What Millennials want

If you thought the younger generation were a bunch of tech-savvy hippies out to change the world then you wouldn’t be far from the truth. So what does this generation want and how can companies accommodate them?

As hard as many a wise Gen X or Baby Boomer has tried, Millennials cannot be persuaded easily. According to the findings from our 2015 Millennial survey, Millennials know what they want, how they want to contribute and what they expect from their managers - and it isn’t what older generations are subscribing to.

According to Barry Salzberg, CEO of Deloitte Global, Millennials are “just as interested in how a business develops its people and contributes to society as they are in its products and profits”.

It’s no surprise then that six in ten Millennials reported that a ‘sense of purpose’ was part of the reason they chose to work for their current employers.

A confidence gap?

Ambition, confidence and the drive to achieve their biggest goals are a common theme for this generation with many baby boomer parents suddenly reeling at what all their positive praise and encouragement has produced.

According to the survey, Millennial men had no problem with expressing that they would like to secure the ‘top job’ within their organisation  - women on the other hand weren’t quite so forthcoming – 59% verses 47%.

Is this a simple gender difference or do we still have some way to go when it comes to what females think is their place in large organisations?

Women were also less likely to rank their leadership skills at graduation as strong – 27% of men verses 21% of women.

It’s also interesting to discover how Millennials think of leadership in the first place.

According to the survey, today’s Millennials place less value on visible (19 percent), well networked (17 percent) and technically skilled leaders (17 percent).

Instead they define true leaders as strategic thinkers (39 percent), inspirational (37 percent), personable (34 percent) and visionary (31 percent).

“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 world 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.”

Your perceived potential?

Millennials felt their current organisation was not making full use of their skills - only 28% said they did. What was interesting about this was it depended on the country and if it was deemed a ‘developed’ market verses an ‘emerging’ market.

Millennials in emerging markets did not agree with the above statement in the same way with Japan reporting 9 percent, Turkey sitting on 15 percent, South Korea at 15 percent and Chillie at 19 percent.

Which leads to the question - what are we teaching about potential in our various cultures? Are Millennials in more affluent countries more likely to have an inflated opinion about just how significant their potential is or are they just more confident in asserting the fact that their skills aren’t being maximized?

What do the companies think?

It’s all very well and good to know what Millennials, want, need and value in a company but what about those hiring them?

The survey found that large global business have less appeal for Millennials in developed markets (35 percent) compared to emerging markets (51 percent).

According to Salzberg though, these companies need to take a serious look at their stance.

“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.”

So with that in mind, how will you approach the next Millennial that seeks a job with you?  

Read the full 2015 Deloitte Millennial Survey here


Emily is a Senior Advisor in the Deloitte marketing team who knows that behind every great business lies a great story. She loves talking to inspiring people who are thinking outside the box to create a thriving SME sector in New Zealand.