Stress a factor for a significant proportion of Irish millennials and Gen Zs - Deloitte

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Stress a factor for a significant proportion of Irish millennials and Gen Zs - Deloitte

However the two generations are pushing for social change and accountability...

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought stress to the forefront of social consciousness according to the Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey. The survey reveals that 42% of Irish millennials and 44% of Irish Gen Zs feel stressed all or most of the time. Family welfare, finances and job prospects have been the main stress drivers.

However, against the backdrop of the pandemic, political instability, racial discord, and severe climate events, millennials and Gen Zs around the world, including Ireland, are determined to hold themselves and others, including business, accountable on society’s most pressing issues. The pandemic has served to highlight these issues for them, and 52% of Irish millennials and 61% of Irish Gen Zs (59% and 59% globally) indicate that they have taken action to try and have a positive impact on their communities. With regards to the role of business, 38% of Irish millennials and 53% of Irish Gen Zs, (compared with 47% and 48% globally) think business is having a positive impact on society.

Irish Gen Zs and millennials are in line with their global counterparts on the issue of discrimination. Overall, six in 10 Gen Zs and 56% of millennials globally say systemic racism is widespread in general society. However, the past year has prioritised the issue of racial discrimination in such a way that 55% of all survey respondents globally believe society is “at a tipping point and there will be positive change from this point forward.” A personal issue for many global millennials, amongst Irish respondents, we have seen lower levels of people who feel discriminated against because of an aspect of their background.

Harry Goddard, CEO, Deloitte Ireland commented: “The findings shows that these two generations are channelling their energies toward meaningful action—increasing political involvement, aligning spending and career choices with their values, and driving change on societal issues that matter most to them. In turn, as we have repeatedly found with this annual survey, these generations expect institutions like businesses and governments to do more.
“While millennials and Gen Zs’ lives have changed, their values have remained steadfast. They have sustained their idealism, their desire for a better world, and their belief that business can and should do more to help society. From our vantage point, we can see that business is increasingly recognising how their role and responsibilities needs to evolve to address these wider issues. Enhanced action and communications with these cohorts will be hugely important in this regard – just over four in 10 Irish millennials and just over 5 in 10 Irish Gen Zs have made choices on the types of work they’d do and the organisations they’re willing to work for based on their personal beliefs/ethics over the past two years. Furthermore, we have seen lower level of job loyalty emerge in this year’s survey - more millennials and Gen Zs would like to leave their employer within two years compared with last year.”

Further findings of the survey include:

Stress and anxiety permeate the workplace, highlighting a growing need for business to focus on better workplace mental health

The increased levels of stress due to the pandemic has spilled over into the workplace. About a third of all respondents globally—31% of millennials and 35% of Gen Zs—have taken time off work due to stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic. However, nearly half of this group gave their employer a different reason for their absence, likely due to a continuing stigma around mental health in the workplace.

Here in Ireland, 68% of millennial respondents say they have not spoken openly to their employers about feeling more stressed/anxious since the pandemic started. This compares to 58% globally. In addition, 38% of Irish millennials say their employers have done a poor job supporting their mental health during the pandemic, rising to 41% amongst Irish Gen Zs.

“Fostering open and inclusive workplaces where people feel comfortable speaking up about stress, anxiety, or other mental health challenges they are experiencing is critical,” said Valarie Daunt, Human Capital Partner, Deloitte Ireland. “Employers have a responsibility to create a work environment that supports employees’ mental health and well-being and allows them to thrive.”

Environment remains a top issue

Climate change and protecting the environment was global millennials’ number one personal concern a year ago. Perhaps unsurprising, this year, health and unemployment fears topped the list of personal concerns for millennials, both globally and in Ireland. Yet, their continued focus on environmental issues (coming in third), and the fact that it remains the number one concern for Gen Z—even during a global pandemic, when other threats to their health, family welfare, and careers may feel more imminent—demonstrates how important this issue is for younger generations. Many believe (37% of millennials and 40% of Gen Zs globally) that more people will commit to take action on environmental and climate issues after the pandemic. In Ireland, the two groups are more pessimistic at 29% and 33% respectively.

However, approximately 60% of millennials and Gen Zs globally fear the commitment of businesses to helping combat climate change will be less of a priority as business leaders reckon with challenges brought on by the pandemic. 

Pandemic heightens financial worries and concerns about wealth inequality

Globally the pandemic has heightened millennials’ and Gen Zs’ uncertainty about their financial futures. Two-thirds of all respondents globally say they “often worry or get stressed” about their financial situations. Locally, 32% of millennials versus 42% of Gen Zs in Ireland believe their personal situations will improve after this year. While personal financial concerns are increasingly on their minds, so too is wealth inequality as a larger societal issue. 65% of Irish millennials and 59% of Irish Gen Zs surveyed think wealth and income is distributed unequally throughout society.

Many believe government intervention may be needed to drive change. 62% of millennials and 58% of Gen Zs in Ireland say legislation will help to limit the gap in rewards between senior executives and average employees. A similar number, 65% of Irish millennials and 61% of Irish Gen Zs, believe that legislation that requires business to pay workers at least the minimum required to live on would also help.

“Over the years, this survey has consistently shown that millennials and Gen Zs are values-driven and action-oriented, and they are holding themselves, and business, accountable,” said Goddard. “Even during a difficult year, they continue to push for positive societal change. Businesses that share their vision and support them in their efforts to create a better future will come out on top.”

For more information and to view the full results of Deloitte's 2021 Millennial Survey, visit: www.deloitte.com/millennialsurvey.

Article Published: 21/09/2021