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What are Gen Z and Millennial employees most concerned about today?

What are Gen Z and Millennial employees most concerned about today?

Despite the positive outlook towards the economy, financial insecurity continues to plague some Gen Zs' and Millennials' minds.

Deloitte's recent 2024 Gen Z and Millennial Survey has marked the most optimism respondents have shown about the economy since its 2020 study — under a third of Gen Zs (32%) and Millennials (31%) surveyed anticipate an improvement in their countries' economic conditions within the next year, a rise from the previous year's figures.

This optimism also extends to their personal financial situations—nearly half of Gen Zs (48%) and four in 10 millennials (40%) expect their personal financial situations to improve over the next year.

Despite the positive outlook, financial insecurity continues to plague some Gen Zs and millennials. Around three in 10 (30% of Gen Zs and 32% of millennials) say they do not feel financially secure. At the same time, roughly six in 10 (56% of Gen Zs and 55% of millennials) live paycheck-to-paycheck. Unanimously, cost-of-living remains their top concern for both generations by a wide margin compared to their other concerns, which include climate change, unemployment, mental health, and crime/personal safety.

Top concerns amongst the generations surveyed:

Generation Z Millennial
Cost-of-living - 34% Cost-of-living - 40%
Unemployment - 21% Climate change - 23%
Climate change - 20% Crime/personal safety - 19% 
Mental health of my generation - 19% Health care/disease prevention - 19%
 Crime/personal safety - 17% Unemployment - 18%

Compared to the economic outlook, there is slightly more uncertainty about the social and political situation. That being said, roughly a quarter of Gen Zs (28%) and Millennials (26%) believe that the social and political situations in their countries will improve over the next year, a one-point increase for both generations since last year. With this, only about four in 10 respondents (42% of Gen Zs and 40% of Millennials) feel they have influence on the overall direction of their countries.

Both generations are more likely to feel they have the agency to drive change on major societal challenges such as protecting the environment, raising awareness for mental health, increasing access to education, and addressing social inequality. Roughly six in 10 Gen Zs (61%) and Millennials (58%) also tend to feel more empowered to drive change within their organisations.

While Gen Zs' and Millennials' reputation for valuing purpose-driven work has long been evident, this study continues to support that idea. An overwhelming majority of respondents have expressed their desire for purpose-driven work, and they’re not afraid to turn down work that doesn’t align with their values. Roughly nine in 10 Gen Zs (86%) and Millennials (89%) say having a sense of purpose in their work is very or somewhat important to their overall job satisfaction and wellbeing. Taking this even further, half of the Gen Z (50%) and four in 10 Millennial (43%) respondents have rejected an assignment or project based on their personal ethics or beliefs.

In line with the above, nearly as many (44% of Gen Zs and 40% of Millennials) have also turned down an employer. Reasons for rejecting an employer or an assignment are manifold — for example, last year’s survey identified common factors, such as having a negative environmental impact, or contributing to inequality through non-inclusive practices, and more personal factors such as a lack of support for employees’ mental wellbeing and work/life balance.

On the employer's end, respondents feel largely positive about their employers’ societal impact, with nearly seven in 10 (67% of Gen Zs and 69% of Millennials) satisfied with their organisation’s social impact.

This further aligns with employees' sentiments: three-quarters of Gen Zs and Millennials (75%) say that an organisation’s community engagement and societal impact is an important factor when considering a potential employer.

That being said, Gen Zs and Millennials are still less positive when it comes to the societal impact of the business community overall. Less than half of Gen Zs (49%) and Millennials (47%) believe business is having a positive impact on society, which reveals a gap between what Gen Zs and Millennials feel business is capable of and what it is delivering.

Other key finding in the survey:

Perceptions of GenAI increasingly positive with more hands-on experience, but more workplace concerns

While Gen Zs and Millennials are generally uncertain about GenAI and its potential impact on their careers, respondents who frequently use GenAI at work are more likely to say they feel excited about it, and trust in the technology. At the same time, frequent users are also more inclined to believe GenAI will free up their time, improve the way they work, and improve their work/ life balance.

Interestingly, in tandem, the more a respondent uses GenAI the more likely they are to also have concerns. This includes believing that GenAI-driven automation will eliminate jobs or make it harder for younger generations to enter the workforce.

In response to such concerns, both generations are thinking about how to adapt, focusing on reskilling, or looking for job opportunities that are less vulnerable to automation. While many don’t believe their employers are adequately preparing them yet for the changes that GenAI will bring, more than a third of Gen Zs (38%) and millennials (36%) plan to participate in GenAI trainings within the next 12 months.

Environmental sustainability drives career decisions and consumer behaviors

Environmental sustainability remains a top concern for Gen Zs and millennials — 62% of Gen Zs and 59% of millennials reporting feeling anxious or worried about climate change in the past month.

Lead image / 2024 Gen Z and Millennial Survey

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