.
They are also concerned about climate change. As mentioned earlier, six in 10 Gen Zs and millennials say they have felt anxious about the environment in the past month and roughly the same number cites extreme weather events and wildfires as a stress driver. For employers, the most notable findings are employee expectations around the role they play regarding climate change and ESG in general. More than half of respondents say they research a brand’s environmental impact and policies before accepting a job and one in six say they have already changed jobs or sectors due to climate concerns, with approximately one-quarter of respondents saying they plan to make a move in the future.
The ability to drive results on climate change and social issues has the potential to make or break the recruitment and retention of these generations. Nearly four in 10 respondents say they have rejected work assignments due to ethical concerns, while more than one-third have turned down employers that do not align with their values. About half of respondents say they are pressuring their employers about climate change, but only about one in five strongly agree that their employers are working to address climate change.
The top actions respondents would like to see their employers take relative to climate change are:
Work/Life Balance Rises to the Fore
By now it’s almost cliché to say, but the COVID-19 pandemic transformed the workplace, causing many offices to become hybrid settings, where people work in the traditional office sometimes and out of the office (usually at home) the rest of the time. While this model was originally necessary to keep people apart in the face of a pandemic, it also helped change how people thought about the office, commuting and work/life balance. Thus, it’s not surprising that millennials and Gen Zs - a group that already valued work/life balance - deeply value hybrid work.
One of the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the rise in hybrid offices and a general improvement around how millennials and Gen Zs view their work and life equilibrium. Approximately one-third of respondents say they are very satisfied with their current work/life balance. This is up substantially from the 20% indicating they were satisfied in the 2019 survey, which occurred just before the pandemic started.
The work/life improvements brought about by hybrid offices have, however, brought some work/life issues to the fore, as many continue struggling to achieve a positive work/life balance. Approximately one-third of respondents say their employers can foster better work/life balance by moving to condensed four-day workweeks, rather than the traditional five. About one-third also say that part-time workers should be given the same career advancement opportunities as full-time employees and three-quarters of respondents say they are interested in more flexible working or reducing their work hours.
Interest in the availability of more part-time jobs with comparable career advancement opportunities to full-time jobs is something that gained considerably since last year, reinforcing that Gen Zs and millennials are rethinking the way they work in search of better balance.
The 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey is an important “temperature check” for employers to take of their up-and-coming (or in some cases, already senior) workers. If employers are to manage workplace risk effectively, the results of this survey should serve as a valuable guide to meeting or exceeding Gen Z and millennial worker expectations, resulting in a more stable, sustainable and future-ready workforce.