As the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on global economies, Millennials and Gen Z have re-evaluated their views on issues including job security and Industry 4.0, their mental health, and their outlook on the economy and social/political situations in their countries.

According to a supplemental Millennial survey conducted by Deloitte in early 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was unfolding, fewer Malaysian Millennials are now expecting to leave their current employers within two years (from 38% in 2019, to 23% in 2020). This is significantly less than the global average of 31%.

However, the pandemic had no effect on the number willing to stay for the long-term. In both 2019 and 2020, 34% of respondents said they expected to stay with their employers beyond five years, similar to the global average of 35%.

The survey also revealed that 60% of Malaysian Millennials felt fairly secure in their current jobs, while 13% felt very secure in their jobs despite the economic impact of COVID-19.

It further revealed that the bulk of Malaysian Millennials expected Industry 4.0 (IR 4.0) to augment their current job, allowing them to focus on value-added work (53%). Only 20% expected IR 4.0 to replace all or part of their job responsibilities, while 16% felt it won’t have an impact on their jobs at all. The remaining 10% were still unsure of the impact of IR 4.0.

Thankfully, the majority of Malaysian Millennials are confident that they have at least some of the skills and knowledge required as IR 4.0 shapes the working environment - 60% reported that they “have some, but not all” the skills and knowledge needed, while 24% felt they have all the required knowledge. Whereas only 12% felt they “have few if any skills” and 4% don’t know if they have the skills needed.

On the topic of mental health, the survey found that 39% of Malaysian Millennials have taken time off work in the past 12 months due to anxiety or stress. However, of those who have taken time off work, only 44% told their employers that their absence was due to anxiety or stress (47% men, 39% women).

This, along with the fact that only 49% of Malaysian Millennials felt that stress is a legitimate reason to take time off work, suggests that more open conversations about mental health are needed.

Malaysian Millennials’ top stressors were around their longer-term financial future (57%), the welfare of their family (54%), their job/career prospects (50%), their day-to-day finances (49%), and their physical/medical health (38%).

The survey also revealed that in 2020, 46% of Malaysian Millennials (43% men, 50% women) felt anxious or stressed all or most of the time. More Malaysian Millennials felt they would be less happy as compared to their parents’ generation (44% felt they would be less happy, while 29% felt they would be more happy).

When it comes to their view of business after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, fewer Malaysian Millennials felt business, in general, had a very/fairly positive impact on the wider society in which they operate (79% in 2019, compared to 56% in 2020).

Other key findings from Deloitte’s survey include:

  • Compared to 2019, fewer Malaysian Millennials felt the economic and social/political situations in their countries will improve over the next 12 months (40% in 2019, 26% in 2020).
  • “A positive or negative impact of products/services on the environment” was the number one reason Malaysian Millennials have started (47%) and stopped (42%) a relationship with a business.
  • Leaders of NGOs and not-for-profit organisations, traditional media/journalists, and business leaders are the most well regarded by Malaysian Millennials. More than 50% said that those groups of people and organisations are having a positive impact on the world, and more than 40% viewed them as a trusted source of reliable/accurate information.
  • The bulk of Malaysian Millennials ‘strongly agree’ or ‘tend to agree’ that the world is becoming more divided/polarised economically (86%), politically (90%), and socially (86%).
  • More Malaysian Millennials felt people in society are becoming more civil (57%) than less civil (34%) to one another.
  • More Malaysian Millennials felt people in society are becoming more civil (57%) than less civil (34%) to one another.
  • 90% of Malaysian Millennials felt that climate change is occurring and is primarily caused by human activity.
  • About half (53%) felt “we have already hit the point of no return and it is too late to repair the damage” caused to the environment.
  • Malaysian Millennials are most concerned about crime/personal safety (33%), political instability/wars/conflicts between countries (27%), and climate change/protecting the environment (21%).
  • 38% of Malaysian Millennials agreed that their financial situations over the next 12 months will improve.
  • 73% of Malaysian Millennials revealed that they often worry or get stressed about their general financial situations.
  • 31% of Malaysian Millennials felt they couldn’t cope financially if they unexpectedly received a large bill or had to fund a major expense.
  • 33% of Malaysian Millennials have missed paying or haven’t been able to pay a bill/fixed payment in the last six months.

Photo / iStock