Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey: Industry 4.0, Employer Loyalty and Business Ethics

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Young professionals across the globe are unsure about their ability to adapt to Industry 4.0 technologies and increasingly critical of business ethics, Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey finds.

For its seventh annual report on the millennial generation in the workplace, Deloitte researchers surveyed 10,455 college-educated professionals from 36 countries who were born between 1983 and 1994. The researchers also surveyed 1,844 respondents born between 1995 and 1999, who fall into Generation Z.

Pro-Business No More?

This year’s findings revealed a significant downward turn in millennials’ opinions of business ethics. Whereas last year 65% of respondents said that they believe that businesses behave ethically, this year only 48% do. Over the past few years, millennials’ opinions of businesses have steadily climbed, but 2018 marked a sharp reversal.

Three-quarters of this year’s respondents say that businesses are more concerned with their own agendas than the greater good, up from 59% in 2017. Similarly, fewer than half (47%) think that business leaders are committed to helping improve society, and 62% believe that businesses have no goals other than making money.

Seven years of survey data have shown that millennial professionals strongly believe that financial performance should not be the sole measurement of business success, a view that is shared by Generation Z. Beyond profit, these generations believe that improving society and the environment; creating innovative ideas and products; and having an inclusive and diverse workplace are also important objectives.

Many millennials believe there is a gap between their own priorities and their employers’ priorities. While this year’s respondents most commonly cited generating profit, driving efficiency, and producing and selling goods and services as their employers’ top priorities, they believe that providing employment and improving society should be the purpose of companies.

Millennials holding senior management or board positions also share these views, with only 27% saying that profit should be a business’s primary goal. They believe that businesses are not doing enough to protect the environment or do good for society, the survey finds.

Deteriorating Loyalty

Authors of the report write that “the lack of alignment between millennials’ perceptions about corporations’ motivations and their own priorities is reflected in allegiance to employers. Companies that are perceived to be fixated on profits, for example, do not engender loyalty.”

The report suggests that millennial professionals take a practical approach to the matter of loyalty to their employer, comparing and contrasting the benefits that they could expect to receive when they stay or go.

Salaries, positive workplace cultures and flexibility are top factors for young professionals in choosing a job. Diversity is also linked to greater loyalty, with 69% of respondents who work at a diverse organization saying that they would stay beyond five years, compared with 27% of those who do not work at diverse organizations.

Overall, 43% of the millennial respondents say that they would leave their current employer within two years, given the choice, and 28% say that they would stay beyond five years. These figures have remained more or less steady in the past three years, as the charts below show. As for the Generation Z respondents, 61% of them say that they would leave within two years.

Source: Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey

Unprepared for Industry 4.0

Millennials are known for their technological savviness, but the Deloitte survey finds that they feel unprepared for Industry 4.0 and how emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and internet of things will affect the nature of work.

That is not to say that most young professionals are pessimistic about these technologies. Half of the survey respondents believe that Industry 4.0 will augment their jobs and allow them to focus on more creative and valuable work. Only 17% of millennials and 20% of Generation Z respondents say that their job responsibilities will be partly or fully replaced. However, among those respondents whose employers are already using Industry 4.0 technologies extensively, this figure rises to 32%.

For most respondents, the worry is that they are not adequately prepared for the changes that Industry 4.0 will bring. Only 36% of millennials believe that they have all the skills and knowledge they need, and 11% say that they “lack all of the necessary skills and knowledge as Industry 4.0 increasingly shapes their working environments.”

Varying confidence levels aside, young professionals agree that Industry 4.0 is going to change the workplace dramatically, and they are placing a higher premium on soft skills like interpersonal skills, critical thinking, and ethics and integrity.

The full report can be found here.

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