“Alarming” reversal: Millennials’ confidence in business plummets

Millennials’ opinion of business motivation and ethics has hit its lowest level in four years, according to recent Deloitte research.

The 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, surveying over 10,000 millennials across 36 countries, including 337 in Australia, shows that perceptions of business are declining, with the percentage of Australian millennials who say business has a positive impact on society having dropped from 72% in 2017 to 45% this year.

Just 44% believe that businesses behave ethically, with 83% believing business focuses on its own agenda, rather than considering wider society (up from 69% last year).

“It’s alarming to see this reversal of confidence in business,” David Hill, Deloitte Australia chief operating officer, commented. “This significant group of our workforce feels business is placing too high a premium on its own agenda without considering its contribution to society at large.”

While millennials believe businesses should focus on job creation, innovation, and enhancing employees’ lives and careers, along with making a positive impact on society and the environment, when asked what the organisations they work for focus on, they cited the three areas they felt should have least focus – generating profit, driving efficiencies and producing or selling goods and services.

Overall levels of pessimism have improved year-on-year, but Aussie millennials are still more gloomy than their global counterparts, with 39% believing they will be better off than their parents (compared to 51% globally) and 35% believing they will be happier (43% globally).

Aussie millennials point to culture being more important than money when it comes to choosing a new employer, with 67% rating a positive work environment as the most important consideration (52% globally), followed by financial rewards/benefits (63% both in Australia and globally) and flexibility (55% in Australia and 50% globally).

Just 44% of millennials expect to stay with their employer for less than two years, and only 22% say they plan to stay beyond five years.

“Those working for employers perceived to have diverse workforces and senior management teams are more likely to want to stay five or more years,” Hill said. “And among millennial and Gen Z respondents who said they intend to stay with their current employers for at least five years, 59% note greater flexibility in where and when they work.

“The fluctuating loyalty levels highlight a unique opportunity for Australian employers to double down on attracting and retaining talent. We need to listen to what our employees are telling us and reimagine how we approach talent management, guided by a renewed focus on learning and development to help our millennial and Gen Z employees grow for years to come.”

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