Business leaders’ priorities must align with broader societal impact to attract this generation of talent

Key findings:

  • 48% of millennials expect the overall economic situation in Ireland to improve over the next 12 months – a decrease from 56% in 2017
  • Only 29% expect the overall social and political situation in Ireland to improve over the next 12 months
  • Less than one third (31%) think they will be happier than their parents
  • 82% think businesses focus on their own agendas rather than considering society in general
  • 64% believe that businesses have no ambition beyond wanting to make money
  • 74% say that political leaders are having a negative impact, while 56% say religious leaders are having a negative impact

6 September 2018: There has been a negative shift in Irish millennials’ feelings about business’ motivations and ethics, and they are also disappointed that business leaders’ priorities don’t seem to align with making a broader societal impact, according to the findings of the Deloitte Millennial Survey.

Deloitte surveyed millennials’ outlook on Irish society, their opinion of Irish business, loyalty to their current employers and the gig economy, and attitudes towards Industry 4.0.

Speaking about the report Valarie Daunt, Partner, Deloitte said: “Millennials are looking to Irish business leaders to take the lead in solving the issues of most importance to them, to shift organisations’ motives from focusing on making profit to balancing social concerns, and to be more diverse, flexible, and generous with their employees. Those organisations that are able to deliver will likely attract and retain the best millennial talent and potentially strengthen their prospects for long-term success.

“Our results indicate that younger workers are increasingly uneasy about the future, pessimistic about the prospects for economic, political and social progress, and have growing concerns about safety, social equality, and environmental sustainability. Millennials are looking to business leaders to drive societal and economic change, presenting an opportunity for organisations to attract, retain and engage this generation.”

Economic, political and social outlook: 48% of millennials expect the overall economic situation in Ireland to improve over the next 12 months, a decrease from last year’s result of 56%. Meanwhile, only 29% are optimistic that the overall social and political landscape in Ireland will improve by the same time next year. 40% believe that they will be financially better off than their parents, while less than one third – only 31% – agree that they will be happier than their parents.

Are millennials losing faith in business? Less than one third of millennials (31%) agree that business leaders are committed to helping improve society, while two thirds (64%) believe that businesses have no ambition beyond just wanting to make money. Half of the survey’s respondents (48%) agreed that businesses should contribute to generating jobs, but under a quarter (24%) believed that their own organisations prioritised this; meanwhile just 12% feel that their organisation prioritises improving and protecting the environment.

Irish millennials agree that the leaders of NGOs and not-for-profit organisations are having the largest positive impact upon society (52%), followed by business leaders (42%), religious faith leaders (30%), and political leaders (15%).

Technology and the workplace:  When it comes to the attractiveness of a potential employer, financial rewards and benefits are the top priority for three quarters of millennials in Ireland (74%). This is followed by flexibility (64%), a positive organisational structure (57%), opportunities for continuous learning (45%) and well-being programmes and incentives (24%).

Diversity: 67% of Irish millennials feel that they work in a diverse organisation – higher than both the global average (64%) and the Western European average (59%). However, this hasn’t quite reached the top as less than half (44%) see their senior management teams as diverse. Those who plan to stay in their organisation for five years and more require diversity in their workplace (86%) and increased flexibility (59%).

Flexibility:  Meanwhile the need for flexibility is clearly evident as 40% of millennials in Ireland are joining or considering the gig economy instead of a full-time job, and 68% are undertaking or considering freelance work to supplement a full- or part-time job.

4.0… the future of work: Millennials are prepared to embrace technology, with 40% seeing developments in the field as augmenting their jobs. However only 22% believe that they have the skills required for Industry 4.0. Millennials believe that their organisations are responsible for equipping them with these skills (35%), followed by government (21%) and then the education system (13%).

What can organisations do?

If Irish organisations are looking to win in the war for millennial talent, they should consider the following:

  • Have you articulated a compelling organisational strategy and vision that speaks to a greater purpose?
  • Are leaders aligned on organisational priorities and clear on expectations, organisational values and leadership behaviours?
  • What is your employee value proposition?
  • Do your culture, ways of working and policies support flexibility and diversity?
  • How is your organisation responding to the future of work?
  • Do you offer alternative career paths and support continuous development?

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