Australian ‘millennials’ – people born after 1982 – are significantly more pessimistic about their financial and emotional wellbeing than their global counterparts, and are more likely to leave their jobs after two years than ever before, according to the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey.
Eight thousand millennials were surveyed across 30 countries, including 300 in Australia. In mature markets (like Europe and the US) 36% predicted they will be financially better off than their parents; 31% said they would be happier. In emerging markets (like Asia) there is greater optimism, with 71% believing they will be financially better off and 62% believing they will be happier.
But in Australia, just 8% of millennials believe they will better off than their parents and only 4% believe they will be happier. Only 28% expect the overall economic situation in Australia to improve in the next 12 months (compared to a global average of 45%).
“For millennials, it seems Australia no longer looks like the lucky country,” said David Hill, Deloitte Australia’s Chief Operating Officer. “I suspect booming house prices in the major cities of Sydney and Melbourne are partly to blame for this pessimism, with many young Australians believing the dream of owning their own home is increasingly out of reach.”
The data suggests it will be tough for politicians to connect with Australian millennials, with many disillusioned about the political future. Only 22% expect the overall social/political situation to improve in the next 12 months, compared to 36% globally. To get their attention (and possibly their vote), Australian millennials want politicians to use plain, straight-talking language (66% of Australian respondents) and opinions with passion (57%).
Pessimism has grown as concerns shift
The survey shows that pessimism has increased as the concerns of millennials have shifted. Four years ago, climate change and resource scarcity were among the top concerns of global millennials. This year, crime, corruption, war and political tension are weighing on their minds.
The key to employee loyalty – flexible working
Last year, 46% of Australian millennials said they planned to leave their job in the next two years. This year, that number has grown to 58%. However, those who are planning to stay for five years or more is up: from 19% in 2016 to 24% in 2017. The report noted that millennials who intended to remain with their employer the longest shared their organisation’s values and resonated with their organisation’s purpose.
The survey also showed how critical flexible working practices are to retaining millennials. In highly flexible working environments, the difference between those contemplating leaving within two years (35%) is just two points above those anticipating staying beyond five years (33%); whereas in the least-flexible organisations, there is an 18 point gap (45% versus 27%). This difference highlights the need for Australian employers to prioritise flexible working as a key retention tool.
In Australia, 80% of millennials say flexible working practices improve their productivity, while 77% say it improves their engagement with their work.
Despite their propensity for moving around, a more permanent work environment is also important for Australia millennials with 76% saying they prefer full-time employment to freelance or contract work (higher than 65% global average).
· Automation brings threats and opportunities. Automation/robotics/artificial intelligence brings with it some trepidation: 37% of those surveyed in Australia (37% globally) see it posing a threat to their jobs; 44% believe there will be less demand for their skills; and 53% see the workplace becoming more impersonal. Conversely, 49% of Australian millennials see automation as providing opportunities for value-added or creative activities, as well as the learning of new skills, 50% believing it will improve productivity and 42% seeing it as improving economic growth.
· Skepticism of business-government collaboration. In meeting society’s challenges, millennials are equally split between those that believe businesses and governments work well together, while only 27% consider citizens/society to be the ultimate beneficiaries when businesses and governments work together.
· GenZ’s creativity and skills are welcomed. Millennials tend to have a positive opinion of GenZ (those currently 18 or younger), believing the group to have strong IT skills and the ability to think creatively. Some 53% of Australian millennials believe GenZ will have a positive impact as their presence in the workplace expands.