What does the millennial workforce want in an employer?

Written by
Changeboard Team

22 Apr 2014

22 Apr 2014 • by Changeboard Team

The 2013 Deloitte Millennial Survey

The impact of this is relevant to all markets given the continued challenges companies face in filling critical positions and developing leaders. In the Middle East, the talent paradox of high youth unemployment coupled with acute shortages of qualified talent is a strategic challenge for multinational and local companies in the region. 

Close to 5,000 millennials – defined as 18 to 30 year olds – from 18 countries were surveyed in the 2013 Deloitte Millennial Survey, of which an astounding 78% believe innovation is essential for business growth, and 87% believe the success of a business should be measured by more than just financial performance. These statistics imply that in the views of the new generation entering the workforce, for an organization to succeed in today’s competitive environment it will have to invest in innovation. 

Another key finding of the Deloitte survey is that innovation is an important component of talent recruitment and retention. This is particularly relevant to many companies keen on attracting the ever-growing number of millennials who are forecasted to make up 75% of the world’s workforce by 2025

Importance of leadership

But as the economic crisis enters its sixth year, just 26% of the respondents feel that business leaders are doing enough to encourage practices that foster innovation. The survey findings endorse the importance of leadership and innovation and the impact business can have on society. 

When measuring the perception among future leaders about innovation and its impact on society, 84% say business innovations have a positive impact on society, while 65% feel their own company’s activities benefit society in some way. In fact, the survey finds that innovation is considered to be one of the top ’purposes’ of business, and its importance is akin to that of making profit. 

In line with the above, the millennials see that the business community should play a lead role in developing innovations that will benefit society, as evidenced by the following finding: almost half the respondents (45%) believe business drives innovation that most positively impacts society, compared to government (18%), and academic bodies (17%). A further breakdown by Industry line reveals that the sectors considered to be responsible for the most innovations include technology, media and telecommunications (TMT), consumer business and manufacturing. Those considered to be most in need of innovation includes education, electric power and national government. 

How do millennials define innovation?

When asked to list the main components for innovation, 39% of millennials cited encouragement and reward for idea generation and creativity (versus 20% who say their current organization operates in this way). 34% cited the provision of free time to dedicate to learning and creativity (versus 17% who characterize their workplace that way); 32% cited openness and the freedom to challenge (versus 17% who say this is visible in their organization); and 42% cited encouragement for innovative thinking at all levels of the organization as main components (versus 26% who describe their place of employment that way). 

Generational shift in business

The survey leaves no question that change is eminent. A generational shift is taking place in business as baby boomers begin to step down and retire and millennials begin to take on higher-level positions in firms. A real opportunity exists for companies to take the reign and create the conditions and commitment needed to encourage and foster innovation in the work environment. This could lead to better talent retention, a stronger competitive advantage, and a positive impact on society. The millennial generation is reshaping the way we do business, and today’s leaders need to re-think their roles if they are to capitalize on the opportunities that arise from these future leaders. 

For more information and to view the survey results, visit: www.deloitte.com/millennialsurvey