What Moves GenZs and Millennials

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – Sustainability issues, such as climate change, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), are of major concern to young people, according to the latest edition of Deloitte’s annual global Gen Z and Millennial Survey, the twelfth in a row. Based on the responses of 14,483 Gen Zs and 8,373 millennials across 44 countries, the report’s conclusions are not to be taken lightly by employers aspiring to attract and retain the loyalty of these important cohorts.

    Looking at the overall picture the survey conveys, there are plenty of positive developments. It would appear that the recent ‘Great Resignation’-movement has temporarily shifted more power to employees, enabling them to demand changes they have sought for many years, including higher pay, and greater action and accountability in areas such as DEI and climate change. “Notably, we found that Gen Zs and millennials are now more likely to be satisfied with their work/life balance,” writes Deloitte, adding that young people believe their employers have made progress in driving greater DEI and are slightly more likely to acknowledge that businesses are taking action to address climate change.

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    Environmentally conscious

    That said, 60% of Gen Zs and 57% of millennials say they have felt anxious about the environment in the past month. Roughly the same percentage, six in ten, cite extreme weather events and wildfires as stress drivers. Moreover, these concerns have a significant effect on their lifestyle choices. “The majority are taking action, with 69% of Gen Zs and 73% of millennials actively trying to minimise their impact on the environment,” reads the report.

    Although financial concerns tend to make it challenging for young people to prioritise environmental sustainability, they seem willing to go the extra mile as consumers. Around 30 per cent say they consider a company’s sustainability claims and certifications to ensure their marketing claims match their actions before buying goods or services from them, and another one-third of respondents reveal they plan to do so in the future.

    As employees, Gen Zs and millennials continue to demand more climate action from the companies they work for. They also expect their employers to support and empower them to make more sustainable decisions and provide the necessary skills training to prepare them for the transition to a low-carbon economy.

    Somewhat alarmingly, many young respondents believe that corporates have deprioritised sustainability strategies in recent years. “This contrasts with business leaders’ perceptions,” the report’s authors state. “According to Deloitte’s 2023 CxO Sustainability Report, 75% of business leaders said their organisations have increased their sustainability investments over the past year.”

    Anxious and sensitive

    While over half of respondents acknowledge that their employers are taking mental health more seriously and that their efforts to improve it are having a positive impact, nearly half of Gen Zs and four in 10 millennials reveal that they feel stressed or anxious at work all or most of the time.

    They seem to have mixed feelings about social media’s impact on their mental health. More than 40 per cent claim that they experience the pressure to have an online presence as negative. Half of the respondents, however, deem the effect of social media to be positive.

    The young generations are sensitive to occurrences of harassment and microaggressions in the workplace. 61% of Gen Zs and 49% of millennials claim they have experienced it in the past twelve months. They cite inappropriate emails, physical advances, and physical contact as the most common types of harassment. According to them, exclusion, gender-based undermining and unwanted jokes are the most common types of microaggressions.

    How to keep them

    It is worth noting that around four in ten of the young people surveyed report that they have already changed or plan to change jobs or industry due to climate concerns, and more than 80 per cent say that mental health support and policies are essential when considering an employer.

    “It is crucial for employers to understand these generations and continue driving progress on the issues that matter most to them. This will not only help boost productivity and retain talent—it will ultimately build trust and value for business in society more broadly,” concludes the Deloitte report.

    Image courtesy of Matan Ray Vizel from Pixabay
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