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Millennial demands drives massive change in business

21 Aug 2015

In order to attract and retain the future workforce, it is imperative the businesses of today focus not just on products and profits, but people and purpose, according to the latest Deloitte Global Millennial Survey.

“The message is clear: when looking at their career goals, today’s millennials are just as interested in how a business develops its people and how it contributes to society as they are in its products and profits,” says Barry Salzberg, Deloitte Global CEO.

“These findings should be viewed as a wake-up call to the business community, particularly in developed markets, that they need to change the way they engage Millennial talent or risk being left behind,” he says.

According to the survey, the majority of millennials (75%) believe businesses are focused on their own agenda rather than helping to improve society.

Furthermore, only 28% of millennials feel their current organisation is making full use of their skills, and more than half (53%) aspire to become the leader or most senior executive within their current organisation.

Of those surveyed, 65% of emerging-market based millennials said they would like to achieve this goal, compared to only 38% in developed markets. This figure was also higher among men.

Additionally, the survey found large global businesses have less appeal for millennials in developed markets (35%) compared to emerging markets (51%).

Developed-market based millennials are also less inclined (11%) than millennials in emerging markets (22%) to start their own business.

Other notable findings from the survey include:

Millennials want to work for organisations with purpose.

For six in 10 millennials, a ‘sense of purpose’, is part of the reason they chose to work for their current employers.

Among millennials who are relatively high users of social networking tools (the ‘super-connected millennials’), there appears to be even greater focus on business purpose.

Of this group, 77% report their company’s purpose was part of the reason they chose to work there, compared to just 46% of those who are the ‘least connected’.

Technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) most attractive employers.

TMT ranked most desirable sector and the one to provide the most valuable skills according to millennials.

Men (24%) were nearly twice as likely as women (13%) to rank TMT as the number one sector to work in.

Among broader sectors, leadership is perceived to be strongest in the TMT sector (33%).

This percentage was three times higher than second ranked food and beverages (10%), and four times that for third-ranked banking/financial services (8%).

In addition, when asked about the businesses that most resonated with millennials as leaders, Google and Apple top the list of businesses, each selected by 11% of respondents.

Confidence gap? Millennial men more likely to pursue leadership.

Millennial men were somewhat more likely to say they would like to secure the ‘top job’ within their organisation than women (59% vs. 47%).

Women were also less likely to rank their leadership skills at graduation as strong; 27% of men vs. 21% of women rated this skill as strong.

However, when asked what they would emphasise as leaders women were more likely to say employee growth and development (34% compared to 30%), an area that many millennials felt was lacking within their current organisations.

Organisations and colleges must do more to nurture emerging leaders.

While overall millennials did not feel their organisations make full use of their skills (only 28% say their organisation makes full use of their skills), this figure falls significantly among millennials in developed markets to just 23%.

When asked to estimate the contributions that skills gained in higher education made to achievement of their organisation’s goals, millennials’ average figure is 37%.

The changing characteristics of leadership.

Today’s millennials place less value on visible (19%), well-networked (17%), and technically-skilled (17%) leaders. Instead, they define true leaders as strategic thinkers (39%), inspirational (37%), personable (34%) and visionary (31%).

“Millennials want more from business than might have been the case 50, 20, or even 10 years ago,” says Salzberg.

“They are sending a very strong signal to the world’s leaders that when doing business, they should do so with purpose. The pursuit of this different and better way of operating in the 21st century begins by redefining leadership," he says.

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