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Millennials don’t have faith in business

Australian millennials are not happy – sceptical about business ethics, fearful of automation and depressed about high unemployment rates. How can employers gratify this generation?

Millennials will make up the majority of our workforce in the not-distant future, so it’s important to know how they’re feeling. And the answer is, they’re p***** off. The 2018 Deloitte Millennial survey results is is based on research conducted across 36 countries, with 10,455 Millennials (those born between January 1983 and December 1994) being surveyed.

One of the main issues to arise is that this generation has little confidence in business. Their faith in business’s motivations and ethics has plunged to its lowest point in the last few years, and is almost half of what it was last year. Less than half (45 per cent) think that business has a positive impact on society, or that businesses behave in an ethical way. And the majority (83 per cent) believe that businesses are only interested in their own agenda.

Deloitte CEO David Hill expressed his shock at this decline in confidence, but had some ideas about how businesses can respond.

“To restore millennials’ trust in business and, by extension, business leaders, companies need to orientate their business toward profit with purpose; and be proactive about making a positive impact in society. This is key to attracting and retaining millennials.”

Some areas they wish their employers would focus on include job creation, innovation, improving the lives and careers of staff, and a positive impact on the environment.

Gloom and doom?

The survey results also revealed that Australian millennials in particular, are some of the gloomiest around, with only a third believing that they will be better off or happier than their parents’ generation.

The top three concerns are terrorism, climate change and income inequality. It could also have to do with the higher than average youth unemployment rate (12.5 per cent compared with a overall unemployment average of 5.6 per cent).

Hill says that it’s up to employers to accommodate for millennials. “There is a pressing need for us as a nation to prioritise opportunities for our young; they are our future and as digital natives, they hold the keys to our future competitiveness on the global stage,” he says.

Another dominant fear is the impact technology will have on the workforce and employment prospects. Around half (45 per cent) believe that ‘Industry 4.0’, characterised by a digital revolution comprised of digital technology, artificial intelligence and robotics, will affect their jobs. To combat this fear, Australian millennials want their employers, rather than the government, to prepare and educate them, something they don’t feel they are receiving to date.

“Young professionals are looking for learning that’s far broader than technical knowledge,” says Hill. “They are especially seeking the ‘soft’ skills they believe will be important as jobs evolve, such as interpersonal skills, critical thinking, judgment, innovation and creativity. Unsurprisingly, these are all skills less likely to be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence.”

A matter of culture

Some good news: you don’t necessarily have to pay millennials more to turn their frowns into smiles. When in the market for a new employer, Australian millennials are more interested in a good company culture (67 per cent)  than the size of the pay packet (63 per cent). Flexibility is also high on their wishlist. Given the turnover rate, it is in employers best interests to pay attention to these needs.

Hill says that when a company has both a diverse workforce and senior management team, millennials are more likely to stick around for five or more years.

“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.”

Hear global thinkers and leaders on how HR can prepare for the future of work at the AHRI National Convention and Exhibition in Melbourne from 28-30 August. Register before31 May and save.

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