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Climate change top concern amongst Irish millennials – Deloitte 2019 Millennial Survey

Irish millennials continue to be disillusioned with traditional institutions, are sceptical of the motives of businesses and pessimistic about economic and social progress, according to the 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey.

Just 28 per cent of Irish respondents believe the economy will improve in the next 12 months, and nearly half identified climate change and protecting the environment as their most pressing concern.

“From the economic recession a decade ago to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, millennials have grown up in a unique moment in time impacting connectivity, trust, privacy, social mobility and work,” says Valarie Daunt, Head of Human Capital at Deloitte Ireland. “This uncertainty is reflected in their personal views on business, government, leadership and the need for positive societal change agents. As business leaders, we must continue to embrace the issues resonating most with this generation, or risk losing out on talent in an increasingly competitive market.”

Against this backdrop the findings of the survey show that the ambitions of this generation remain strong. Travelling and seeing the world is the top ambition amongst Irish respondents, as identified by 67 per cent. Nearly two thirds of Irish respondents (64 per cent) also want to earn high salaries and be wealthy. Interestingly, in comparison to their global counterparts, more Irish respondents wish to achieve buying a home of their own (62 per cent versus 49 per cent globally) and having children (46 per cent versus 39 per cent). Half (50 per cent) of Irish respondents want to have a positive impact in their communities or on society at large.

Climate change and protecting the environment is the top concern amongst Irish millennials, as indicated by 48 per cent of respondents, significantly higher than the global average of 29 per cent.

Key findings

  • 67 per cent of Irish respondents want to travel and see the world; 64 per cent also want to earn high salaries and be wealthy
  • 28 per cent of Irish respondents believe the economy will improve in the next 12 months
  • 65 per cent believe they would be a happier person with reduced usage of social media
  • Under half of respondents think businesses in general have a positive impact on wider society
  • 49 per cent of Irish respondents expect to leave their jobs in the next two years

Economic optimism and institutional trust continue to waver

Over the last number of years, a pattern has emerged which indicates an increasingly pessimistic outlook amongst millennials on economic, social and political affairs. In fact, only 28 per cent of Irish respondents believe the economy will improve in the next 12 months, down from 56 per cent just two years ago. Only 21 per cent believe that the social/political situation will improve in the next year.

Consistent with past surveys, respondents expressed low opinions of political and religious leaders. Twenty per cent said political leaders have a positive impact on the world, with 19 per cent saying the same of faith leaders. Thirty-five per cent think that business leaders are having a positive impact, while NGOs and not-for-profit organisations are viewed most favourably – 57 per cent of respondents believe they have the most positive impact on society.

Social media – friend or foe?

This year’s report explores millennials’ use of social media and their digital behaviour. Findings show that a majority believe reduced usage would have a positive effect on their physical and mental health – 64 per cent believe they would be physically healthier and 65 per cent believe they would be a happier person. 67 per cent of respondents believe that, on balance, social media does more harm than good, and 42 per cent would like to completely stop using social media.

They are also sceptical when it comes to cybersecurity. Eighty-five per cent are concerned they will be victims of online fraud. Similarly, 76 per cent are worried about how organisations obtain personal information, and 75 per cent feel they have no control over who has their personal data or how they use it. That said, to get the most out of technology, 62 per cent agree that they must be prepared to share some personal details, and 61 per cent agree that the benefits of technology outweigh the risks associated with sharing personal data.
 
Business must adapt to values-driven consumers and employees

This year’s report sees a further negative shift in Irish millennials’ feelings about business’ motivations and ethics. Under half of respondents (48 per cent) think businesses in general have a positive impact on the wider society in which they operate, down from 61 per cent in 2018. The decrease was driven, in part, by views that businesses focus solely on their own agendas rather than considering the consequences for society, as identified by 82 per cent of Irish respondents.

Business will have to work hard to improve this reputation because Irish millennials are putting their money where their mouths are: 45 per cent have started or deepened business relationships because they believe companies’ products or services are having positive impacts on society and/or the environment, while 42 per cent have ended or lessened relationships with companies perceived to have a negative impact.

Regarding millennials’ sentiment with regards to employment, 49 per cent of Irish respondents expect to leave their jobs in the next two years, while just over a quarter (28 per cent) plan to stay beyond five years. However, of those respondents that are in full or part time work, 39 per cent believe the changing nature of work will make it tougher to find or change jobs. This figure rises to 49 per cent amongst those respondents who are not working or in unpaid work. Eighty-four per cent of respondents would consider joining the gig economy.

“To attract and retain young employees, businesses should bolster their diversity and inclusion initiatives, find new ways to incorporate these generations into corporate societal impact programmes and place a priority on reskilling and training to ensure talent is prepared for what’s ahead,” said Daunt.

24/09/2019