07 January 2016
Indeed, according to a recent Deloitte survey of 7,800 millennials in some 30 countries, this generation says that, compared to their employers, they place significantly less emphasis on personal income and short-term financial goals.
Asked to identify which factors make a company a leader in its field, millennials prioritize the treatment of employees, followed by positive social impact. Unsurprisingly, they believe that businesses should be more focused on creating jobs than generating profit.
Anti-materialism is, of course, a common attribute of youth. Given that millennials are marrying relatively late – now, on average, at the age of 28 in the US – they enjoy greater financial flexibility than did baby boomers, who were often married with children by the same age.
The first generation to come of age amidst confirmed climate change, they are also broadly distrustful of big business – with the notable exception of tech brands like Apple, Google and Amazon, the three firms that millennials admire most.
Likewise, while this generation most admires Nelson Mandela and Pope Francis, according to a recent World Economic Survey poll of millennial opinion in 125 countries, they hold Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, in almost equal esteem.
While Musk is admired for his focus on sustainability, however, the majority of millennials don’t share his dizzying faith in the future.
Scarred by the global financial crisis and worldwide economic uncertainty, less than 40% of American millennials express the view that the next generation will be better off, according to a Pew survey.
The picture is even more bleak in Europe, where only 38% of young British, 37% of young Germans and 15% of young French believe that children in their country will be better off financially than their parents, according to the same survey.
Any organization seeking to connect with millennials needs to reflect deeply upon the values and worldview of this digitally-savvy, humanistic and pessimistic population. As Bob Dylan sang to an earlier generation, “The times they are a-changin.”