Latest generation Y survey reflects characteristically idealistic thinking of youth

Maybe it’s the cynicism of middle age, but the most recent exploration of arguably, the most over-analysed cohort of workers in history – Generation Y – seems to reflect the archetypal idealistic thinking of youth. For example, while most Millennials (74%) believe business is having a positive impact on society by generating jobs (48%) and increasing prosperity (71%), they think it can do much more to address society’s challenges in the areas of most concern: resource scarcity (68%), climate change (65%) and income equality (64%). And quelle surprise, 50 per cent of Millennials surveyed wanted to work for a business with ethical practices. You have to wonder wouldn’t an examination of the hopes and aspirations of the last couple of generations of younger workers reveal similar ideologies, albeit without the benefit of their digital sophistication?

The Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s (DTTL) third annual Millennial Survey show that across the globe, Millennials, who are already emerging as leaders in technology and other industries and will comprise 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025, want to work for organisations that foster innovative thinking, develop their skills, and wish to see them make a positive contribution to society.

Another, pretty unremarkable finding, given the fact we’re dealing with the first generation of digital natives, is the fact that Millennials want to work for organisations that support innovation, with 78 per cent influenced by how innovative a company is when deciding if they want to work there. What is of concern is that most believe their current employer does not greatly encourage them to think creatively, believing the biggest barriers to innovation are management attitude (63%), operational structures and procedures (61%), and employee skills, attitudes, and (lack of) diversity (39%).

“To attract and retain talent business needs to show Millennials it is innovative and in tune with their world view,” said Barry Salzberg, CEO, DTTL. “Our society – globally – faces many critical issues and it has become clear no sector should ‘go it alone.’ By working together and combining their different skills, business, governments and non-government organisations (NGOs) have an opportunity to reignite the Millennial generation and make real progress in solving society’s problems.”

Another, fairly predictable finding, given younger generations more typical attitude to politics is that Government is not doing enough. Millennials say government has the greatest potential to address society’s biggest issues but are overwhelmingly failing to do so. Almost half feel governments are having a negative impact on areas identified as among the top challenges: unemployment (47%), resource scarcity (43%), and income inequality (56%).

It is clear that Millennials want to innovate and businesses should be listening,” said Salzberg. “Fostering a culture of innovation will not only help retain high-performing talent but it will also drive growth by creating opportunities for individuals to unlock the next game-changing innovations.”